I'm finally coming out of the closet for my whole family. Now that I'm a grandfather myself, I can reveal that my long-deceased grandfather, Moishe Fromberg (whose cashmere great coat I still wear), was a commie! An immigrant from before the war and the revolution in Russia, he landed in Philly with his communist views in tact, and maintained them undisturbed by subsequent purges, non-aggression pacts with the Nazis, and repressive regimes in his homeland.
Whenever anything bad happened here, he secretly (or not so secretly) chortled at our (his too!) misfortune.
Boy (or is that boychick?) would he be as happy as a lark today. American democracy -- the American Constitution -- don't really work, as he always maintained! That document -- with its elaborate checks and balances -- is a ruse, Moishe used to tell me. It was there for show. A small clique ran the country. And if anyone wanted to manipulate laws or how they were enacted, there was ample room and means within our supposedly sacred founding document to permit them to do so as much as they wanted.
Moishe was right!
And what do these manipulators want -- the same thing as Moishe! The failure of our national system, the withering away of the state, the demonstrated inability of a group of people with divergent views to cooperate and collaborate in mutually beneficial decision-making. That's exactly what my grandfather (forgive me for not using the term "zaide" -- we called him "grandpop," or just "Moishe") wished for! He laughed when we had recessions and loved it when elected officials were corrupt -- why, he even welcomed McCarthyism! That's right, he figured that the persecution of fellow travelers would show progressives there was no room for them in this country!
I know Moishe would be delighted by our health care mess -- where the Republicans want to decapitate a system because it can't handle the millions of Americans banging at its doors to try to get health insurance! Then what? They can slink back into their old lives of death and illness because they have no health care coverage? "It serves them right for being born in America," Moishe would say with that heavy Yiddish accent.
And restricting social benefits? Moishe would say, "My liberal friends would say that we are doing all those things here for people without the totalitarianism in Russia. No we're not -- we're throwing poor people to the dogs, because Republicans (who, he would point out with Jewish pride, were all Christians, even though he supposedly was an atheist) hate workers, the underprivileged, and the poor.
And, if he could get it, I'm sure that Moishe would love the dysfunction pointed out by economists like Paul Krugman (I wonder if his grandfather was a communist) based on repeated research and experience showing that shrinking government spending prolongs and exacerbates economic downturns!
Yes, Moishe would be in his heyday today. In fact, I think I feel his great coat shaking with his mirth over our finally ending up in the predicament he had always claimed was inevitable!