Within hours of S&P’s downgrading of America’s credit rating, some in American media cried foul of the Tea Party’s extortionist politics, claiming that the S&P downgraded America’s credit rating because of the Tea Party’s resorting to political brinkmanship. Unfortunately, this media spin was an example of the very reason we have brinkmanship in America. Suggesting that the Tea Party (to which I am in no way affiliated) is at fault for bringing down America is simply an example of the media buffoonery that makes up the forth branch of America’s dysfunctional political system. Pointing to a symptom of a political disease and calling it the disease is the same bit of quackery that allowed 19th century snake oil salesmen to roam our great country passing bottles of sugar flavored alcohol off as medicinal solutions to fix all ails.
For 80 years, America’s two party dynamics have allowed a continued trend toward gerrymandering and toward a concentration of extremist views that support a minority of Americans’ concentrated elitist power base. When the American two party system was allowed to drift from its origins as a representative body that earnestly searched for incremental compromise within the bounds of the great middle of America toward its current dysfunctional politicking of purveyors of polarizing opposition, America slowly denigrated into the acceptance of long-lived, unsettled, demoralizing, and financially degrading systemic problems as the norm.
The Great Middle was bamboozled into believing that these issues were fully outside the realm of achievable compromise. They were unaware that the two party system aligned as one regarding issues such as globalization, issues that were best left in a state of disrepair if they were to support the economic needs of the party elites. The Great Middle of Americans have known that our two party system has been up to no good for quite some time. Especially in the last two decades, Americans have consistently registered our complaint that Congress is dysfunctional, with disapproval of their performance over 80 percent. But the cloud cover that our fourth branch has provided through smoke and mirror journalism for the elites, their owners, has kept us from putting our finger on the problem.
Many are disillusioned by our two party system, but few have registered their support for third parties, instead continuing to hope for a different outcome each time they cast votes for the extremist representation we continue to receive. 2008 was a milestone shift of extremism. 2010 knee jerked in another direction as America’s debt rose as a critical issue. Debt is one of the issues that we have accepted as the dysfunctional norm for a long time. The Tea Party was not wrong to want to stand against this glaring elitist stagnation.
However, the Congress’s methods have become ingrained through trillions of dollars of political commerce that is obstinately resistant to change. S&P was correct in identifying brinkmanship not as the problem of American politics but as a symptom of our much greater dysfunctionality. This systemic problem of American politics has no easy fix within the timeframe that it would take for S&P to conscientiously keep our credit rating at AAA.
Unfortunately, it will take a bit of a revolution to change Washington. The Tea Party, and its counter constituents in the social democratized branch of the Democratic party, are the nascent beginnings of that movement. Yes, the young movement has mistakenly allowed itself to be influenced by the same powerful elite that has controlled the mainstream parties into thinking that low taxes for the elite helps America and that unfettered capitalism is good for us as well. Yet, as the Great Middle grows legs and stamina to compete in this indoctrinated political structure, it will rise up to meet the issues that have long since been the accepted norm.
Unfortunately for our economy, the spectacle we witnessed over the debt ceiling uncovered the tentacles that our elites have in holding onto the status quo in spite of what has been obvious to the entire world as a blatant need for America’s reversal of direction. We will all suffer financially as a result. Fortunately, however, for the future of our nation, this nascent band of revolutionaries that boarded the mercantilist ships of our elitist power base in Washington and threw overboard the crates of business as usual were able to withstand the fires of redcoat opposition.
They held up to the elite and drove a stake into the ground for change, real change, that has to have shaken the foundations of all in Washington and that signaled a sustainable and real chance at recovery. Through the power of the Constitution of the United States, the movement has signaled to the two party system, one that has long corralled the Great Middle into accepting a slow walk into the mediocrity of a diminished future, that a bit of a revolution has occurred.