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“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it,” American philosopher George Santayana wrote in his Life of Reason.
A simpler way of putting it is that life is cyclical.
We see it in the seasons. Day to night and back again. In the unrelenting, returning tides. But we tend to dismiss that as only nature – and so, ignoring it, we miss that that other nature, human nature, keeps returning endlessly, as well, in its own cycles.
People do tend to forget history. Some never learned it in the first place. Some have short attention spans. There is a price to pay.
Because eventually, history comes around again. And if you neglect it, you get stuck in the same spiral, never advancing, defenseless as the lessons of history wash over you time and again.
The future, however, is even more far-reaching. That’s why its companion mantra is: “This too shall pass.” Because history shows us it always does.
Democrats took a big hit in the mid-term elections. Subsequently we’ve seen the hubris of short-sightedness twist reality into proclaiming the reasons: the repudiation of liberal programs. A dismissal of President Barack Obama. A mandate for the Far Right.
All of it ignoring history. Ignoring that in mid-term elections, the minority party traditionally makes gains. Ignoring that during horrible economic depression, angry people will further grasp at any change to resolve their hurt. Ignoring that people complain more when assistance hasn’t gone far enough, not because they want less. Ignoring that President Obama’s favorability has risen, to 54-40%. Ignoring that when there is a drought, people will follow the stranger who comes into town and says, “I can make it rain!”
Ignoring that the GOP’s very big victory still wasn’t big enough to win the Senate.
And most of all, ignoring that when the false-prophets don’t make it rain because they can’t, the people run them out of town.
A mere two years ago, Democrats swept into Congress to fix eight disastrous years of George Bush and Republican policies. And when Republicans blocked Democratic efforts on behalf of the “Will of the People” so inflexibly that ills didn’t get fixed as deeply as they should, the American public voted many Democrats out.
After just two years. Of opposition blockage.
Anyone who thinks it won’t happen again is not only forgetting history, but they are forgetting yesterday. Fooling themselves that it can’t happen in two years – even though it just did.
Forgetting that history says it must. Because when the rainmaker doesn’t make it rain during a drought, We the People run them out of town.
And the far right direction Republican Party has moved, the far right people who the GOP has built its foundation upon to make it rain – can’t make it rain. It’s who they are. It’s what they campaigned on.
Republican candidates campaigned on fixing the disastrous economy. But their party’s own policies – which Republican Speaker-to be John Boehner pledged will not be “any different ” – are what created the meltdown. Policies that caused a problem cannot resolve it.
Republican candidates campaigned on eliminating Social Security and Medicare. But these are the two most-popular programs in America. If they succeed, they face the wrath of the general public. If they fail, they face the wrath of their supporters.
Republican candidates (particularly from the Koch-sponsored “Tea Party” wing) campaigned angrily against budget deficits – and for tax cuts. Yet it was Republicans under George Bush who turned a $128 billion surplus into the $482 billion deficit. And tax cuts will only deepen that.
Republicans campaigned on cutting spending. But history shows that in the last 70 years, there have been six administrations when the national debt increased – and all were Republican presidents. Under George Bush, the national debt doubled from $5.7 trillion to $11 trillion.
Republican “Tea Party” candidates campaigned against special interest entitlements corrupting America, yet Big Corporation interests are the foundation of the party they now represent. And are funded by.
Republican candidates campaigned against government and career politicians – but now they are the politicians, and have to make government work. Yet history shows that the GOP changed how Congress works by requiring a 60-vote supermajority to pass anything important in the Senate. Republicans are nowhere close to 60 votes. And so, by their own tactics they will be unable to change anything. And the anger people feel at Congress today will continue. At them.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said, the “single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” By necessity therefore the Republican agenda must block anything that benefits the nation, which benefits the nation’s leader. And the anger at Congress – at them – will grow.
Republican House leader John Boehner has said, “We will not compromise our principles” Yet the only way bills pass in Congress is by compromise. So, either Republicans don’t compromise, and fail to accomplish anything – or they compromise their “principles” and enrage their supporters.
And for all of this failure, which history shows must occur, they will by definition becomes the “bums” they campaigned against and wanted thrown out.
It’s easy to scare people. But history shows fear never lasts. Either people keep getting scared until they explode at those who can’t protect them. Or they get over it – and become furious at those who frightened them.
After all, history shows that it was a Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who said, “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
This too shall pass. History shows it. And those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.