When George W. Bush - an empty vessel infested by extremist neo-cons - was elected, I thought to myself "Good. They'll wreck the country a tiny bit, but the long-festering foolishness will come to a head and be seen for what it is. The political pendulum will swing - as it always does - back to a more moderate position." Then he was reelected in spite of his disastrous decisions, and I worried that the pendulum had broken.
Now as I watch the Republican convention, I find myself remembering George W Bush far more fondly than I ever imagined possible. He was, at least, sincere.
During the rise of Trump, I've remained a staunch political Taoist. Here, surely, was an extreme of extremes - a walking reductio ad absurdum of talk radio conservativism who could never be swallowed by mainstream America. But that gulping sound, quite audible this week, indicates otherwise.
At some point, we'll reach a bottom. That's not an expression of faith; it's how the world has always worked. Things will inevitably get wrecked a bit; wreckage is necessary for many people to recognize a "too far" point. Some of us can't spot a dead end until their noses are pressed so hard against the wall that blood streams from their nostrils.
But it's not entirely a matter of the obstinacy of zealots. It's also the lobster principle for moderates. Boil a lobster slowly/gradually enough, and it'll never try to escape the pot. Concentration camp inmates (subjected to steadily increasing persecution for a decade by their tormentors) were fond of saying "it's all good" (s'iz gut). Human adaptability - a feature, not a bug - is easily exploited.
This is why you must register and vote this time. No matter how numb you've been made to feel, don't wait for the next-gen monster; don't wait for total wreckage. Non-voting good people are the problem....and our great hope! The question is: how wrecked will things have to get before we recognize it, and care, and restore our seriously stuck pendulum to equilibrium?
Read the latest sanity from the unquestionably nonpartisan Mann and Ornstein
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