Warning: this article contains unfiltered personal opinion, sweeping generalities and dire predictions. Further I fully expect and hope that this generates significant controversy and comment!
I tell you that today – January of 2014 – our Union is far from lost. America is still the strongest, richest and most free nation on Earth. However we do face three broad categories of challenges. Following a brief discussion of each of these I will offer my own view on how the two main political parties in the United States should really be viewed as six very different parties, offer some insights about how each of those might view the challenges we face, and how I believe that one of those six parties would very much like to see America fail.
1. Clearly we are on an unsustainable course with respect to our failed foreign policies. I believe that the majority of Americans on both sides of the political debate understand this, though they certainly differ in how to address this collection of problems.
Externally our foreign policies have failed over and over again, not only throughout this administration but through several previous administrations and across the last several decades. In general the world regards America as schizophrenic; every four years we (potentially) elect a new President and our foreign policy can turn 180 degrees almost overnight.
With our election of Obama our sudden change of foreign policy greatly affected the Middle East and our former ally Israel in particular (and yes I intentionally used the qualifier “former.”)
2. Clearly we are a greatly divided nation internally, both politically and culturally. President Obama and the far Left have been hard at work to divide America along political, religious, ethnic, economic and cultural lines since as far back as the run up to the 2008 election, and they’ve not let up since. I suppose you can say that about the Right as well, though I think you would be hard pressed to find much credible evidence to support such a position – it’s just not a common Conservative tactic.
It has, however, long been a basic Democrat Party tactic to invent new ways to divide the nation – an excellent example of this is the fictitious “War on Women.” In this way the Dems hope to divide constituencies and make each election something very personal to each individual American instead of about the larger, sweeping issues that face our nation. But it is a true statement that “all politics are local” I suppose.
Again I believe that both Republicans and Democrats understand this, but in this case Democrats simply believe that they are right and Republicans are stupid racists, whereas Republicans like me believe that many Democrats are overly politically correct intolerants committed to the abolition of some very important sections of our Constitution.
Regardless of whether either side is “right” the fact remains that America is a nation deeply divided along lines of political ideology… perhaps more so than ever before.
3. Clearly we have an unsustainable budget. Again I don’t think you’d get much of an argument from any reasonable person to the contrary on this topic. Many on the far Left would probably disagree but I did use the qualifier “reasonable” didn’t I? One would have to suspend belief in basic mathematics and budgetary practices in order to come to any other conclusion than that we are finally broke. More extreme Leftists cling to the belief that the answer to our budget woes is quite simple – higher taxes on the wealthy because they are convinced that’s where our nation’s money is tied up. The Right of course wants major cuts in social programs to balance our budget – something the Left strongly opposes. The Left sees our defense budget as bloated and wants cuts there – something strongly opposed by the Right.
Of course this is not a detailed list of all the problems that confront America. These are but three broad categories into which I have chosen to dump all of our woes with respect to this article. But I do believe that there but few real issues that do not fall into one of these three groupings.
Two Parties… or Six?
While there tend to be two different general points of view when it comes to addressing America’s challenges – Conservative and Liberal, or if you prefer Republican and Democrat – each of those has groups within it that must be considered separately. When I consider American politics (something I obviously do quite often) I find it helpful to further divide those two general political groups each into three subgroups based on more specific political ideologies.
I’ll start with my personal concept of the divisions among the Conservatives, starting on the Far Right and moving across the American political spectrum to the Far Left. Please keep in mind that these are my own divisions and I do not claim here to cover all possible political dimensions.
TEA Party: Those on the far Right want the smallest possible government and a return to the budgetary practices, foreign policy, States rights and individual rights envisioned by our Founding Fathers. This is where I categorize the “TEA Party” and I’ll refer to this group by that label. Purists in the actual TEA Party will perhaps tell you that they are only concerned with over-taxation (Taxed Enough Already = TEA) and that they actually have members who are both Republican and Democrat. OK, got it. But most TEA Party members are Republicans and most are staunchly Conservative. They believe that they clearly see a threat posed by the far Left, and our out-of-control budget, and are speaking out about that. I place myself in this ideological group. Unfortunately this is where I fear we must lump other small groups of ultra-Conservatives – hey, I’m holding this to six political subdivisions, remember? Everybody’s gotta go somewhere – cut me some slack!
