The New American Recipe
Step one: declare, immediately after a new president is sworn in, that you will make sure he’s a one-term president no matter what.
Step two: He’s not. He’s re-elected. Declare that, all evidence to the contrary, your party has won the election and that you’re going to make nothing the re-elected president does or wants is going to be achieved.
Step three: Well, that didn’t work, either. O.K., let’s pretend we just don’t happen to have a president at this time. Let’s just pretend there’s no POTUS and that anything he says evaporates into ether. Hark, has he even spoken?
Step four: since we – our children and our grand-children are all members of America’s class of “exceptionalism” – can find no president to follow, we pretend we’re the president altogether. After all, how tough can this job be – looking at those lining up to run for it, do we notice anything that requires brains, honesty, bravery, thought, experience?
Has our own experience in the past six or eight years taught us anything? Well, yes. It has taught other nations that the politics of just saying “No” over and over again works. See, for example, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Turkey, Venezuela.
All this is a natural extension of the discovery by members of Congress that there is no one at the head of government whom they respect, who frightens them, who carries international weight – although this last is largely the fault of Congress itself.
Now add the following ingredients: prejudice, hatred, rabble-rousing, Texas. Look around for more cooks: Rubio, Cruz, Cotton, McCain, Graham.
At this point, it is fair to take a moment to step back to admire your creation.
Chaos. Glamorous, glorious chaos, spreading from Capitol Hill to Ferguson, Missouri.
You see, if we really did have a president, this wouldn’t happen.
But wait! Order now and you can confuse and rattle other nations, as well: Iran, Germany, Syria, Iraq, poor Venezuela again.
All or any of the above may lead to disaster, confusion, short-tempers, even – if our military/ industrial complex has its way – to war.
Have we done a great job or what?
And all because we decided to ignore the voters of the country and stand around pointing at what we like to think of as an empty chair. (True, it didn’t work for Clint Eastwood, but he’d old now.)
Building on a secure, firm base of fear, disbelief, anger, hatred, and jealousy, freshly tossed each day in the salad bowl of FOX News, is it any wonder that 29 per cent – nearly one third of the voting public – now believes that FOX News is the single trustworthy media outlet the US has?
And if we keep saying “No,” won’t that figure climb?
Why just look out there in the hinterlands. Since we’ve convinced the nation our ship is rudderless, how easy is it to convince those “exceptional” kids to take oars into their own hands and try to steer the country in our direction? While some crime statistics have declined, the kinds of crimes we experience have changed, too. Young people, seeing us at the top of an imaginary power pyramid, have opted for senseless, ever more violent crimes among themselves and on the rest of us. Their parents are content being forced to work harder and harder for less and less. There is no time to restore the virtues of what was once a free and relatively safe country. Then add more than three guns per person to the mix, watch ISIS kill with impunity, see heads of state killing their own populations, and remember- always – how exceptional we are told we are – and we have millions of kids running around believing they can, and will, get away with anything, whether or not it makes sense, whether or not their motives are legitimate.
What once was a movement from top down is now becoming a movement from the grass roots up. Swell. That’s the way a democracy is supposed to work.
If people in power believe only in power and obstructionism; if the people in power cannot and apparently never have made peace with the idea of a president who simply looks different; if the people in power have no admiration for what this particular president has had to fight for six years, what can we expect?
We wouldn’t expect John and Mitch and Marco and Ted, Mike and Rick and Jeb, Ben and Rand and the other Rick even to be able to sleep at night. That they apparently still do is an even worse indictment of the power of just saying no.
The new American recipe is, so far, flawless. Now it’s up to the other 71 percent to clear their throats, shuck their coats, get into their kitchens, and get to work..