Is change simply for change’s sake worth the risk?

With just under a month to go before pivotal midterm elections, the campaign landscape is as muddled as any I’ve witnessed in 45 years of either covering politics as a journalist and working inside the system as an operative.

Will Republicans recapture control of the House and/or the Senate? Will Tea Party candidates triumph over the derision of mainstream pundits and political professionals? Will this be the election where voters really do change the government?

As polls tighten and voters start to take a closer look at choices in November, the GOP chances for ousting Democrats from control is less certain than just a month ago. Several key races are tightening. The GOP will gain seats but the party of the elephant is no longer swaggering in self-confidence.  Loony tunes performances by Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware have tightened races that once were considered sure Republican wins and other insurgent candidates — when examined closely — have turned out to be more fruitcake than fruit for change.

Still voters want something different and appear willing to try anything — even candidates with questionable mental histories — to showcase their frustration with the status quo.

Congress — like the America it purportedly represents — is deeply divided, separated by a bottomless chasm of extremism on both the right and the left, gridlocked by hardbound dogma on both sides and unwilling to even consider compromise or conciliation.

Government depends on the art of the deal to function. Coalitions drive legislation and make meaningful laws possible. Extremism — be it conservative or liberal — excludes cooperation and the end result is hopeless, progress-stopping, governance-impeding gridlock.

Things must change. That’s a given but is change possible when an angry electorate adds more extremists and hard-liners to the mix?  Can a system that has lost the ability to govern be saved by those with no experience governing anything?

That’s the dilemma facing those who must walk into the polling place next month and decide the future direction of this nation. That’s also the risk that rises like a rampaging monster from the depth of a political movement founded on the belief that anything — no matter how extreme — is better than the system we have now.

As someone who has wandered through the wilderness of politics for four-plus decades, I should be able to deliver some clarity, some sharpening of the fuzziness of the American psyche but — at this point — I have no idea who is worthy of my vote when I walk into our county rescue squad building next month and tap the names on the touch screen.

Like most voters, I want change — serious change — to the system.

But at what risk? At what cost?

A very good argument can be made that this nation cannot afford to continue on its present course.

Yet we must also look at the choices facing us and ask: Can we afford any of the choices that we have before us on November 2?

However, as Americans, citizens and voters we must make a choice. Doing nothing is even more dangerous than doing the wrong thing.

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14 Responses to "Is change simply for change’s sake worth the risk?"

  1. Guardhouse Lawyer  October 4, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Masterful, sir, particularly the phrase “turned out to be more fruitcake than fruit for change.”

    I find it fascinating that those who scoffed at the catchphrase “Change you can believe in” are echoing that same sentiment, particularly with respect to their Pledge to America. They are asking us to believe in change back to their way of doing things, ways that led us directly to the bad spot we are in right now. They promise to dismantle health insurance reform, to deregulate even more, etc., etc. ad nauseam. We still find the Republicans exacting huge money promises from their pet pigs. I would not be surprised to hear a Republican or Tea Party candidate campaigning on a promise to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act!

    I happen to believe that, overall, the American public is not as stupid as we give them credit for, and that they will reject this mindless pandering to the darkest emotions within the human soul. Certainly the Dems are going to lose seats in both House and Senate, but I predict that neither House will end up in Republican hands.

    After much reading of entrails and dare I say it tea leaves, I predict that after the election the Democrats will have 230 seats in the House and 55, MAYBE 54 seats in the Senate. The Senate race in WV could well go to Raese, but I think Buck is going to be stopped at the polls on election night in Colorado. If Raese wins the Republicans will have 46 seats, otherwise 45.

  2. Almandine  October 4, 2010 at 9:10 am

    “Doing nothing is even more dangerous than doing the wrong thing.”

    I must agree.

  3. freecitizen  October 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Nice post Doug! But from my viewpoint, both parties are corrupt and self-serving and this is why in part voting for either party, in my view, is a losing proposition. Under Bush 2 republicans screwed this country royally! And now under Obama and dem control, the screw job is accelerating! It is also the fault of the people themselves.

    By now, most everyone should realize that both political parties have been serving themselves at our expense for a long time and the big corporations that have bought them, yet that is the nature of deception! You don’t know your being deceived until it is pointed out to you with some kind of evidence. Yet, the people, in my view, are being willfully resistant to “waking up” to these facts. It’s like putting a known child molester in charge of babysitting your kids!!

    The looney left/right zombie base of these parties continue to want to put these failures of “public servants” in power with the idea that if we just keep them there , somehow things will magically get better and we will have change that America wants! But what does America want? I don’t think that we know! Since America keeps relying on these crooks and liars to tell them what they want through their media lapdogs. America does not, and perhaps cannot think! They are led around by an invisible leash like lost puppies waiting for the scraps that their masters might toss their way.

