The sight of Hillary’s crocodile tears in New Hampshire and the outrage of Republican elites at the ignorance of Iowa voters is about all I can take of this presidential election cycle.
Oh, there’s some entertainment value in watching GOP apologist Sean Hannity being chased by Ron Paul supporters and the prospect of a second embarrassing defeat for Hillary Clinton — which could be followed by another electoral thrashing in South Carolina — but there are times lately when, for sanity’s sake, all I can watch on TV is Spongebob Squarepants.
The only candidates in the race even talking about smaller, less intrusive federal government are Ron Paul and Fred Thompson. The media portrays Paul as a foil-hat-wearing lunatic and Thompson is running his campaign with the enthusiasm of a 12-year-old boy doing his math homework on a warm spring afternoon.
But regardless of who’s elected, no president will be able to buck the corporate interests who have the Beltway in a full nelson. The United States, as they (and it should be they rather than it) now exist, serve a group of oligarchs who shape government policies to further their interests. The IRS is nothing more than a collection agency for those interests, and the American taxpayer is the victim of a government-enforced wealth transfer program, not from the rich to the poor, but from the middle class to the extremely rich.
Now, I don’t advocate “soaking the rich” because anyone with a brain knows that just doesn’t work. The guys pulling the levers have their money sheltered from the laws by which the rest of us live. Mike Huckabee’s support of the Fair Tax (which, like Ron Paul’s support of actually limiting the federal government according to the actual words in the Constitution, is earning him scorn from national pundits who don’t know a damn thing about fiscal policy) is appealing if for no other reason than it closes the legal tax loopholes and levels the playing field — even for illegal aliens. But that’s another essay.
Human nature hasn’t changed in the 6,000 or so years of recorded history. People tend to pursue self-interest at the expense of everyone else, and that’s what’s happened to the United States. It’s not a new phenomenon; as much as I want to believe in the inherent goodness of our nation, you really have to close your eyes to a lot of our history to interpret the expansion of the original colonies across the breadth of this continent as righteous and just.
As a Christian, I would dearly love to cling to the notion that we are truly “one nation under God”, but I just don’t see the evidence for it. Yes, many of us do believe in a sovereign God, but frankly, most of us don’t take Him all that seriously. We visit Him on Sundays, like we’d visit an aging relative in a nursing home, and then, our obligation fulfilled and our conscience salved, forget about Him the rest of the week.
Even our “good” wars were self-serving; how much money do you think American taxpayers funneled to Boeing, Lockheed, General Electric, McDonnell-Douglas, Grumman, Northrup, etc., etc., during the two world wars and the conflict in Korea? Does it surprise you to learn that the industrial buildup of Hitler’s Reich was financed in large measure by American investment bankers (including the grandfather of George W. Bush)? It was, as was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
Why would Americans invest in nations and ideologies destined to become our enemies? Well, again, that’s another essay, but it illustrates my point: Self-interest trumps the collective good, and the Golden Rule has been edited to red “them with the gold makes the rules”.
Back to Spongebob Squarepants: I’m not really a pessimist. You see, I do believe that the Bible is an accurate record of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. I’ve read the end of the Book and I know who wins. More than anyone, though, Jesus knew the state of the human heart, and expecting one man or woman to somehow reverse the course of American history — which would require reversing the state of the human heart — is beyond the ken of mortals.
There are times, though, when soaking in the news of the day gets a little wearisome. When that happens, it’s good to be reminded that life is joyous and that laughter exists if one cares to look. When we’ve had enough political spin for one day, a dose of Spongebob is a good reminder.