Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lifting the Fog

The widely anticipated retaking of Congress by Republicans has given me hope that finally there will be some clarity on the American political landscape. Divisions among Democrats and Republicans, and among Republicans and Republicans, have left us all in a fog.

We have seen President Obama's popularity diminish precipitously, but there's no consensus as to why. He's roundly criticized by voices from both left and right.

Conservatives call for repeal of his two signal accomplishments, Health Care and Financial Reform, before most Americans have comprehended their provisions or felt their effects.

Liberals feel betrayed by his not ending the wars or unemployment, by his inaction on such issues as immigration reform and gay rights, and now by his Attorney General's stated opposition to California's marijuana initiative.

Come January, there may be upwards of a hundred freshmen representatives, passionately committed to shrinking government expenditures and eliminating the deficit without raising anybody's taxes. A teachable moment awaits us all when they finally have to pass a budget.

In 1994, the Republicans took control of both the House and the Senate thereby ceding the middle ground to President Bill Clinton. His administration, and the American economy, thrived, while the GOP redefined itself for the next fourteen years by its social agenda rather than by its governing principles.

It's my hope that President Obama will similarly seize the middle, standing up against far right excesses while holding the far left at bay. Perhaps then we'll see a grudging truce in our pitched battle of partisans, and the fog will lift.

The Boston Tea Party, a hand-colored lithograph from the shop of Currier and Ives, 1847(?) This depiction is inaccurate as the raid happened in the evening. The Mohawk disguises were probably less elaborate and only worn by a few. The popular understandings of why the Tea Party occurred, Sam Adams' exact role in leading it, and the way it was received by incipient revolutionary leaders, are all subjects of historical revisionism. We also don't know who drew this picture, but click on it for a closer look.


Paula Slade said...

It will be interesting to see if history repeats itself. However, I'm not sure it would be a good thing.

DUTA said...

I'll say this:
In the last presidential elections, the intellect of the american voter went on strike (to put it delicately), and the result of that was ominous.
Hope you do better next time.

I like everything about this picture, especially the colors. The blue, black, orange of the garments are among my favorite colors in clothing.

Jon Lavin said...

Seems like many are saying that if the Tea Party delivers on
Tuesday, those who even think about a moderate governance will be too scared to even try to govern. This may be true on both sides as demonstrated by the Democrats who are fleeing their own record which in my mind is not totally terrible. My hope is that the Senate (and if possible the House) not go Republican and we continue to see if Congress will ever be able to function given the antiquated rules in the Senate Obama needs to find a Cheif of Staff who can deliver a managerial structure that permits the President to present a stong positive direction from now to 2012. No "but's" about it.

TallTchr said...

Thank you Paula, Duta and Jon for your comments. I found this article enlightening--alarming, but with some cause for hope: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Issues/The-Economy/2010/10/29/GOP-Insurgents-May-Disrupt-Leaders-Plans-and-Go-Rogue.aspx

I expect the first few months of the GOP Congress will be wild and wooly, but after that, let's hope cooler heads prevail.