Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Angry, Abandoned, Radicalized Middle

If I were a political creature, I'd be tempted to start a new movement, or perhaps a party, and call it AARM: Angry, Abandoned, Radicalized Middle.

This week saw two strong rebukes to our political system, first by the historic downgrading of American debt, and next by a resounding market slump. Both have been attributed to the recent debt deal in Congress that came up short of its goals and settled nothing. Not a cent has been cut from the budget; we have merely a promise to reduce spending while the country borrows enough to tide us over until after the next election.

A committee of twelve has been named, evenly divided between the parties and the Houses of Congress, to negotiate just 1.2 trillion dollars (down from 4 trillion) in budget cuts. The party leaders named the members and it appears that on the hill, it's business as usual. There are no mavericks in the bunch.

Meanwhile we centrists, who we're told comprise a majority of the voters, are unrepresented.

The polarizing issues are taxes vs. entitlements. The Republicans oppose any tax increases, or "revenue enhancements" in the parlance of the euphemizers, whatsoever. The Democrats are defending Social Security and Medicare, plus a host of social programs, against all cuts.

The A.A.R.M. sees clearly that both sides are wrong.

Taxes were foolishly lowered under the Bush administration and should be put back where they were. Entitlements have been overpromised through the years; modest adjustments in them today may prevent drastic cuts, or even elimination, later on.

But there is no time to waste. And so far as this writer can see, that's all Washington is doing or wants to do: kill time until the next election when each side hopes to effect a sweep so that it won't have to compromise. In other words, the once coveted middle ground has been abandoned and neither party wants to answer to the nation's centrist majority.

Are you feeling as angry, abandoned, and radicalized as I am?

Solitude by Marc Chagall, 1933. The worried rabbi represents the Jewish people, outcast from the darkened city at the onset of the holocaust. The Torah scroll, the small and innocent looking cow, and the violin that's been set aside, recall the shtetl life that is no more. An angel flies unnoticed through ominous skies. Solitude decries the people's abandonment and isolation. Click on the picture for a closer look.


DUTA said...

Reality is not left, right, middle.
These misleading terms were invented by politicians to make the political games more appealing to the crowds.

As I've said in a previous comment, it's too late and too little for political games and compromises.
So, here's what ,IMHO, might happen in the near future:

1. External pressure on America from China, Russia, and other countries regarding the debt, in an attempt to protect their assets and currency reserve.

2. Internal unrest which could go from street protests to riots to revolution to civil war.

3. Disintegration of the two political parties, especially of the Democratic one whose 'genial' inspiration to nominate Obama as candidate for Presidency opened the way to America's turning into a Somalia.

Chagall's picture is quite relevant here. As usual, the jews will be the "abandoned ones".
With Greenspan and Bernannke as "the pillars" of the american economy , and with 80% of the jews as Obama's voters and supporters, what could one expect?

Paula Slade said...

I think our country is very close to having a collective "Network" moment. Don't know if you saw this, but Dylan Ratigan (MSNBC) had his "Network" moment earlier this week.


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TallTchr said...

@Duta: While I agree with some of your analysis, I don't share your pessimism because I think the U.S. is a more vital and resilient country than you give it credit for. After the downgrading, the exact opposite of what everyone expected happened: there was a rally in U.S. Treasury Bonds. The reason is that with all our troubles, we're still more stable than any other country. The world is a very perilous place.

TallTchr said...

@ Paula: I watched the clip and loved it. But I don't know who Mr. Ratigan is and I'm not sure how many people would have seen it, much less understood what he was talking about.

TallTchr said...

@dsl: Thanks for visiting and for the suggestion. I once had the blog linked to a Twitter account, but it tweeted everytime I edited something and people complained. I canceled my Twitter account because I found the tweets distracting during the day. I like to view msgs on my schedule and not have them interrupt me when I'm busy living my life. I went to your site, but I'm afraid I don't read German. Sorry.