Sunday, January 3, 2010
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
You have to admit - it's one heck of a mess.
You have billions being bantered around Washington, at the whims (or frustrations, depending on what side of the aisle you lean towards) of two parties in Congress...
...and it's leading to- on continuing, again, depending on what side of the aisle you lean towards - one big headache.
And, to think - 2009 was only the beginning.
With midterm elections coming up, it's no surprise that the fervor in Washington is pitching up. Students of American history will note that this is nothing more than the typical ebb-and-flow of politics in action in the United States. However, with the influx of new politically-minded Americans due to the Obama Effect (both more conservatives protesting the supermajority under President Obama as well as young voters attempting to make their mark on America as a generation), this high-stakes drama that continues to come from the tone set in Washington also has a damning effect on the nation.
Primarily, it highlights that there always seems to be 2 Americans, regardless of what dynamic we are facing.
There is the American political structure that works as a 2-headed machine that often continues living in an alternate universal that segments their reality away from the tug-and-grind that everyday Americans are experiencing at this time. During a year when Americans are facing record unemployment, terror threats both abroad and here at home, and micro-economic crises centering around paying mortgages and basic bills, the Congress has spent money like it's going out of style, pushing through record spending bills that have, to date, yielded low results.
There is the American reality that finds itself splitting - yet again - along socioeconomic and racial lines, differences that show us with clarity how far we still need to come as a nation despite being in the Obama Era. For example, hearing that young Black men with college degrees are 2-3 times as likely as their White counterparts in this recession to be unemployed only makes one wonder how much race has become a barometer in America after 2008, especially as Black unemployment during this bad recession has hit 25% in some areas in the country.
There is the American media that has gone from being the seemingly unbiased filter for the news for the American public to the 2 blatantly polarizing bastions of right-wing talk radio and left-wing conspiracy theorists and "protectors of the common man." Never before has some politicization of the airwaves led to such hard swings within media where the truth becomes concentrated with entertainment, propaganda, and hatred to become a strange elixir that viewers and listeners are now addicted to through the use of radio, television, and new media. Sadly, this comes at a time when the United States needs more active and educated citizens to be involved.
And, of course, there is the separating 2 schools of thought after year 1 of BOPE (The Barack Obama Presidential Experience) - one school that says that the president has only put in 1 year so far and must get more time before any "grades" on his performance can truly be given, while the other school of thought notes that there has been plenty to see from the 44th president to elicit increased apprehension for this administration's policies both domestically and internationally.
This is not the diversity that Americans have been looking for.
At this point, the terrible 2's that we have experienced in 2009 have not pushed America to any new heights of greatness. The competition that could come from honest debate and legislative evolution (or even some sort of bipartisanship at times) has devolved into a lockout of ideas and backroom bargains that may be challenged on their constitutionality. Racial and social delineations have shown the disparities between groups, particuarly as Black America was primed for an upswing in pride and performance after the Inauguration of the first Black president, something that it woefully dropped the ball on during 2009 without including statistics that indicate that perhaps we are not post-racial after all. The positioning of ideas across the airwaves has not been a battle of wits it could be but, rather, it has become a battleground for witty one-liners and bomb-throwing statements motivated primarily to yank ratings back and forth throughout the media, not just inspire its viewers. The fighting between the Obamicans and the Tea Partiers? Well, lost in the erosion of civil debate is respect for the presidency, respect for the Constitution and rule of law, respect for freedom of speech, and shame - shame that prevents folks from saying the nastiest things about their neighbors, their representatives, and the American people that they work for, as everyday Americans and their legislators often showed the worst in themselves on a regular basis.
In a year where we had double-digit unemployment, 2 senatorial buyouts on healthcare, 2 Black men taking charge over the major political parties in the country, and 2 major rounds of debate on health care, we cannot afford 2 straight years of the Terrible Twos. Continuing this trend may just be taking the American patience level a bit too far for comfort.