Libertarians: Moving toward the center are folks who just want to be left alone to live the American Dream. They are largely content with the America they already have. Like the “TEA Party” Left they want to keep what they earn. They want fiscal responsibility from their government. They see that it is their own responsibility to work and pay a fair share of taxes. This is where I see most Libertarians so I’ll refer to this group by that moniker. Also like the TEA Party they will claim members who were formerly affiliated with both of the mainstream political parties, but again I submit that they are mostly former Republicans.
Standard Conservatives: The final and Leftmost third of the Right I will refer to as “Standard Conservatives” – the group you will often hear the Leftist Main Stream Media (MSM) pander to as “moderates” and “swing voters” – people to be “brought into the fold.” These are folks who, much like the “Standard Liberals” (description below) really just don’t want to be bothered by the whole messy process of politics. Like their counterparts in the Rightmost third of the Left they are simply ignorant of, and unconcerned with political issues. They vote GOP most of the time because they were raised Republican or because they live in a largely Republican area, or because their friends and relatives are Republicans, just as their counterparts on the Left vote DNC. They may or may not accept that America faces any of the challenges listed above, but may perhaps be more prone to do so than the “Standard Liberals” simply because the current administration is Democrat and that probably doesn’t sit well with many of this group.
Now let’s cross that fuzzy meridian between the Right and the Left…
Standard Liberals: I believe that about a third of the Left simply do not believe that there is any real substance to those two broad categories of challenges which face America, again perhaps because their party is currently in power and to put stock in a whole pile of problems would seem to challenge what they perceive to be conventional wisdom. Perhaps it’s simply due to a lack of interest or information – in other words through simple ignorance. Let’s call members of this group “Standard Liberals”. They just go about their lives not particularly engaged in the national narrative, as similarly distracted as “Standard Conservatives.” They care much more about football and American Idol than legislation, and politics… and I say good on ‘em. Why should any of us have to spend the majority of our day wringing our hands over national decisions? After all isn’t that why we elect politicians?
Socialist Utopians: The middle third of the Left sees where we are but believes that an unsustainable course and budget are worth suffering through temporarily for the greater good. They believe that if they can just succeed in getting all that money from the rich, and dislodge the Right from their iron grip on pesky things like our outdated Constitution, our guns and our Bibles, then they can usher in their hoped for Socialist utopia – so let’s call them “Socialist Utopians.” I believe that President Obama resides in this category; “equal playing field”, “fairness doctrine”, “Constitution is an outdated document”, “income redistribution”, “single-payer health care”, “social justice”, et al.
Communists: The final third of the Left I believe are actually hard core Communist, so let’s call them what they are – “Communists”. Use “hyper-Socialist Left” if you’re more comfortable with that term. These fanatics know full well where we are heading and they revel in what they hope is the impending collapse of our corrupt, oppressive Capitalist Union. This Leftmost third of the Left hopes to rise the Phoenix of a new Communist (of course, they would probably use the term Socialist) Union from the ashes of the nation we now know as America.
So let’s be clear here; I am claiming that about 15% of America – 1/6th of the population is represented by each of these six groupings. In this last group of “Communists” I would include people who claim to be anarchists, the Occupy Movement, and similar far Left loons, just as the far Right includes these same sorts of extremists on their end of the political spectrum grouped loosely into the “TEA Party” group.
Unlike the few but growing numbers of TEA Party Congressmen, there are already great many Congressmen in this third of the Left which is why our Congress has become so polarized. Members like Reid and Pelosi lead this bunch.
One quick note here; if I were to adjust the percentages of the three groups into which I have dissembled the Left it would be to increase the percentage of the “Socialist Utopians” and “Standard Liberals”, and decrease the percentage of “Communists.” I still have enough faith in America to think that there are more true Capitalists than Communists, and to think that at least some portion of people who would consider themselves to be Socialist are really very misguided Capitalists. If you want proof of that just take their iPhones away from them.
