Mr. Stupid Goes to Washington
It’s election time again, and though typically these types of things are my version of the Superbowl, I just can’t seem to get myself too excited. Yes, the stakes are high, but when aren’t they? They’re only higher than usual now because too often over the past several decades people have voted as if rational self-interest really doesn’t matter. Elections have become less about serious attention to solving problems and more of just a biennial celebration of Festivus, where voters go to polls for the airing of grievances. Sure, it may feel good in the short run to throw open the window and scream about how you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, but in the long run, it doesn’t change anything. You’ll continue to take it – and take it harder yet – so long as an energized minority of rageaholics control electoral outcomes, while decent and more reasonable people sit on the sidelines, discouraged by the ceaseless whining and exagerrated squeals of outraged butthurt.
You want to know the really sick part? This time around, those people who sit things out because they think it doesn’t matter are right, at least in regards to anything getting done in the next couple of years. If the Democrats retain majorities in both House and Senate, the now-larger Republican minority will continue their obstructionist tactics, and nothing will get done. If the Republicans manage to gain a majority in both houses (they won’t), they’ll wind up shutting down the government, proposing a lot of stuff that would get vetoed, and launching a lot of witch hunts, but they won’t be getting anything done, either.
So why vote? Well, sometimes it comes down to this: the world is a better place when stupid people lose the argument. The Democrats work so mightily at losing and failing that it’s impossible to get excited about them, but they do have this to commend them – they aren’t Republicans. At least when they get nothing done, they don’t actively lower the national IQ, destroy the economy, and hand over all control to special interests – only most of it. But that’s still better than the alternative.
The clown shoes littering the Senate cloakroom floor are going to present a real obstacle course once some combination of the following get sworn in: Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Joe Miller, Christine McDonnell, Pat Toomey, Linda McMahon, as well as a number of lesser lights whose full crazy will only become apparent after they’re seated. The hope at this point is that only a few in the crazy caucus will win, but though few in number will prove potent in educating the electorate of the generally negative consequences of elevating people picked at random from the phone book to high public office.
Probably not, but we can always hope.