Often we hear, “things can’t get worse”, only to see them get worse. How about, “tomorrow will be better still” and see things unchanged. And when we are least suspecting, “something great just happened”.
In 2012 we saw a continuation of an unfocused and dysfunction Congress. Ordinarily one might say “so what”, or “what else is new”. Some see a Congress paralyzed into inactivity as a good thing. The unfortunate collateral damage from a dysfunctional Congress is the message sent to most Americans. Your elected representatives don’t care and can’t cooperate, so why should you try? With the economy struggling, this is not the desired attitude one would want to see across America.
America has problems at all levels of government, national, state, and local. These problems are all solvable and represent no terminal disease… unless we let it turn into an irreversible malaise.
The political discourse was even worse. Such out and out mistruths as “job creators”, photo IDs, and securing the borders took on the cloth of politically driven purposes. Say what it takes to get the vote. Don’t worry about “fact check”. And with seemingly unlimited funds, any message can be sold.
But in this sea of intellectual darkness, a ray of sunshine did appear. The Presidential race which looked to be a toss up, if not a Republican victory, actually went to the incumbent by a clear margin. The American electorate rejected the mistruths and assigned blame for Congressional dysfunction to the GOP. The job creators, the photo ID advocates, and the immigration reform deniers were shown the door. President Obama was reelected.
The major 2012 question left unanswered is whether the GOP has learned anything. Obstructionism, blatant use of mistruths, and disdain for the average person will not yield results the GOP is seeking. Worse, a weakened and wounded GOP is doubly not good. Without a vigorous but constructive opposition, Democrats will fail quickly too. This is the prescription for America’s Roman ending… collapse from within.
America is many things but it is also not many things people say. Our schools are the most costly in the world and their results about 16 from the best. Our health care is the most costly, does not cover all residents, and produces outcomes which are mediocre. The US has more guns per capita and imprisons more people than any other country in the world. And the US spends almost as much on Defense as all other countries combined.
These are all situations which can be managed and improved. The 2013 question is how can we make progress if we stick with a formula of dysfunction and mistruths? The strange tale of 2012 might shows us the way.