President Obama seems to be having a rocky time steering the Ship of State lately. He tacks right, he tacks left; he sails in an ever widening circle. Yeats' The Second Coming seems to capture his modern, pragmatic American character and our current cultural and political circumstances:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
We've been treated to lots of explanations of why this is so.
Some explanations focus on the rabid partisanship of the political parties, others on the hocus pocus about our crashing on the reef of socialism or on the reef of free market rackets -- take your pick -- and there are some snooty folk who blame the Man on the Street for being too fat, slow, lazy, selfish, or stupid to get with the program -- whatever the program is.
Republicans assure us that tax cuts and getting tort lawyers off our backs will result in heaven on earth, especially if we keep our pants on. Meanwhile, Democrats promote a Peaceable Kingdom operated by the Teamsters' Union and administered by Public Servants who are paid 192% in wages and benefits compared to the 100% their private sector equivalent earns.
Republican deficit hawks who, since the Reagan Administration, added $5.2 trillion dollars to the deficit warn us against Drunken Sailor-Democrats who, since Jimmy Carter, have contributed $1.77 trillion dollars to the deficit. Democrats call Republicans the "Party of No" and base their objections, I guess, on the fact that they weren't the Party of No during the Bush Administration. Apparently, Democrats are the "Party of Yes" no matter what policies, or what wars, are legislated.
Democrats are in favor of the working man, especially Mr. Goldman and Mr. Sachs. Republicans are against lust: Sen. Larry Craig, Gov. Mark Sanford, Sen. David Vitter, and Sen. John Ensign are among the Party's most vigilant and diligent of warriors.
Republicans and Democrats were in favor of establishing a front against terror in Iraq and Afghanistan because 911 terrorists originated from Saudi Arabia. Neither party is on record of whether or not we should invade Luxembourg or Monaco because the Underpants Bomber is from Nigeria -- yet. We await further developments.
There is hope though. Both parties agree that taxes are bad and deficits are bad. We can eliminate these evils by choosing from among the following options: a) starting today, nobody gets Social Security unless and until they are 70 years old; b) starting today, everybody gets way less Medicare and only when they are 69 years old or older; c) cut military spending by 45%, or; d) reduce all other government spending on everything else -- everything -- by 77%. Pick one.
PS: Soylent Green is not one of the options -- yet. We await further developments.