Only You Can Stop the Bipartisan Peddling of Lethal Nostalgia

If we open a quarrel between past and present,” Winston Churchill once said, “we shall find that we have lost the future.” I think it was etched on a statue of him Antifa smashed. Regardless, the cat nailed it.

For when the present is chaotic and the future uncertain, it is all too human to hark back to a romanticized past. When indulged on a personal level, these nostalgia trips can provide a restorative respite from pressing concerns, thus enabling one to continue his struggle to understand and transcend present challenges. Yet, when indulged by our two major parties, a politically twisted past is weaponized into a lethal nostalgia with which partisans earnestly bludgeon each other in their incessant struggle for power. This without contemporary purpose or promise for a 21st-century American citizenry uninsulated from the social, political and economic upheavals of globalization—unlike too many of those who inhabit the Washington swamp.

As we’ve seen with each succeeding electoral wipeout, Americans are tired of waiting for Republicans and Democrats to articulate a common-sense legislative agenda that not only results in real improvements in people’s lives but also advances an aspirational view of America’s role in the 21st century.

So, as the sovereign American people grapple with the challenges of daily life and search for answers to the momentous issues facing our nation, they have reached one firm conclusion: they loathe both parties. Consequently, once the party in power proves itself incapable of meeting the challenges confronting 21st-century America, the voters give the opposition party another chance to prove it has learned from its previous mistakes. Think of it as the electoral equivalent of lather, rinse, repeat.

The public’s cycling (and recycling!) of the parties into and out of power will continue until one—and ultimately both—escape their desperate dance with 20th-century policy paradigms (a full discussion of which is beyond the scope of this piece). It won’t happen soon.

For the issues, problems, and concerns confronting America in the 21st-century cannot be surmounted until the core question (once thought settled) that divides the parties and faces the electorate is answered: is America the exceptional nation, or is America an inequitable nation?

At the instigation of both parties’ partisans, Americans have a ringside seat at a quarrel between the past and present; and no matter who they root for, Americans risk losing their future.

Ironically, it is this very quarrel which allows the swamp-dwelling parties to wallow in their all too familiar and comfy mud during elections by pumping out doses of lethal nostalgia—Democrats decrying the country’s historical sins and razing 19th-century statuary; Republicans trying to win another one for the Gipper by courting Ozzie and Harriet, as though nothing has changed.

But things have changed, for better and for worse; and as the globalized 21st-century’s communication revolution continues apace, enormous and tumultuous changes will continue to occur. The downside is that Americans’ immediate sense of chaos and uncertainty about the future will be exacerbated. This, though painful, will spur the upside: the American people will make their decision as to the core question of America’s intrinsic character and, eventually, as to what constitutes the proper aspirational American agenda in this century.

Then, and only then, seized by their survival instincts, the querulous parties will be dragged out of the past into accordance with the present needs and future dreams of the American people.

This is not a prediction predicated upon false optimism or a romanticized view of the past. It is based upon the practical reality of a constitutional surety: the bipartisan pimping of lethal nostalgia to mask their antiquated policies’ inadequacies will end when the parties and their candidates are reminded they are not the sovereign electorate’s masters but their servants. And when push comes to shove in the voting booth, they will heed the people to avoid becoming history.

So put on your thinking caps, folks. The sooner you divine America’s character and future role at home and abroad, the sooner you can give your elected servants their marching orders into the 21st century and win the future.

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8 responses to “Only You Can Stop the Bipartisan Peddling of Lethal Nostalgia

  • It’s not the electorate that is confused. We–Trump, Sanders, and Clinton–voters have “given them their marching orders” again and a again. And again and again they promise us what they have no intention of delivering.

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  • It is not romanticism to hark back to the basic principles that informed the American Experiment at its founding, and to ask how well we are following them. It is not romanticism to criticize those who would disparage and demean those principles, insisting instead that America was founded on lies, oppression, and murder.

    It may be romanticism to hope that it is not too late to defeat the naysayers and those who advocate turning America into a new and even nastier version of the old Soviet Union. If so, call me a romantic.

    /L. E. Joiner

    PS Mr McCotter: Enjoy your comments when I catch you on John Bachelor’s excellent radio show.

  • The problem with this article is that the elected Senators and representatives NEVER follow their marching orders but instead do whatever the hell they want. What “they want” usually ends up being what the Majority Leader and the Washington DC herd want. It’s always the only real solution. And, in most cases, once elected, they cannot be removed because the power of the office and the money it attracts pays for a whole lot of lies that will be directed at any serious challenger.

    • Yep, BusTed followed Mich’s orders and stabbed Roy Moore in the back. I can’t stand that slimy traitor.

  • At 75 I have seen America at it’s greatest and at it’s worst. I do not particularly dwell on when it was at it’s greatest, but I look back a very long time, via Edward Gibbon’s work “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. By looking backwards, one can become reasonably informed of how most once great empires self destructed from within. Reading Mr. Gibbon’s work, one cannot help but see many of the same social/political circumstances that brought down Rome, presenting themselves in the USA in these modern times. One would think people would not be so quick to discount the lessons of history. I mourn for my country in it’s current condition.

  • This article is gibberish. No Republican I know harkens back to Ozzie and Harriet, and it’s liberals who claim nothing has changed – for example, they act as if race was still all about Birmingham and Selma, blacks are all noble and whites are all evil.

    Nor does the fight between the Parties bother me much; there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between them. The difference is between the Left-leaners of both parties and the Classic Liberal conservative populace. The former want to run the country according to their whims, the latter according to the Constitution.

    There’s more, but that’s the idea. Get your assumptions straight, THEN write an article.

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