Our vacation travels have now led Char and me from Ireland to England, where word on American politics remains hard to find. It is helping me put things in perspective: The daily events in our country are in fact of little consequence in the broader world. That makes me aware that, when people in other countries do notice something in America, they have relatively little knowledge of the context and so have little chance of understanding it.
I have heard now that Boehner has announced his resignation. I’ve had little respect for him, I’ll admit, because it has always seemed to me he was never able to speak with integrity. He was simply too political an animal.
So I’ve been a bit surprised at the hint of anxiety his resignation has aroused in me. Will the House actually choose someone more conservative than Boehner to be Speaker? If so, Washington’s polarization and dysfunction will be even worse than it is now. I believe the Far Right to be a more serious threat to democracy than communism ever has been, not because it is worse than communism but because it is an enemy already entrenched within our society.
The Tea Party, barely able to conceal its racism, is committed to reversing the outcome of the Civil War. Not only does that seem genuinely brainless but very dangerous: To change the outcome of the Civil War may mean we have to come close to another Civil War.
What do I mean by reversing the outcome of the Civil War? I believer there were two intertwined issues at stake in the War, aside from the obvious matter of whether or not a state can secede from the Union. One, slavery or, its form in our day, racism. Two, states’ rights, or as we see it today, the power of individual states to embody evil whenever they like.
There is, of course, one other important dimension to the demands of the Far Right: The freedom of wealthy people to dominate our society. It is completely astounding to me that anyone could possibly believe any longer that the wealthy are the job creators of our nation. Surely the recent recession has damaged that ridiculous idea beyond any hope of resurrection. The wealthy — with a few exceptions such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet — are greedy and immoral.
Certainly these words describe Donald Trump. How in the world can any sane human being say, “I hate the politicians for letting themselves be bought, so I’m going to vote for one of the people who has been buying politicians.” How utterly foolish can we be?