Friday, November 9, 2012

The Experiment, And A Look At History

I am about to conduct an experiment. The election is over. My guy lost. Now, everywhere I look there are either stories of the coming apocalypse, or proclamations declaring the death of the Republican party. Any fair reading of history tells me that both assertions are ridiculous. So, here’s my plan.

For the next two weeks starting at 7 am Friday the 9th day of 2012, I will institute a self-imposed ban on the following outlets of information:

1. The Drudge Report

2. National Review

3. MSNBC

4. FOX News

5. The Huffington Post

6. The Daily Kos

7. The O’Reilly Factor

8. Sean Hannity

9. Rush Limbaugh

10. CNN

11. Stephen Colbert

12. The Daily Show

13. PBS

In addition, I will refrain from reading the Editorial Pages of both the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. To obtain my news, I will consult the business pages of the WSJ with a high degree of skepticism. After two weeks I intend to measure my mood, my level of confidence and the quality of my thoughts. My hypothesis is that all three will show dramatic and measurable improvement. I will then report back to you with the results.

We live in a world where the “news” is delivered 24/7 in a hyper, opinionized way by manic and intensely competitive “personalities”. I try to expose myself to a wide range of them, but I find myself not so much informed as unnerved by the whole process. And, I believe it has contributed greatly to my feelings of isolation and despair when it comes to my country. So, this experiment begins.

Now, to those of you who feel exultant as well as those of you who feel despair at the outcome of this election, I offer the following history lesson. The election of 2012 will usher in neither a 50 year reign of Democratic Party dominance, nor the death of the Republican party. How do I know this? History. Here’s my theory. In times of great uncertainty and tumult, the American people have often warmed up to a beefier, more aggressive and dominant attitude toward government. However, when the crisis passes, the American people have consistently preferred a lighter touch, as follows:

 

World War 1 and it’s upheaval usher in Woodrow Wilson and his merry band of Progressives bent on transforming American society. As soon as the war was over, and before the ink was even dry on the Treaty of Versailles, America quickly soured on Wilson’s Progressives and opted for 12 years of laissez faire Republicans. It was time to have fun and make money, and we did both in record breaking ways. Then the Great Depression and the rise of totalitarian regimes round the world ushered in FDR and the New Deal. Things got scary, so we wanted our government to beef up and protect us. After the war was over though, we got tired of all the fussiness, all the rules and regulations and do-gooders. It was time to rebuild, to get back to growing the economy and making some money. Yes, that nice man, General Eisenhower will do nicely. Then the civil rights movement and the social upheaval brought on by the war in Vietnam turned the sixties into a caldron of chaos. Whenever that happens, America turns to government and so we got LBJ and his Great Society’s war on poverty. Which was fine and dandy until the radicals started getting a little too weird. Then it was time for some law and order, and who better for that job than the Republicans and Richard Nixon? But, America doesn’t much care for paranoid crooks in the White House so we decided to give a big-toothed southerner a try. Thankfully Carter gave way rather quickly to Ronald Reagan. When he left and was replaced by his Vice-President, the first George Bush, the temptation was to believe that this time, the Democrats really WERE dead. Wrong again. Hello Bill Clinton.

The pattern should be pretty clear by now that the preferred political philosophy of the American people is highly fungible. The pendulum swings in slow motion sometimes, but it does swing. In 2012 America, has turned once again to Obama. We have experienced in the past ten years the worst terrorist attack in history and the second worst economic collapse in our history. Time for an aggressive, vigorous government. But, as sure as day follows night, these trying times will fade, this government will overreach, and the American people will tire of the Nanny state at some point.

That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. Oh, and one more thing. I’m going to do a better job of praying for the President than I did during his first term. Now that he’s our guy for another four years, he’s my guy too.