For more than a decade and a half, America has confronted one of the most profound crises in our nation's history. Or rather, we Americans have largely failed to confront it.
Poll results show that Americans are aware that something has gone very wrong: The country is heading in the wrong direction, most Americans believe, and its political system seems incapable of dealing constructively with the challenges we face. As a result, the levels of pessimism among Americans about whether future generations will have better or worse lives than we have had are at levels pollsters have not seen before.
Despite these signs of crisis and of public awareness of things gone awry, we do not give this crisis the attention this darkening picture surely calls for. We are not dealing with this crisis as our nation has dealt with the previous big crises in our history.
When the United States had a major crisis over the issue of slavery, the national conversation focused on that issue. When there was a crisis over the Great Depression, and then over World War II, everyone knew what the nature of the challenge was, and those big realities were at the center of our national discourse.
But this time it's different. Our national conversation focuses momentarily on all sorts of things related to the crisis -- just about every major political news story is relevant in some way -- but there's little sense of what the pieces, fitted together, reveal about our national crisis.
Here, I assert, what putting the pieces together reveals to be the central reality of our present crisis. This is the two-fold truth that we as a nation should be discussing but, for the most part, are not: The Republican Party has become the instrument of a destructive force, while the response of Liberal America (including the Democratic Party) to this threat has been woefully weak.
This two-sided pathology is what our national conversation should be made to focus on. That's so not only because he captures the essential dynamic of our pathological political system. But also because the more Americans can be led to perceive this reality, the better our chances of rescuing our nation -- and our children, and grandchildren -- from the dark future that now threatens.
A force like this, that has arisen on the right, can succeed in a democracy like ours only by deceiving people about its true nature. And it can triumph only if those who do not buy the con fail to rise up with passion and determination to defeat it.
It is astonishing and disturbing that such a force could arise and wreak so much damage on the nation, and yet be treated by most of the rest of the body politic as something almost normal.
This force is not normal. It is virtually unprecedented: Nothing like this has been seen before at center stage of American politics -- with the possible exception of the decade leading up to America's terrible Civil War. And as it did then, albeit in a different way, it is working to tear the nation apart.
Protecting what's best in America will require that we see this destructive force for what it is, and that we press the battle against it by calling it out far more vigorously than Liberal America has yet roused itself to do.
Such calling it out is what I have begun to do in most of the pieces I've published thus far here on The Huffington Post:
- In "Corporate System v. The American People: How the Supreme Court Is Stealing Our Birthright," I tried to show how Republican appointments have fashioned a corporatist "Supreme Court majority for whom 'justice' is what Thrasymachus declared in Plato's Republic: the interest of the stronger party," namely the corporate system.
In "Think Horses, Not Unicorns-- A Message to People Who Have Bought the Republican Lie on Climate Change," I try to show conservatives how the party they are supporting is pedaling falsehoods to serve rich corporations at the expense of our children's and grandchildren's future.
In "The Fraudulence of the Republican Party, and the Adverse Shift in the Balance Between Good and Evil in America, I show how today's Republican Party has harnessed the power of good people by fraudulently representing itself as conservative, patriotic, and a defender of Christian values when it is demonstrably the opposite of those things.In Suing the President: Another Un-American Step for Today's GOP," I show how the disgraceful and unprecedented ways the Republicans in Congress have treated this president of the United States represents an assault less on Mr. Obama than on the system of government our founders gave us.
These are but snapshots.
Soon I will be launching here a series of posts to give a fuller, more integrated picture of this destructive force, and of how it has been able to gain so much power to damage our country by exploiting the most broken elements in American civilization.
This series will also explore that crucial part of that picture that involves the defects in Liberal America than have rendered it so impotent in the face of this force.
That part of our pathological political dynamic I have begun to explore here in a previous piece titled "Where Is the Moral Outrage? A Sign of the Weakness of Liberal America," which touched upon some of the reasons why much of Liberal America -- including the Democratic Party -- has been reluctant to do battle.
It is essential for America's future that a fire now be lit in Liberal America, because it is in kindling the moral and spiritual passions of that part of our body politic that the beginnings of the necessary change will have to come.
This new series -- offering a comprehensive picture of what's gone wrong in the American body politic and what it will take to set it right -- will debut under the banner "Press the Battle."
Watch this space.