Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Washington: Decayed, Not Broken

Washington: Decayed, Not Broken
P. Schultz

            In lingo that is current and has been for some time now, it is said often that “Washington,” meaning our political order or system, “is broken.” So, many of those now residing and practicing politics in Washington say that it needs to be “fixed,” as if the government were a mechanical device and politicians were mechanics. But this is inaccurate. Our political order is not broken; it is decayed. It doesn’t need to be fixed; it needs to be reborn.

            What does this mean, to say our political order is decayed? Quite simply, it means that that order no longer serves those it is intended to serve, “the people,” meaning most people in the US, while it does serve the interests of those few with power, what might be called our “ruling class.” This ruling class comprehends both of our major political parties as well as those institutions and individuals who have the greatest impact on how the nation is governed. All political orders – what I like to call “regimes” - eventually decay, which is why the Declaration of Independence says that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  This means, among other things, that any form or kind of government, any regime, not only may but will become destructive of that end all governments should pursue, viz., securing the “unalienable Rights [of] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

            That our political order is decayed is noticed across the political spectrum, e.g., by both the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement.  Both of these movements, each in its own way, reject the current regime, because while this regime claims to be providing for “the people,” providing security, prosperity, and freedom, its actual goal or at least its effect is to “stifle” the people, to oppress them for the sake of maintaining the status quo, that is, their own power, wealth, and status.

            So, while the Tea Party and the Occupy movement differ in that the Tea Party would dismantle the current arrangements of power while the Occupy movement would take over those powers, and even expand some of them, both want us to provide for ourselves and each other, thereby displacing the current “providers.”  In other words, both of these movements know that the current regime is decayed and needs to be remade or reborn. They also sense that reform is insufficient insofar as it is merely patchwork. That which is decayed cannot be saved by patchwork, no matter how sophisticated it might seem to be. Rather, the decayed must be discarded and replaced by something healthy, something fresh, something new.

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