Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Future of our Republic

The future of our republic will be decided elsewhere. Utah's essentially single party status has made them irrelevant to national politics and merely play a role as defining the outer reaches of conservative and nativist extremism that's possible if the Republican noise machine succeeds nationally.

Places like Illinois, Wisconsin, California, Nevada and Pennsylvania will likely determine whether the Democrats continue to control the Senate, and a broader belt of midwestern and far-western states will determine whether they control the House. The Mormon belt and the Bible belt are now the solid red bastion of conservative extremism, and is it any wonder, that these areas are also those areas with the most devout followers of fundamentalist religious faiths? Correlation doesn't always equate with causation, but I have a hard time not linking these two.

My concern is long-term about the future of our country. Keyne's maxim that "in the long run, we're all dead" may be true, but I have children, nephews and neices and I care about future generations of our country. If we are to create creative solutions to the problems of today, and to our future, we will need to as a society have a great deal of attributes antithetical to religious or political dogmatism. We will need flexibility, creativity, accountability and transparency. Religious dogmatism is anti-thetical to all those things that we will need to create the best solutions to whatever problems we face in the future.

The feedback loop goes as such- people during periods of stress and uncertainty, look to ideologies that provide certainty. These ideologies result in poor solutions to pressing problems which results in greater stress and uncertainty, followed by more dogmatic adherence to certainties. This is what I fear for our country. Eight years of Bush created a disaster economically and morally for our country. Conservatives response to this has been that the problem was Bush's lack of adherence to "true" conservative principles. Conservative ideologies, like a drug to an addict, provide escape from reality but temporary comfort, but provide a scarcity of creative solutions to the problems we face as a country. And like an addict, when the addictive behavior creates more problems, the solution is more of the drug.

We face an intellectual and moral crisis in this country. Those who look backwards into the past for solutions to the present limit our options and bind us with inflexibility. This is the paradigm I see in Mike Lee and tea partiers. And I don't believe me and my little blog will make a difference in the intervention our country desperately needs if we the people, will take responsibility, and look to flexible solutions, not dogmatic myths about ourselves. The politicians are a symptom of a problem that goes much deeper. It lies in us, the American voter and people and our susceptibility to demagoguery and delusion.

The answers to our problems are rarely simple. Let's move forward looking for the best solutions, not to dogmas based on authority. Progress in our Republic is still possible, but I fear this election will stunt our growth and bind us for generations to come. I hope I am wrong.

1 comment:

Bill Hawthorne said...

Utah Hornets Nest,

My name is Bill Hawthorne and I am a political blogger. Just had a question about your blog and couldn’t find an email—please get back to me as soon as you can (barbaraobrien(at)