Political Turning Points #2
By: Brooks A. Mick
#1 was the political post-election tantrum thrown by Al Gore, operating in 4-yr-old mode, in Florida 2000.
#2 is the rapid deterioration in national morality enabled by Bill Clinton’s behavior during his presidency. Prior to Bill Clinton, people were not perfect. They would on occasion behave in immoral or corrupt ways–but at least they had the decency to feel guilty about it! This tended to inhibit really gross corruption and amoral behavior, but post-Clinton it’s become pretty much anything goes.
During the Clinton years, we learned it’s OK to lie. Worse, we learned that it’s NOT OK TO COMPLAIN ABOUT LYING, because “everybody lies.”
During the Clinton years, we learned that it isn’t whether you lie, cheat, steal, suborn perjury, commit perjury, issue pardons to Puerto Rican terrorists or corrupt billionaires or not–it’s whether you can get away with it that counts. Worse, we learned that people who disapprove of lying, cheating, stealing, perjury, or shady political manipulations are just evil Republicans who are in the pockets of big business and who want the little guy, the average working American, to lose his job.
During the Clinton years, we learned that politicians who lie, cheat, steal, make shady political deals should be whitewashed by the press–if they are Democrats. No longer was the media to be equal-opportunity in nature.
During the Clinton years, we learned that increasing government spending was OK if we renamed it “investing.”
During the Clinton years, we learned that in politics, it all depended upon “what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” (Wink-wink-smirk.)
During the Clinton years, we learned that sex wasn’t really sex if you kept one foot on the floor–oh, wait, that was just an old joke, wasn’t it?
During the Clinton years, corruption became somehow perversely honorable and expected, not shameful.
CEOs of big corporations and financial institutions, most of whom were Democrats contrary to left-wing mythology, adopted the Clintonian rationale that anything was OK if you could get away with it. Taking bonuses for poor performance became commonplace. Back-room deals involving kickbacks and political favors became not just commonplace, but expected or even mandatory behavior. You weren’t a top-level executive if you didn’t extract favors from politicians or otherwiseengage in shady practices.
And in school, cheating on tests became the norm. It was OK if you could get away with it. Heck, some teachers knew cheating was going on and didn’t care–it made them look more effective!
As a result of the mainstreaming of immorality, corruption, cheating, and lying, we have a government and society which is self-immolating. The citizens have apparently concluded that if their congressman doesn’t grab the pork, it will go to some other pork-barrelling constituency. Executives have concluded that, if they don’t extract favors from congress, some other company will benefit, the assumption being that all are scrounging in the legislative dumpsters. Charities have taken to lobbying congress to fund the favorite projects, mandating the use of tax dollars for particular conditions, on the theory that “it only adds 1% to the health care budget.’ Of course with 50 different charities adding their 1%, it ends up addign 50% to health care taxpayer costs when care for breast cancer and ALS and prostate cancer and bipolar disorder, etc., etc., is mandated by government. And then government pretends to be puzzled that, the more government becomes involved, the higher health care costs go! C’est de rire, mes amis!
The underlying truth is that our democratic capitalism works better than other econo-governmental systems because it has been less corrupt–more honest. Since Clinton, our representative democracy and our corporations have become dishonest. And worse, seemingly proud of it!
Obama is the pinnacle, so far. He’ll say anything if it sounds good and gains votes, and then he’ll do the exact opposite while claiming that he’s doing what he said he would do! He’ll ignore the Constitution while proclaiming he’s supporting it. And even those people who know he’s violating the law cheer, because he has convinced them he’s doing it to grant them favors.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “the last best hope of Mankind.” We were it. We’re squandering the hope.