    And independents are no better since they keep voting for whoever is not in power at any given moment that are not to blame for their ill-fortune without looking at the big picture over time and seeing that it was only a few years ago that the other party which used to be in power screwed them as well! And there is no reason to believe that either deserves any amount of trust on the people’s part and put them back into a position of power.

    It could be that the only way that this country will really change for the better, is when the country finally collapses under it’s own bulls**t and ideological dogma from both parties and we are forced to try to start over again!! If that is possible?

    The thing is, this country already has a foundation on which to re-build that both these parties have neglected and seriously abused to unrecognizable levels! It is called the US Constitution! Only those with some character and personal integrity(absolute essential attributes for leadership roles) will be able to uphold and defend it. Where are such people in either party?

    • Carl Nemo  October 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm

      Superbly stated “freecitizen”. I concur with your position and summation as to the ugly outcome of this perpetual swing of the pendulum between two seemingly entrenched evils that have become a single party, that might as well be named the “Republicrats”. They’ve roped us and seemingly the American electorate have become their defacto dopes. : |

      Carl Nemo **==

      • freecitizen  October 4, 2010 at 9:16 pm

        Thanks Carl. Welcome to the “realized” minority.

    • woody188  October 4, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      Well said freecitizen. I hope collapse isn’t what it takes, but I am preparing for that very distinct possibility. I’ve spent most the last decade trying to convince others what is happening, even talking about this current housing debacle back in 2004. I’ve basically given up, preferring instead to focus my time and energy on saving and preserving my family. I’m on a path to self-sufficiency, I just hope I am not too late. I should be fully self-sustained by 2012 if things go as planned.

      • freecitizen  October 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm

        Thanks woody. I also hope that collapse is not what happens, but with the way things seem to continue as usual, it does not look promising!
        Good luck with your self-sufficiency!

  4. eve  October 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Freecitizen speaks the truth, objectively and succinctly.
    Carl Nemo, I continue to enjoy reading your views as well.

    Change for change’s sake?

    You mean like crossing the street in traffic instead of waiting for the crosswalk to tell you it’s OK? Do you mean THAT kind of change?

    The American people have been given sub-standard choices for their elected officials on ALL levels of office for decades. Most of these “choices” (for change) have been unworthy of the “people’s” consideration.

    Were Barak Obama and John McCain the BEST America has to offer?
    Seriously? Were they the best options for “change” in America?

    Were Bill Clinton and George W Bush the absolute best America had to do the job?

    I guess the “elite” thought so.

    They “the elite” select their representatives, fund both sides through the election process (via contributions), and then use the media (which they also own/fund) to promote their selected candidates as “choices” for the masses.

    It’s a “win-win” for the bankers/elite/rich/corps/lobby groups, and a ‘lose-lose” for the US populace.

    Is this how a Constitutional Republic operates or are we only a Constitutional Republic in name?

    How many times have the American people “voted the ba$t@rd out?” I’ll answer that one for you all …. every time. Every election and what changes?

    Ask yourselves what has changed in the last two presidential terms? How about in the last four terms? In the last 60 years?

    Change? With every bit of sweeping legislation these “representatives” continue to pass, it seems more like “chains.”

    November is next month and it’s time the incumbents go. They have done enough. We are where we are because of their action or lack of action.

    Let’s give them a sweeping change and send them packing. Hopefully we’ll vote in more people who hail from “Main St” and less from “Wall St.”

    THEN … we’ll have change.

    • Carl Nemo  October 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm

      “Is this how a Constitutional Republic operates or are we only a Constitutional Republic in name?” …extract from Eve’s post

      First, thanks for the postive feedback concerning my posts Eve. : ) Also thanks to the site host for bringing up this prescient issue concerning change simply for its sake and its impact on the future of our ‘Republic’.

      This nation has devolved into a corporatist oligarchy, especially with intensity post WWII, but its roots can be traced back to the American Civil War where Northern manufacturing interests made an obscene amount of money off the production of the weapons of war while the Rothschilds of Europe bled this nation white. Interest rates levied on our civil-warring Republic were as high as 26% which made Lincoln fearful for the possibility of our survival as a nation.

      The first decades of the 20th century brought us both the Federal Reserve and the Income Tax and now we are suffering under the administrative boot of both these bloodsucking government agencies; ie., the Fed being a privately owned corporation posing an agency while the IRS is the enforcer for squeezing the life’s blood out of 300 million plus captive tax slaves while less than one percent enjoy the sheltering of their transgenerastional mostly ill-gotten fortunes protected by the veil of foundations and multi-national corporations.

