Published on TheHill.com
Another title could be, “Nobody’s Listening,” but that would be deceptive because all of the nobodies across the land—none of them politicians or pundits but a super plurality—are indeed listening and they don’t like what they hear.
David Brooks and Howard Kurtz have shared their angst about the GOP’s disarray, they being amongst the first to say out loud what the nobodies have been thinking these last months.
When us nobodies hear Democrats lard their speeches with softheaded, unprincipled giveaways (not many promises about jobs we notice) and Republicans hold fast to mystic principles of uncertain origin, we get to thinking. On the far left, the founding fathers of sorts are Alinsky, Engles, and Guevara, but the only principle that matters is control of the masses for their own good. Imprison their souls within the walls of government largesse and the progressive elite owns the nation!
On the far right, the ice barrier of frozen values may be liberating to each individual within the mass, if one could only be pure enough to have them apply. Thoughtful nobodies reach back into history to find their compass points, but immediately, they face a question. Unlike the tablets of Mt. Sinai writ by the hand of God, just where do the principles of the Right come from? As to the Founding Fathers, those men (and the sometimes forceful women behind them, a la Abigail Adams) didn’t have tablets of democracy from God or anyone else. They had to craft them with wisdom, blood, and treasure, and one has only to read the diarists amongst them to understand the rancorous debates that occurred, and many were the duels of opinion by fortress-like opposites, yet out of the riotous noise came the distillation that today we call their principles.
One such example is our very system of government. We do not have a House and Senate because a bicameral arrangement adhered to special principle. In fact, such was not their intent at all, and to a man, they loathed the notion that we might mirror a House of Commons and a House of Lords. It was a contest supreme, then, pitting the populist crowd against the equality of states faction. Because states like Rhode Island and Connecticut thought they’d be overpowered by the likes of Virginia and Georgia, every state was made equal with two votes apiece, and each senator was elected for six years by their respective state legislatures (until the Seventeenth Amendment, 1913). The populists howled with demands that the peoples’ voices be heard, and in consequence, the House of Representatives was created with members serving two year terms, the shorter term thus allowing a more direct reflection of the wishes of the populace.
Issue after issue—the location of the Capitol, assumption of revolutionary war debt, the very presence of a Bill of Rights and the specifics of each amendment therein, amongst many others—were all settled not by adherence to mystical principle but by compromises giving rise to new principles balancing the objectives of otherwise polar factions.
In today’s environment from the White House to the Senate and the House, there is little inclination to compromise on anything—soundbite claims to the contrary notwithstanding, and for nearly nine years the nobodies—conservative Democrats, most Independents, and moderate conservatives—have lost opportunities for forward actions on trade, immigration, abortion, health care, infrastructure, and others.
A pox on both camps, the nobodies are beginning to shout. When we cry for towering figures to lead us to new heights of civility and solution, we have miscreants massaging the left and bobbleheads bullying the right. Give us a party welcoming all to work each issue toward policies for which every nobody can vote, “Aye.” Give us liberty, or get out of the way!