They had so much hope, so much hype and so much promise for change, this new Congress of 2008 when they swept into power two years ago with Barack Obama at the helm and a trustful nation behind them.

Now, with time running out, with so little accomplished and so little consensus, the bitter Congress that can do has become the petty, little legislative body that can’t — a mere shadow of itself running hither and yon as time runs out and the great mantle of hope is reduced to the ashes of political reality.

In reality, we expected too much of a novice president and a collection of political extremists with narrow-focused agendas and a gridlocked mentality. Governing is a black art of deal-making and Satanist coalitions and neither appears possible in today’s winner–take all mentality.

As an overburdened lame duck Congress winds toward a new year that promises even more chaos, the government of the once-great United States of America careens down a path of self-charted self-destruction, united only by mutual greed and a no-return path of disarray, disassociation and dysfunction.

Rationality — if such an arcane concept actually existed in the American political system — becomes a mythical parody of competing Man of LaMancha stories, scuttled by an impossible dream of political cohesion fanned by windmills of impossible philosophical dreams . Our hero fights not just an impossible concept but also an inevitable reality.

At one time, perhaps, such fights against impossible odds helped pull a nation together.

Now they just complete the task of driving it apart.

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Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and taking photos full-time at his hometown paper, becoming the youngest full-time reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 1965 and spent most of the past 55+ years covering news around the country and the globe. After a short sabbatical as a political operative in Washington in the 1980s, he returned to the news profession in 1992. Today, he is a contract reporter/photojournalist for BHMedia and owns Capitol Hill Blue and other news websites.