What's up with the Republicans?
No really, I'm kind of sick of all of them, from George W. Bush (a sentiment that will linger with me to the end of my days) to John McCain to all those goons on Fox News—already the divisions of bipartisanship threaten to eclipse the significance of President Barack Obama's historic rise to the White House. Not yet three months into his term, Obama is faced with numerous detractors from both houses of Congress, destroying any semblance of a unified effort to combat this crisis. Such an effort seemed almost within sight, if not quite within reach, made possible by the tidal wave of history Obama rode into the Oval Office. It almost seemed for a few days there that maybe the Dems and the GOP might actually set aside their base differences and work towards the goal of keeping this nation from completely becoming derailed...
Psssh! Who am I kidding? That last paragraph sounds fit for a fairy tale, or perhaps straight out of diary of some political pundit who lost it and is now in the psychiatric ward. Let's keep it real here. If it were the other way around, say somehow a black Republican (I know, just hear me out) won the White House back in November, all of us Democrats would be chomping at the bit to tear him down too. It has always been this way in America; it has, in fact, always been this way in democracies. Don't believe me? Take a gander at the political madness described by Thucydides in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. There was an "enlightened" civilization beset crisis, and look how those guys responded: by driving their city-state nigh onto ruin. What about Rome? Same thing. They had a crisis and gave Caesar dictatorial powers, resulting in the death of their republic.
Some people may ask: what's this have to with America? We've had this sort of political strife since this country's inception and we're still going on strong. Really? Are we still going on strong? Athens and Rome were superpowers by their era's standards for far longer than we have been, and their overall lifespans were a hell of a lot longer too. Both Athens enjoyed a reign of supremacy for some 250 years, and existed as an independent state nearly a thousand years. Rome was a superpower for 500 years, and lasted 1100 years in total.*
My point is this, America has a long way to go, and a lot of things to learn if it hopes to survive. Even when Obama speaks I'm skeptical now, with all his carefully picked emotive words about how America has survived far worse things than what's facing us today, like the Civil War, and the Great Depression. Yes, when you look at it one way, that's very true. But why then after we survive such ordeals as a nation do we always revert back to the same politics that led us to the brink in the first place? Will we never learn? Whether it's divisions and pettiness among Congress, or corruption and negligence from the President, we always seem to take a good thing and screw it up, needlessly.
Even Obama, once my beacon of hope, is now leaving me with the familiar acrid aftertaste of standard Washington politics. I mean, couldn't he find anyone who paid their taxes, for crying out loud? Couldn't he find anyone who would actually take a minute to watch the actions of the greedy AIG execs who form the core of the group of people who helped lead us into this mess? Maybe I don't know; maybe I can't know, watching to far from the outside. But come on, can't we do better than this? I want to believe we can do better, but I'm finding that harder and harder each day. Maybe that's because we can't, or maybe I'm just turning cynical. In a nation full of cynics, I guess it amounts to the same thing.
*The western half did, anyway. The eastern half of the empire survived a thousand years longer as the Byzantine empire, based out of Constantinople, or present day Istanbul, Turkey.