Looking in the mirror and shaving

This is something most men do every day. It’s the one time of that day when men are undefended by their egos. What they see is what they get, what they are. Pretense is no longer possible.

It appears that the United States has been standing in front of that morning mirror for the past two years. What the mirror has reflected is confusion, ineptitude, stupidity.

The sadness of this private moment is that the moment is not private. The shrinking man shaving has been seen by the entire world.

It also seems that most of these exfoliators would really rather go back to bed and make no attempt even to approach the sites of their jobs. Who wants to go to an impacted House of Representatives day after day, knowing that nothing – not nothing good or nothing bad, but nothing — is going to come from the effort? He (and since we’re extending this metaphor, it IS a he) has a title and no prospects of doing anything useful with it. He had no leader to follow, no team on which to play, no future position barring that on an industrial board somewhere. He is, in effect, a dog-catcher. The guy we’ve always said could never get elected.

But we did elect him. Voters replaced sinners with sinners, uninformed people with people who are even more uninformed, people to whom the idea of governing for the benefit of a nation ‘s citizens has never occurred.

One thing is certain: there is a vacuum at the center of our national intellectual and emotional core. Individual senators can get red-faced with frustration and anger, but they can’t break through the impediments to progress to relieve that frustration. Which makes them even pinker. Even the occasional Representative who once might have dreamed of doing something beneficial for his constituents faces obstacles as obdurate as cement walls reinforced by industrial grade steel.

We have two parties, or perhaps now finally officially three. None of them can stand looking or listening to the other. Nor are they interested in hearing from anyone else. To bamboozle them seems amazingly simple. Here’s an easy example.

Republicans in the House have decided to sue the President for over-reaching in his decision to act without consulting Congress. This of course is impossible for the President to do, since he knows as we do that the Republicans have vowed never to assist him in achieving any of his goals. Therefore he is condemned, if he wants to have any chance of achieving his pre-election promises, to continue to try to find ways to make the nation work despite the obstacles of a recalcitrant Congress. Which is what brought the lawsuit. Which incidentally is likely to cost, if it goes forward, 79 million dollars of tax-payers’ money.

And in a final circle of irrationality, Congress now – having decided to sue – is launching complaints that, as regards for example the immigration problems we face at our borders – that it cannot and will not assist in solving the problems of young people escaping from Central America BUT THAT THE PRESIDENT STILL HAS INDIVIDUAL THINGS HE CAN DO AS PRESIDENT THAT DO NOT REQUIRE CONGRESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT, and which therefore allows CONGRESS to sue the President for acting without its consent.

Hell is an unbreakable legislative circle.

Better yet, that hell is visible to all our allies and enemies. From the outside, from Asia, Middle Europe, Latin America, the US of A must appear incapacitated, confused, without leadership of any kind. Certainly we’re no longer the single player who makes a difference in lives around the globe. As the President has allowed himself to become irrelevant to life within the country, the nation itself increasingly seems irrelevant to other nations around the world. Why should Russia worry about blockades, or Middle East kingdoms worry about anything but prompt delivery of weapon systems, or even Germany worry about being spied on when we cannot ourselves color within the lines in our own country?

Standing in our glittering bathrooms, shaving every morning, we can no longer avoid the realization that we are all straw men. Given the continuing stand-offs, the impasse on Capitol Hill, the very idea that the House today, its last work day for five weeks, can put together a workable, sensible, worth-while bill to help solve the so-called immigration crisis is close to laughable. And we would laugh but for the somber nature of the failures we all face.

What can be done?

That guy in front of the mirror should put down his razor, turn around, turn on his shower, and disappear into a cloud of steam.


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