July 1, 2009

Identification: Why I Do Not Define Myself

Democrats -- particularly Democratic legislators -- appear to be made up of equal parts of corruption, incompetence, and half-baked idealism.

Republican politicians, for their part, have responded to every opportunity to capitalize on this by proving themselves not only equally corrupt, but frequently equally incompetent and willing to submit to the intellectual leadership of unprincipled religious zealots.

The back-and-forth sway of power between them is the result not so much of the masterfully-structured Constitutional framework which seeks balance and compromise, nor the endgame of clever political stratagems, as it is the inevitable result of public disgust with the excesses of overreaching in policy, personal hypocricies, and abuses of power by whichever group happens to currently hold power.

A multi-party system, as opposed to a two-party system, does not appear likely to me to produce significantly better results. Multi-party democracy in other nations whose politics I monitor -- the UK, Israel, Italy, and Canada -- seems to coalesce in a broadly bipolar way, only with entire parties gravitating towards coalitions rather than different factions and wings of two large parties. In the UK, it's always either a Labour or a Tory running the show. In Israel, there is always a leading "aggression" party and a leading "peace" party; right now those are called Likud and Kadima. (Did you know that there was a Black Panther party in Israel? There's your trivia for the morning.) And so on.

Can you tell I'm in a seriously foul mood this morning?

People ask me sometimes, "Why don't you run for office and try to make things better?" Or, "If you want to be a judge, why aren't you one yet?" Well, I ask that question of myself more than people ask it of me. The answer is that the corrupting miasma of elective politics repels me when I confront it first-hand. Democracy is an awful thing to observe first-hand and up close. The only forms of government worse than representative democracy are, well, every other way of selecting political leaders that has ever been tried. That makes what we've got the least bad option.

Why do I keep a political party identification with the GOP? Again, not becaue of any love or affinity for the party's leaders or the platform it holds. It just seems to me to be the least bad choice. Given that both parties are corrupt and incompetent, the Republicans seem to offer at least a clear factual distinction between the regular political types and the lunatics. But make no mistake, there's lots of Kool-Aid being passed around in both parties.

But a GOP registration says nothing about my ideology. Ideological polarization and pigeonholing seems to to be part of the genesis of the political miasma that has rendered me so deeply cynical this fine morning. So I've given up on self-identification as a conservative, libertarian, liberal, or even moderate. Those words seem to mean different things to different people anyway.

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