So that’s it. That’s my “Six Party View” of American politics, along with admittedly brief and woefully insufficient reviews of what I believe are their motivations and goals.
I believe that this more granular view of American ideology and politics provides a more accurate way to view our political landscape than simply assigning the more broad labels of Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal.
As with all generalities of course many Americans really don’t fit neatly into any of those six groups, but six subdivisions is all I can really get my mind around and this “six party model” helps me make a bit more sense of the world of American politics.
Further I will acknowledge that the real issue is not how people think, but how people actually vote. In the end our government stems from how people cast their votes… and I don’t put much stock in the perceived problems of wide-spread voter fraud, nor do I think fears of the Left using some NSA super-database to win future elections are founded in reality. In that regard I will yield to the real masters, the election wizards like Karl Rove, Bob Beckel, Dick Morris and the regular parade of pundits and pollsters from both sides of the aisle we see on the cable news channels daily.
The Apathy of Middle America (still with me?)
The middle third of America – the “Standard Liberals and Conservatives” on their respective sides of center mass – is where most “low information voters” (God, I hate that term) can be found, and I believe this is where most “Independents” and the pathetic crop of “Principled Non-Voters” reside. They don’t really give a damn about politics, and when they vote they tend to vote for someone they think will give them something.
Both halves of the center third of America are bored with politics and would rather play X-Box and smoke pot than watch the news and actually think about how to cast their vote. They can be found voting across party lines and are easily swayed by a charismatic candidate like Obama. Often they do not vote at all.
The Danger from the Far Left
The “Standard Liberal” third of the Left that are simply uninvolved and ignorant of the national narrative are starting to see the error of their ways to one extent or another. For example they are starting to see the effects of long-term unemployment brought about by Leftist anti-small business/pro-union policies and the threat that legalizing 11,000,000 illegal aliens may have on that. They are starting to wonder what the true cost of ObamaCare may be. In short they are starting to see the fallacy of Socialism, the cradle-to-grave “nanny state”, and runaway government spending… and that has the “Communist” third of Left running scared.
The “Communists” believe they can easily drag their “Socialist Utopian” brothers along with them – and I believe that as well – but they know cannot succeed in collapsing the Union “legally” and “cleanly” (i.e. no armed conflict), without the support of the “Standard Liberals.”
Radical assertion? Ya, that’s a radical assertion, but I do believe that about 15% (1/6th) of America truly believes that extreme Socialism – if not outright Communism – is our best hope for the future. They’ve watched too much Star Trek, where they’ve witnessed a future without money and poverty and have come to the conclusion that Capitalism is an evil that must be abolished.
Our Government at Work
For the time being it is still the case that in America you have to have 51% – if not 61% – of the vote to accomplish anything quickly through legal governmental processes as they exist now… even with Harry Reid’s shameful implementation of the so-called “nuclear option.” Even more difficult are amendments to the Constitution which require three-fourths of the States to ratify any such proposal, and take years.
Because the “Communist Left” sees that a large percentage of the nation is starting to smell a rat with regard to massive Socialist programs like ObamaCare, they are currently engaged in a subtle but frantic campaign – with the assistance of the MSM and unions, and yes even George Soros – to push America as far to the Left as they can before the Democratic Party’s grip on power slips and they lose control perhaps as early as this coming November, or in 2016. That’s not a prediction of upcoming election outcomes, but simply an expression of the urgency which I believe is driving the committed “Communist Left.”
Since Obama’s election in 2008, and over the following two years during which the Dems controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress the “Communist Left” has seen an opening and have worked hard to exploit it, creating ObamaCare, for example (did you think that was really an Obama plan?), dramatically increasing social programs to increase individual dependency on the Federal government, forcing TWO huge bailouts through to benefit unions and banks, challenging State sovereignty at every turn, and of course stepping up their battle against the 2nd Amendment which they know will enable the final, last stand against their efforts to collapse the country if allowed to remain in place. If they fail – and in the short term they probably will – they’ll not give up of course, but they will be better positioned for their next big push starting with an America that is already weakened and further Left than it currently is.
