By J.C. Fremont*;

I read, with equal parts amusement and consternation the lamentations of Felix Veritas of the apparent death of the United States of America, a story apparently missed by the great majority of its inhabitants.

The central premise of Mr. Veritas’ eulogy is its claim that there are but two cultures in America, embroiled in a fight to the finish, a cultural death match. At best, these are gross exaggerations among a narrow segment of the elite; at worst, a diversion that eschews civic dialogue in favor of political kayfabe, an old wrestling term meant to keep reality out of the story.

In 2016, 57 million people voted  in a Democratic or Republican primary – impressive to those who stir up these bases for a living, but less so when you also realize there are close to 250 million voting-age adults in the United States. Once dismissively labeled as the Great Unwashed, the nation as a whole is distinctly unaligned with either of Mr. Veritas’ political pugilists. We have not made it worth their while.

These are the Americans that go to work and raise a family without the agita of who is appearing on Fox News or CNN. They do not read the New York Times editorial page or dwell on the Punch & Judy show that is the present day Congress. They are not among the “cultural influencers” in a perpetual state of lamentations on “Morning Joe”, nor are they paying attention to the High School Musical version of journalism known as “Fox & Friends”. This is the America that pays little attention to the media circus, because the circus is increasingly irrelevant to their lives.

 

The fault, dear Felix, is not in our stars, but ourselves.

“Our political economy and our high-energy industry run on large, general principles, on ideas. not by day-to-day guess work, expedients and improvisations,” wrote William F. Buckley, a man whose erudition is distinctly out of touch in today’s political vortex.  Yet this is what the Grand Old Party has become – guess work and expediency. Donald Trump is a consummate salesman but the business of government does not work on commission.

The Republican Party was built on ideas, on principles, on promise. Today, the GOP runs on little of this. It runs on what Fox News tells us it is. The President is right, Fox tells us, even when he is wrong, in which case he is right after all. To dissent, of course, is to capitulate. Never mind that the President espouses very few Madisonian principles, as the conservative banner was merely his ticket to the general election. To Donald Trump, Russell Kirk might as well be the captain of the Starship Enterprise.

Outside the White House, there are precious few ideas from the Republican leadership on issues that affect the majority of people that are not active voters, because to do so means risking the loss of their comfortable lives in Georgetown or. No one will ever place a statue of Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell in Statuary Hall, and for good reason – they have abrogated the power of Congress as a co-equal branch of government. Yet this  mediocrity is accepted. We accept mediocrity in our leaders because the show is more fun than pointing out the bad actors.

The Democratic Party is no better, of course. Once the party of social conservatism and economic liberalism for the working man, it has become a collection of narrow special interest groups with diminishing relevance to anyone between the coasts. Its leaders are aging and their platitudes waning, unable to comprehend after all these years that egalitarianism is no substitute for liberty.  It has drummed out social conservatives for much the same reason the GOP drove out the Jack Kemp Republicans – intellectual debate is welcome in theory, but not in practice. To be a Democrat is to recall the line in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The great failure of our political climate on both parties are the winds of populism, a sad excuse for representative leadership. It is chicanery of the highest order, and is tolerated by those in authority of both parties as a smokescreen to the labor of actual governing. “Populism does not wax in tranquil times; it is a cathartic response to serious problems,” wrote George F. Will. “But it always wanes because it never seems serious as a solution.”

If pejorative politics does not wane in Felix Veritas’ America, it most assuredly will in the city streets and country roads where the other 250 million people go about their daily lives, and the results may be altogether retributive. In a short two years, a candidate of either party who steps forward with a plan that unites and not merely pits Americans against each other for overnight TV ratings has the seminal opportunity to embolden that silent majority; a majority that neither has the time nor the inclination to destroy the nation in order to save it, and whose electoral power is far more sweeping than any midterm wave foisted upon their horizons.

This over-heated political climate is due for the winds of inevitable change, a cleansing thunderstorm on a long, hot summer afternoon.

 

*J.C. Fremont is the nom de plume of a veteran Republican and faithful reader of Quin Hillyer.com.

As I remind everybody when Felix writes, I do the same here: I am not J.S. Fremont, and he is not me. Sometimes people have jobs which preclude them from publicly opining on politics. Neither J.C.  nor Felix has the same writing style I do. As with Felix, however, I very deeply appreciate his contribution — Quin

 

 

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