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Politics - Where do you start to restore the country?  Look in the mirror

June 20th 2006

Politics - Where do you start to restore the country?  Look in the mirror

Republicans in control

Butler Shaffer, professor of law at Southwestern University School of Law, in a June 15 commentary, The Price of Madness, contemplated the direction America has turned since 9/11.

He has concluded that the nation has undergone an erosion of character that, “...arose from within, not within some amorphous collectivity called 'America,' but within the minds and souls of individuals who comprise society....It is a dreadful mistake to blame political leaders, the media, or corporate-state structuring for our problems.

By default—if not enthusiasm—we have been the authors of our own madness....This madness is destroying our sense of what it means to be human being, including our relationships with other people.”


This is an assertion that does not settle well with those who consider themselves “conservatives” or Republicans. The completion of their long march to power came, supposedly, because Democrats and liberals were corrupt, thoughtless, intellectually bankrupt, and thoroughly immoral. Republicans and conservatives, however, challenged Democrat power with “clear visions” that rewarded work by dismantling the welfare state and protected private property with promises of tax cuts and less intrusive government.

Republicans and conservatives largely stood in defense of traditional moral boundaries, pledged to protect marriage from same-sex intrusion and, if they could not engineer a total ban on abortion, they would at least attempt to convince the majority to agree that the procedure should not be used as a convenient method of avoiding the circumstances of mindless debauchery. Conservatives would not be so base as to cajole college girls to service the secular needs of their most powerful officials or to rent the influence of their power to the highest bidders.


Republicans and many who call themselves conservative no doubt believe they have been true to their claims and reject the notion that their integrity has been impeached--except in rare individual cases--during their hold on power. George Bush, after all, does not have a blue dress in his background and various, isolated charges of bribery and influence peddling are seemingly brought by politically motivated liberal prosecutors.

Victors, after all, not only have the pleasure of writing history, but they are also relieved of the burden and emotional turmoil of self-assessments or scrutiny. Could any clear-headed conservative Republican possibly disagrees with Garrison Keillor when he sings We're all Republicans now, :


We're all Republicans now,

We've all come around somehow

We'll stay the course,

No regret or remorse

We're all Republicans now.

Taxes are terribly high,

Especially on people who die.

The economy's booming prosperity's here

Yes, we're in debt but there's nothing to fear.

New Orleans is gone but hey it's okay

None of our friends liked that town anyway

We're all Republicans now.

Keillor's song, however, has a much broader application because Republicans largely feel secure with their political power because too many of their Democrat opponents have the same smug, self-important moral superiority complex that has rationalized Republican refusal of introspection. Generally America has become a nation that is glutted on pride and unwilling to accept the idea that each of us are contributing to a national downfall.

We will criticize the government for spending too much money or spending for the wrong reasons, but we are unwilling to control consumer debt which has the nation outspending its total income. Conservatives champion private property, but when ownership of land stands in the way of profitable real estate development, eminent domain is used to prefer profit over private property. Democrats decry the Bush Administration for mismanaging the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but they had no indignation for the Clinton Administration's impeachment eve bombing of Kosovo and the horrors it caused, or of the invasion and kidnapping at the home of Elian Gonzales. Republicans ridicule the intellectual bankruptcy of Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry and the Democrat Party at large, but they won't entertain any debate with the growing number of self-exiled conservative intellectuals who raise valid and well-reasoned critiques of their hold on power for the last 12 years.

If the institutions that exist to put order and deliver justice to American society are corrupted—and this includes the Democrat and Republican Parties—where can Americans turn to restore integrity to those institutions and still preserve a semblance of liberty? The suggestion here is that we as individuals act upon our own liberty to turn our backs on the ideas and systems that are causing harm to the culture, government, and economy of the country and turn to those who we can most trust.

Those who we can most trust are those who we can best influence. Start with who you find in the mirror and suggest to that person that they devote themselves to the service of those who live under the same roof. Then pledge to withhold activity in any political or community activity—including voting—until the culture of that home is stable, sane, and secure.

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By Bob Strodtbeck
Bob Strodtbeck has been writing editorial commentaries since 1993.  He has professional experiences in pharmaceuticals, radio, and education.  He has also served as a church elder in an Orlando congregation where he has made his home since 1986.rvstrodtbeck@peoplepc.com

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Keywords and misspellings:  politics poletics democrat demoncrat republican repub comentary commentary

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