Venality v. Haplessness: The Fundamental Dynamic of American Politics

As the conventions and campaigns come in full swing, the ceaseless commentary couches our politics as a clash between conservative and liberal. But the two sides of the fundamental dynamics of our political environment for several decades are better captured as venality vs. haplessness.

Here’s something a little off the fiction author path, an essay on the sad and scary state of our political situation. A few excerpts, and you can read the full essay at thezog.com.

Democrats fumble for any foothold or leverage, and continue to fail. A failure running parallel to their inability to enable a President to exercise a fundamental right and need of the nation, to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. While venality propels Republicans to block the process, in the hope for a future that maintains a Court steadfastly supporting their economic interests.

A partisanship based on ideas and conflicting philosophies is a healthy part of the democratic dialectic. As Gandhi put it, no person or side has a monopoly on truth. There is thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. But venality brooks no such perception and haplessness produces no resolution.

That relentless pursuit of power for its own sake and to further extremely narrow interests is well on display as Republicans fall into line to support Donald Trump, bending themselves into political pretzels to justify his shortcomings, his bigotry, woeful unpreparedness, repulsive temperament and pandering. For one thing, pandering has been the stock and trade of the party for a long time; for another, they have no moral compass with which to respond to him, having given any up any semblance of serving all in the nation a long time ago.

Social issues shape identity for enough people that they can be cynically manipulated by those whose interests are even simpler – money. The accumulation of wealth. The generational capacity to keep power through that wealth to maintain it. There are days now that foster empathy for what some Germans must have felt with the impending rise of their Nazi party; we assume it can’t happen here, as we watch it happen.

{And for more views on how bureaucracy and politicians respond to crises, read my novel A World Between.}

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