The notion of “America’s Core Values” haunts our society in a manner not unlike the frantic crew of Battlestar Galactica hunting for the rumored Edenesque Planet Earth. Some of us voice the yearning but most do not register feelings until someone in prominence – this cycle it’s Biden – touches that tender nerve of idealism.
Yes yes baseball, Mom and apple pie are exemplars of our internally reinforced images, but they constitute merely the gate to the family homestead. The homestead itself is where the house, the property and the family members ought to sustain themselves by mutual trusting dependence on a value system based on loyalty, tolerance, economic equality, industry and opportunity.
That homestead has never existed in this country.
However, as an internal visualization it has driven the grandest, most successful and most popular events, changes, adjustments, creations and reforms that we’ve seen in our history.
Our idealized homestead never included a unanimous endorsement of supposed free-market economics. It never included subordination of individual rights and freedoms to the priorities of corporate dominance and certainly did not include evolution of the government into a source of camouflaged corporate welfare.
In that regard, a pure and successful free-market society has never existed, has never proven itself a successful nor universally beneficial system for public well-being.
When pondered and considered honestly; when valued for what they truly represent, our mythical core values reflect the undeniable rebuttal to politicians who declare that government should be run as a business.
At best, that notion reflects a very narrow view of economic reality in this country and is perhaps best exemplified by the contemporary conservative candidacies of those who only pretend-knowledgeablity.
In 2016 Donald Trump proposed a self-made myth about his self-made-career in a manner that far too many Americans who were waiting for a “hero” who would “speak” for them gave in to their own gullibility. Trump most cynically typified politicians who have come to equate their personal financial success as a blend of entrepreneurial wisdom fortified by civic understanding of the laws of economics which somehow generate a natural entrepreneurial compassion for the less successful.
Most of these prominent megaphones want you to believe that justice for all is found on the back of a dollar bill more so than in any Constitution. We seem to hear this nonsense more from conservatives and/or the Republican Party who have for the last 50 years portrayed themselves as economically wise fiscal conservatives.
In reality, once unleashed by their political successes beginning in the 1990’s, with great fanfare they put on the Miter of reform, picked up the Scepter of change in order imply a “fiscally responsible makeover ” that in reality represents today’s most powerful contemporary economic embarrassments.
For example, we saw a welfare reform in the 1990’s that has only marginally resolved even half the problems of poverty in this country. We also saw a rebuttal of the Clinton presidency’s attempt to address national health care inadequacies. Resistance to the Clinton efforts was foolish, ideological, partisan and primarily greed-based. These were un-American refusals to reform or change health coverage in this country. This has remained even more radically unchanged with the political lack of will to do anything in terms of health care reform but propose repeal of Obamacare which in itself was the best of the worst that was compromised into law. Why?
In my opinion it has been the Republican party’s willingness to harm the citizens in the name of opposing anything originating out of the Democratic Party.
We saw how the “fiscally responsible” party of change actually changed many American core value freedoms into unprotected vulnerabilities subject to the whims and greed of corporate capitalism.
These same fiscal hypocrites continue to campaign as if they were successful self-made representatives of a mythical American Dream available to all voters. Republicans have never satisfactorily explained at a national or state level how running the government as a business specifically benefits and protects the physical and economic well-being of the majority of citizens.
One simple example is that any effective business will look at its bottom line and look for ways to refuse to spend money as a means of generating greater profits. They HAVE to look for ways to say No. A government run as a profit-motivated business would do the same. The only requirement is for them to train their choir to respond only to what they label economic conservatism.
What does a government do with “greater profits” created from denials and refusals to spend on the social infrastructure that supports and protects all citizens? Are refusals to expend funds to the needy or most vulnerable in the name of “fiscal responsibility wise and good public policy?
If not the citizens, then who are the shareholders to whom government business-runners owe their highest allegiance?
What is to be done with those profits generated by an elected government run as if it were the same sociopathic “person” based on self-interest inherent in the non-human entity in this country known as a “corporation?” Yes, folks, based on it’s need to survive and grow is by definition sociopathic.
Having taken some whacks at Republicans, I’m not about to imply that Democrats would have been able or even willing to reverse many of the legislated mistakes of the past 20 years in this country.
It ought to be obvious to those citizens who are not blinded by partisan perspectives and propaganda that neither party’s victories in the future will guarantee any movement for genuine reform unless among those victories a specific mandate is included. It must be a mandate that reflects the will of the people; a mandate opposed to bought-and-paid-for civic policies enacted at the behest of monied lobbyists.
Voters must simultaneously have opportunity or means of formalizing a mandate to remove, severely restrict or equalize the playing field when it comes to lobbying our representatives for change. We need to intervene and force corporate lobbyists out of our elected official’s waiting rooms.
In this regard, any pretend apologetics from candidates and incumbents trying to justify accepting corporate donations is worthless. What is simultaneously real and imagined in an almost mindless and tragically immature assumption – rarely expressed but always the basis of attitudinal and tactical thinking – is the self-serving notion that pragmatism usurps any desire or commitment to an ideal.
Partisan activists who consider themselves wise and who are intimately involved in the campaigns of their most beloved candidates almost always belittle ideal thinking. They use the chestnut that you have to play the game in its forever-deteriorating manner in order to win power.
Only then – once in power – can the victor look up the core values even he/she have probably forgotten and restore America to its mythical former glory. Such thinking neither proves nor wins anything but individual personal advocacy duels. It also demonstrates and reveals a cynicism that fuels the ever-increasing loss of a civic appreciation for how things work in this country. This is an obvious tactic non-religious candidates of both parties have had to utilize.
That’s why too many of us – and I mean this literally – are too stupid to see through political tactics generated by polls and political consultants.
Candidates wearing real or memorized earphone prompters so as to conceal their inability to think on their feet and give genuinely honest answers are not the candidates who believe in America’s Core Values.
We’re losing our trust in whatever the Mythical American Core Values ever were. Nothing is taking the place of that trust except perhaps cynicism and an ever deepening self-absorbed behavioral pattern; a pattern that only underlines what historians will eventually describe as the reason for the fall.
A future mythology may be only a speculation about an American Dream once believed to exist.