2016

17 February 2016: Sorry! Boring pragmatism is what is needed

Swagger is American. John Wayne. John Elway. Donald Trump. Swagger isn’t just talk; it’s the walk. Strut your stuff.

Swagger is a guy thing. A six-foot-plus-tall guy thing. And the guy better exude toughness.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t swagger. He towers. He’s gruff, unkempt, and barks. He points. Must have the last word. Full of platitudes. Supporters find that endearing.

Hillary Clinton cannot swagger. She cannot be gruff. Or be unkempt. Or bark. She better carry it right. Hair in place, tone firm but not too high so not to sound shrill, and never sweat. And can’t be too smart. Guys hate it.

Machismo vs. fresh.

Democrats boast they’re the party of dispassionate reason. Sanders, the antithesis of that. But then it’s unclear whether he’s a Democrat. He says he’s a democrat socialist, whatever that means. With Wall St., he’s black and white. But when it comes to being a Democrat, he’s less clear. In fact, murky. A politician confounded by principle. He needs the party while disdaining it.

Sanders is passion, messianic righteousness with a fundamentalist fervor. And he’s a guy. No woman could gain the traction with the message he trumpets because righteous bravado is manly. Saviors come in various religious stripes, but masculinity is their commonality. God’s a man, after all.

Sanders is a veritable twenty-first century St. George slaying the fire-breathing dragon called Big Money. If he succeeds in becoming president, he will have turned American history on its head.

From the beginning, we’ve rejected radicalism. As revolutions go, ours wasn’t much of one. No heads chopped off. No executions. Our ancestors chose John Adams over Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson over Patrick Henry. Abraham Lincoln invaded the South initially not to abolish slavery but to prevent the union from dissolving.

Franklin Roosevelt instituted the New Deal with broad reforms from Social Security to labor rights. But while he railed against “economic royalists,” he hobnobbed quite nicely with a plethora of big money guys who supported him. As Bill Scher points out on RealClear Politics, 25 percent of FDR’s 1932 campaign came from Wall St.

So did Teddy Roosevelt, the Trust Buster, Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama whose four-million devotees couldn’t fund his 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney. It took a billion dollars. I hate it. Reality can suck.

But then, maybe that’s socialistic Sanders’ point: The reason all the others are tainted and beholding, while he remains pure and never will be beholding. So he says. But reality also has a way to shake one from delusion.

We’re becoming the country of rage and ruin. Passion on the left versus passion on the right. Now Sanders is dissing the President.

Lefties inflamed about increasing economic injustice, with wealth inexorably flowing to the top one percent. The marginalization once reserved for the poor and working classes has hit home. Middle Americans finding themselves more in the lower-economic, and thus social, groupings than in the upper echelons as their class continues to dissipate in an increasingly two-class Amerika…the oligarchy and all the rest.

Righties outraged by an America becoming more socially depraved—same-sex marriage, abortion, and no prayer in public schools—and no longer being the colossus it once was on the world stage. The bi-polar world dominated by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. giving away to parity. And our traditional moats—the Atlantic and Pacific—now violable.

Feeling threatened leads to fear. Fear leads to anger. And anger leads to irrational impulses. Fear of the outsider—xenophobia—and nativism boiling on the right. Hostility towards the mega-wealthy on left. Storm the Bastille. Off with their heads.

The solution? A savior, an American Juan Peron. Sanders. Trump. Pick your poison.

Trump would build a border wall. Sanders would wall in Wall St. Then implode it.

Sanders in a word: Free! Fantasy. Offensive in addition to being delusional. Despite Wall St. excesses, America is about earning your keep. Personal dignity.

Trump: cult of personality. Say no more.

But we don’t need saving. It’s a matter of rejecting passionate furor and opting for pragmatic solutions. I know. Pragmatism is boring. It doesn’t play well on Fox or MSNBC. Or to the intemperate masses.

Blaming others or the system, whether immigrants or Wall St., won’t get it done. Victimhood is crass no matter how you slice it. As Shakespeare writes in Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Next week, Hillary the flawed. Just like me. Just like you.

You Might Also Like