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The End of My American Political Illusion

Aug 10, 12 The End of My American Political Illusion

Invitations to the After Party

I remember watching the television, as a child, as magician David Copperfield performed one of the greatest illusions of all-time.  With the wave of his hands, he made the Statue of Liberty disappear from the middle of the New York harbor.  One can only imagine the excitement and awe of a child, who has seen the impossible happen.  Search lights crossed where the statue used to be, and helicopters buzzed overhead, with no sight of the statue.  Up until the past few years, this was still the greatest illusion I had seen in my lifetime.  As of recent, I have come to understand a far greater deception, whose participants have yet to understand that they are a player in a fictitious political dialog.  This illusion I refer to, is the American political illusion.

Most individuals would probably agree that jobs are good, a strong economy is good, a strong national defense is good, and peace and prosperity are good.  Where they seem to part ways politically, is on what actions are needed to achieve these ideals.  The American Left believes that if we write enough laws focused on some legislators idea of perceived “fairness”, that given enough time all things will equalize for the betterment of the whole, no matter the groups or individuals benefitted or harmed in the process.  The Right believes that through legislation we can return to a collective morality, which does not and has never existed in American Society.  Only this will cure America’s ills and we will once again experience our manifest destiny as the chosen nation of the world.  Both sides seem caught in a trite feud, where the other is the cause of all the nations problems.

The truth is, that while each group of individuals believes they have the best intentions and hope for their world, their refusal to take a step back and process the reality of their circumstances, then apply any set of principles consistently across the board, retards their ability to see beyond the illusion.  As the cliché goes, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  To be fair, one does their best to rationalize their circumstances when they are presented with a ‘true or false’ dichotomy, believing the answer to be exactly one or the other.  Either the statue has disappeared, or it is still there.  But is there a reality outside of this paradigm?  That is to say, do the two predominant American political parties, the Democrats or Republicans, have the right answer? Does the answer lie somewhere between, or are they both completely off the mark?  How is it that regardless of which side holds a majority in government, the direction of government generally doesn’t veer off course?

The answer to this began to appear to me sometime around 2007.   At this time, I took a job in sales that required me to travel extensively throughout a large rural territory.  It was the beginning of the American presidential primary season, and for the first time in the post-9/11 era, Americans would be presented with two brand new options to be the face of the country.  The United States, having sustained 6 years of multiple wars, in the midst of enduring economic crisis, and withstanding mounting debt, was seemingly facing the most important election of our lifetime.

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