A political stalemate because we don’t know what we want…

I’m just wondering. Could it be that the American electorate at large does not know what it wants? The political stalemate that has resulted in the month-long so far shutdown of much of the government, halting food inspections, endangering security on flights, and even of the White House itself, not to mention putting vast numbers of people in and out of the government out of work, is not just a product of politicians who can’t agree, it is a product of an electorate at stalemate.

Coincidentally the electorate in the United Kingdom seems to be suffering the same. They are divided on whether they want to be in or out of the European Union, although the majority vote is to be out. But even among those who want to be out, they do not agree on how far out. I mean even those who don’t want to be under the thumb of the EU may want some of its advantages and protections. But you can’t have your cake and eat it too (I’ve always wondered why that is, about cake, not about what that adage represents).

I think there is some connection here. Iowans and Republicans in general may have approved of that loyal conservative congressman Steve King and to an extent may have shared his white supremacy or maybe keep-the-status quo thoughts but on a national scale he just got to be too embarrassing. More embarrassing than Trump? Well no, but they could do something about King. He has been stripped of his committee appointments in congress and some have suggested, including the Des Moines Register newspaper, that he just leave public life.

It seems that neither of the two major American political parties know exactly what they stand for or what their constituencies want.

The Republican Party is certainly not the Party of its first president, Abraham Lincoln. I mean what do you see in Donald Trump that could even come close to Lincoln?

And the Democratic Party, once the party of unionized workers, among others, no longer is seen as the working man’s party. For some unexplained reason much of the Joe Lunchbox crowd have gravitated toward a party that usually seeks to limit worker protections.

As anyone who reads this can tell, I am kind of writing stream-of-consciousness here, but I think the Democratic Party lost or began to lose the union vote or the Joe Lunchbox vote back during Johnson and Nixon’s time when young, perhaps often non-working youth, demonstrated against the Vietnam War. It had been the culture of working men (I’m referring to men here simply because I am thinking back to the male-dominated society of my youth, not because I am sexist) to be patriotic and to follow the lead of American foreign policy and either go sign up voluntarily for war or at least support the effort back home on the job  — wars used to make money for a wider range of people, beyond the military industrial complex elite, than they do now.

(Oh, and I am not ignorant of the fact that draft dodging has a long history — back in the Civil War you could legally pay for someone to take your place and many did.)

But war itself has caused disunity in society. After World War II with its clear victory by the U.S. and the allies, it all became ambiguous, as to victory and purpose and legitimacy, i.e., Korea, then Vietnam, then the Middle East. That has divided and perplexed society.

And today, the world of work, with constant elimination of jobs with technology advancing exponentially is disrupting society. Someone I know and respect once opined many years ago now, but then again not all that long ago, “thinking” jobs were safe. But now we have artificial intelligence threatening even those jobs.

We all no longer know quite know what to think. How can the politicians and political parties know?

Just random thoughts today as I wait for more work (a dispatch) in my own line, truck driving. I’m safe because of age. I mean yes in the not distant future my job may be gone, but so will I — I just hope not too soon, on both accounts.

 

 

 

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