Is it just me or does it appear that Shakespeare had it right when he dismissed the masses so effectively in Julius Caesar? Are we all just rabble, who twist and turn to emotional rhetoric without the capacity to think for ourselves?
Two years ago, our country was in a crisis in so many ways, not the least of which were the economic turmoil that almost bankrupted the world and the tragedy of so many lives lost in the pointless wars that persisted in the Middle East.
There were other problems of course, some more significant than others but all contributory to our woes. So we changed course with a landslide that elected our first biracial president, who won not only with a sizable majority but did so with the unlikely support of Republican states such as Virginia and Indiana.
The Democratic congressional majority was almost unstoppable, with sixty votes in the Senate and votes to spare in the House of Representatives. People were raring for change, which was, in truth, a bit slow to be forthcoming.
Part of it was due to Barack Obama's pledge and stubborn insistence that his presidency would consist of stuff we hadn't seen before. His administration wouldn't be as political and he would reach out to the Republicans, who hadn't had the grace to do the same to the Democrats in 2000, even though more people had voted for Al Gore than George W. Bush.
Obama's attempts were stymied and it took a year or so for him to realize that the Republicans got it right when they took office. They'd said in effect, "Hey, we don't care how we got here, but we're here and we're running the show." So, finally, after the Democrats lost their absolute majority caused by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy and the subsequent election of Republican Scott Brown did they act tough when they pushed through the landmark health care package, which had previously passed the Senate and the House, by persuading the still formidable Democratic majority in the House to accept the Senate bill.
Republicans fumed, but it got the job done, a feat that had eluded the nation since Harry Truman tried to get the ball rolling sixty years ago. A financial stimulus package had also passed, as well as reforms in the credit card industry. Folks, a lot of progress has been made, and the administration has been in office less than two years.
Yet, because there is still a great deal of unemployment, even though the job losses have dropped, and there is still much to be resolved, there is a throw-the-bums-out fervor sweeping the nation. Most pundits are predicting the definite loss of the House -- a huge turnaround -- and a Senate, even with the Democrats in control, which will be a majority in name only.
This is, of course, because, while the Republicans are mostly of one stripe, except for the two women who represent the state of Maine, there are so many different kinds of Democrats throughout the nation that it's a miracle when true reforms are made of the fabric that reminds us of a party when FDR, Truman John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were in charge.
The reality is that we are on target to make things better, and things are better than they were two years ago if we are forced to paraphrase Ronald Reagan's query to us all in 1980, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Are we in terrific shape, is the job finished? The answer, of course, is no. But should we stop and hand the reins of power back to the mouthpieces of big business and so-called moral, God-fearing folks who proclaim themselves as the only true Americans as they foment discrimination against immigrants and denounce patriotic gays who want to serve us all in the military? For me, that's a no-brainer.
But it appears we are about to do it, and if it happens then the country deserves what it wreaks. It will be an act largely borne out of short-sighted self interests and a large degree of racism by those who still can't believe that a guy with a very dark-skinned Kenyan father somehow became our president.
And the media loves the controversy and is promoting the onset of governmental turmoil, no doubt to up Brian Williams' ratings at NBC, those of Katie Couric at CBS, Diane Sawyer at ABC and Anderson Cooper at CNN.
There's still time to stop the madness and give the leaders we elected the proper time frame to accomplish what needs to be done. Let's tweet on Twitter or rant on Facebook or post absurd Tea Party candidate utterances on YouTube. I have to admit I'm not too hopeful. As I said at the outset, William Shakespeare understood people and their failings all too well, and he excelled at the dramatic form that may well be enveloping our nation as it transfigures itself into a modern tragedy.
Michael Russnow's website is ramproductionsinternational.com
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