So what’s been going on in the world since I’ve been out? There were two fairly significant elections in the past few months.
In Venezuela, Chavez’ party finally lost control of Venezuela’s congress. In the lame-duck session that followed, his departing congressional allies gave Chavez a gift: the power to rule by decree. Despite the fact that Chavez has already shut down opposition radio, TV, and newspapers, and hamstrung access to the internet, he promised not to abuse his new powers.
So Latin America has a new dictator. The silence of the global community, and the U.S. Press in particular, to the loss of a formerly thriving democracy speaks loudly about what kind of world we live in.
Contrast that to the howls of media outrage that accompanied the election of Colombia’s conservative and U.S.-friendly Juan Manuel Santos, who has spent his first year working to smooth ties with his grumpy neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela, and who is continuing a campaign against corruption in Colombia that is making that country a much better place to live and work than most other Latin American states.
The mid-term elections here in the U.S. also involved a party with complete control of government. And as with Venezuela, when people are given a say about one political entity having complete control of a country, they usually reject it. Here the Democrat party lost control of the House, and lost their veto-proof majority in the Senate.
Despite this rejection, the Democrats and their media allies are trying to portray the last two Democrat controlled congresses as an astounding success. In their own Keynesian way they were: they raised the U.S. debt more than all other previous congresses combined, going back to the first one in 1788. They must be so proud.
Actually they are pretty proud about that, the way they keep bragging up this accomplishment.
Also in the U.S. a surprising thing happened: thanks to social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the most effective tech-created grass-roots movement yet seen popped up out of nowhere. Calling itself the Tea Party, and partly inspired by Rick Santelli’s rant on the floor of the Chicago exchange, it was more than just a protest against government spending: it has become to a revolt of the Republican party’s conservative base against certain members of their own party, the so-called RINOs, Republicans In Name Only.
Democrat and Republican politicians have always used their base as doormats, saying all the right things during the campaign, then once in office, throwing everything they said during the campaign out the window. When the next election approaches, they’re pointing fingers and laying blame and accumulating another pack of lies to get themselves elected again.
They know that their “base” will hold their noses and vote for them again rather than see a member of the other party take that seat, so they throw a few table scraps their way once in a while to keep their starving stomachs from rumbling too loudly, but they never quite seem to live up to all those promises they made to get that seat in the first place.
IMO a campaign promise should be written down and signed like a contract, and all votes should be accompanied by a written explanation on that congressman’s website.
If he or she voted for some off-the-wall bill in order to get some other congressman’s vote for one of their own, we know that’s part of life in congress, we’re not naive fools about it, but that congressman needs to own his votes and say so when they do that kind of thing. Or better, when he’s about to do something like that. Keep his constituency involved in the process.
I would like for congressmen, especially Republican congressmen, to meet or exceed Obama’s broken promises of transparency. Be an example, show the world how it’s done. Post everything you get your hands on. If that shuts you out of some secret committee meeting, say so. Be the anti-establishment rebel that the Left likes to think of themselves as. Keep “we the people” informed.
Congress should be a fishbowl, where everyone can see everything that’s going on, and not a tomb where campaign promises are sent to be buried forever.
For that matter, the Left needs to do the same thing to the Democrats. They need a revolt of their own, a Tea Party of their own, so that the country can see what what liberalism really is, and then decide for or against it. As long as there are “blue dog” Dems out there, calling themselves Democrats but talking like conservatives (liberals name them DINOs, Democrats In Name Only), then the national “worldview” will never really be resolved. Liberalism, like conservatism, needs to be represented as purely as possible in Washington so the country can clearly distinguish between the two worldviews, and then vote accordingly.
“Liberalism” is an interesting phenomenon. One can view it as a subculture comprised primarily of middle and upper class, college-educated white people. Nobody else in the world shares their values. Why do liberal initiatives keep getting shot down in California? Too many immigrants. Do you think that any self-respecting Latin or Asian or African immigrant, struggling to assimilate but still steeped in his native culture, is going to vote for gay marriage? For public financing of abortion? Most of the world is very socially conservative.
Yet there is a very strong upside to traditional liberalism. They rightly won the battles of the 20th century: gay rights, civil rights, an end to systemic racism, the nation is much better off thanks to the victories of liberalism. But somewhere along the way, the liberal ideal of individual rights and liberties has given way to foreign-policy pacifism, a desire for increasing government control of industry, and in my opinion, increasing control over private lives.
So needless to say, there are huge differences in worldview between liberals and conservatives, and what we think is best for the country. In a free Democracy the country is supposed to be able to choose between them and keep what works and throw out what doesn’t or try something else entirely, and thus we grow and evolve as a nation.
But neither side has reliable representatives of their viewpoint in Washington. There is no accountability for broken promises, and thus we have neither a free market (we have a heavily manipulated market) nor a free Democracy nor a free and independent Press, which is why most of us who pay attention to these things get most of our best information off the internet, where stories our Press Corps won’t touch can be found and discussed.
And now they’ve laid the groundwork to control the internet.
When did we become Venezuela?