      Seemingly we are toast as a nation and the necessary change will not come about until there’s blood running in the streets. The upcoming elections will simply provide a change of faces in D.C., but as soon as this new batch of crimpol wannabe’s land they’ll learn the ropes, land on key committees and within the relative blink of an eye, it will seem business as usual with them hatching evermore Byzantine, draconian legislation to further enslave us and to steal even more of our hard earned money through their endless stream of bogus ‘laws’.

      Carl Nemo **==

      • Almandine  October 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

        “The upcoming elections will simply provide a change of faces in D.C., but as soon as this new batch of crimpol wannabe’s land they’ll learn the ropes, land on key committees and within the relative blink of an eye, it will seem business as usual with them hatching evermore Byzantine, draconian legislation to further enslave us and to steal even more of our hard earned money through their endless stream of bogus ‘laws’. ”

        Get a new batch EVERY 2 years. At least their expertise will suffer to the point that fewer such laws will be passed. Somewhere along the line a new zeitgeist will take hold.

  5. Fivebyfives  October 5, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Mr. Nemo’s last paragraph sums up quite well what I believe is in the making, and also my greatest fears.

    To borrow from Paul Simon’s “The Boxer,” a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. I have no argument with those who rail against “big government,” even to the point of making it a cliche. But I do wonder why the same strong feelings are not raised against big business. Either way, the rights of the individual are eliminated for the sake of a few “at the top.”

    As a capitalist, I am astounded that over 40% of our GDP was occuring on one street in one city of this nation. This is not capitalism (though it’s fervently claimed to be) but a global plantation. The economic crisis that is here is not cyclical but systemic. Its effects on societal stability is enormous but is hidden by the opiates of red herrings constantly tossed into the crowd like red meat.

    In 1995 Michael Lind wrote about the “overclass.” It’s truer now than then, in that a small pinnacle of elites controls every agenda imaginable. As one who ascribes to the notion of historical chaos, these people in control will lose control, resulting in mayhem. In this country we assume that stability is assured, that everything can be solved through experts bred and trained within a school of thought that panders to the unwashed while simultaneously controlling them.

    A change of faces in Washington? It matters not. W.B. Yeats, in “The Second Coming” asks at the end, “what beast is this, slouching towards Bethlehem?” Nowadays it should be what beast slouches towards Washington? Oh wait, it’s already there, and quite comfortable, too.

    • Carl Nemo  October 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      “A change of faces in Washington? It matters not. W.B. Yeats, in “The Second Coming” asks at the end, “what beast is this, slouching towards Bethlehem?” Nowadays it should be what beast slouches towards Washington? Oh wait, it’s already there, and quite comfortable, too.” …extract from post

      Fivebyfives, when you both utilize and quote Yeats to make such a succinct point; it stills my heart. Beautifully expressed and “SPOT-ON” my friend in thought…! : |

      Carl Nemo **==

  6. Senegoid  October 5, 2010 at 7:49 am

    At present America, as Carl Nemo (hi) states, has evolved into a corporatist oligarchy – and the plebs don’t like it. Although many appear not to understand that the relationship between state and corporations is commonly known as fascism.

    All the plebs know is that something is rotten, the system is broken, and they want change; but change they can be a part of, change they can control. In short the plebs want a true democracy – a common wealth; while the corporate elites and their legislative marionettes play the divide and conquer game, all the while robbing the plebs blind. It’s all so predictable.

    This past decade has seen the relationship between government and corporations enable a massive fraud upon the American people, which has in turn infected the entire global financial matrix. We was robbed and there is more ugly stuff to come.

    The plebs have been left high and dry by their President and government.

    Why not take revenge where it hurts?

    At present there has been much publicity regarding mortgage fraud and the foreclosure process in relation to securitised mortgages, the following is one of many articles about same:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21285

    Having read the above it does beg the question: why would anyone who has a securatised mortgage keep paying, when the chain of title has been broken and the lender/s cannot be identified?

    This mess could take years to sort in which case all those who have foreclosures get to stay at home. By paying nothing they could save enough cash until (and if) they are evicted to buy a home free-hold; taking into account home prices still have further to drop in the US.

    If the punters played the game as a team then many could end up with a free-hold home, and in the process stuff up a lot of banks – that deserve a good stuffing.

    Of course this would put the fear of god into the government that should have been governing in the interests of the people rather than their corporate manipulators.

    Sadly many of the struggling punters will contunue to pay, for ethical reasons, which when dealing with corporations, and governments, is a somewhat useless pastime. After all they do lead us by example, don’t they?

    Anyway, it would appear many a struggling mortgagee, may be able to (with the right legal advice) stick it up their bank (and by default the government) should they so desire. The ramifications of such (unified) resistance would be diabolical, and would send a well deserved message to the powers that be.

    • Almandine  October 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      So it would appear you’re just another corporate oligarch in waiting…

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