(Here’s where this essay gets a little creepy, so if you’ve enjoyed this so far and you’re kindly thinking to yourself, “Hey, this guy’s making some good points” maybe you should just quit while I’m ahead, stop reading and go watch TV)
Having said all that there is a very real danger which threatens our Union beyond our unstainable political and foreign policy course, and our unstainable budget and the other problems about which I have written thus far.
Obviously America is currently “administered” largely by the Left which has tremendous impact on how the various departments and agencies run. The EPA, the IRS, the DoD, the NSA, etc. will all tend to react in accordance with a political ideology similar to that of their politically appointed chief administrators and the President. The longer a particular party (President and/or Congress) is in power the more pervasive and entrenched this tendency will become… has already become.
Further when the President is allowed to pick and choose which laws he will enforce, and is allowed to govern by Executive Order and Signing Statements – as all recent Presidents both Republican and Democrat since at least 1950 have done [LINK] – then this aspect of the overall political ideology of the government is even more dramatic.
The real danger is that in America’s current weakened and divided condition if some sudden catastrophe (significant and long-term oil shortage, another global monetary crisis along the lines of 2008-2010, or even something like a global pandemic like the Spanish Flu of 1918) delivers a harsh enough economic blow to America then a very real threat of the collapse of the normal functions of government exists.
It is my opinion that if something significant enough occurs we may see that most of America – at least that middle third comprised of the “Standard Conservatives” and “Standard Liberals” – would mindlessly and readily accept some significant degree of government overreaction such as some combination of nationalization of large portions of the private sector (ports, for example, and truck transportation, agriculture, critical manufacturing, and power generation), “temporary” suspension of Constitutional rights such as a suspension of the normal election processes or to the 1st , 2nd and/or 4th Amendments… and almost certainly extended periods of martial law, especially in large population centers.
There might even be an accelerated push for the revocation of certain Amendments and/or the introduction of new Amendments with the government requiring a faster than expected ratification process… hey this is all strictly “legal” folks! Check my article on this subject.
That middle third of America mentioned above, comprised of the Rightmost Left and the Leftmost Right, combined with the rest of the Left, empowered by a current administration that is already decidedly Leftist if this were to occur within this next two or three years, under extreme conditions could sweep America so far Left that there would be no chance of recovery.
While perhaps unlikely, bringing about the collapse of the American economy is a very real and oft expressed political goal of some vocal radicals on the “Communist Left”, and the fact that as long as the Left is in power the response to something really serious would probably not be in support of more freedom and liberty for Americans… at least not in the fashion that Conservatives think of freedom and liberty.
Such a move by the far Left would logically come at a point of greatest weakness for America, such as when we are in the throes of dealing with a true emergency. The Communist Left would make their move and call for “modifications” to the Constitution and our core governmental processes to “ensure this sort of tragedy never happens again”… and it might come to pass that fully 60% of America would cheer.
No predictions here. I am only expressing my opinion that I do not believe that America is strong enough to survive any significant ‘boot-to-the-head’ scenario just now.
Under such circumstances States such as Texas might elect to secede from such a mortally wounded nation, which would present a government already in chaos with a difficult decision – whether to enter another civil war to “preserve the Union.”
At the same time the over-populated and overly-Socialist States on the east and west coasts would likely be among the first to utterly collapse. Unable to stand on their own these States would require immediate government intervention.
Following the re-election of Obama in November of 2013 about 20 States started petitions to secede from the Union, but of course none of that really went anywhere. But the fact remains that there is a process for the cessation of any State by legal means.
Could the dire scenario of this last portion of my essay actually come to pass? That depends on your assessment of the likelihood of one of those sudden and significant catastrophes I mentioned above actually occurring. For my part I believe that the exploitation by the far Left of a worst-case scenario is at best only unlikely and at worst very possible.