Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't Get All Papa Smurf On Me

I'm not really sure what that means. It's something I said in a dream. I have to assume it means someone was getting paternalistic and patronizing with me. And seeing as I am fundamentally recalcitrant, I didn't cotton well to this.

Speaking of which, I've noted a lot of election event editorials about how "The Left Doesn't 'Get' The Tea Party". About how the Left is alarmed and fearful of a party that, message parsed down, no honest, Means Well.

Hey, Don't Get All Papa Smurf On Me.

You lookin' out for yourself, teabaggers. Not me. Not the nation. Your own interests. How do I know? Because you say you are the inheritors of the mantle of the founding fathers. Because you call yourself patriots. Because you call yourself a party.

Oh, you who never learn history.

Let me tell you what the founding fathers they would think of the Tea Party Patriot movement. They would be gravely disappointed. The founding fathers would look at these soft, fat, pampered pink apes and shake their heads in disgust.

How do I know this? Because that's they thought about post-revolutionary America. They were gravely disappointed in it. How do I know this? They wrote about it. To one degree or another, they were ashamed and dismayed by what America had become. The revolutionaries, from James Warren and Samuel Adams to David Ramsay, Light-Horse Harry Lee, Christopher Gadsden, Thomas Jefferson had all lost faith in the revolution.

Benjamin Rush: "We are indeed a bebanked, bewhiskied, and bedollared nation". Democracy in America "will certainly fail".

John Adams, bewailing the results of the revolution, including the commodification of democracy, the religious revivals and Bible societies of "the bigoted and superstitious", wrote "Where is now, the progress of the human mind? When? Where ? and How? is the present Chaos to be arranged in Order?"

The founding fathers found it difficult to accept that their fate now rested in "the opinions and votes of a small-souled and largely unreflective ordinary people".

George Washington  himself, at the end of his life, had lost all hope for democracy in America. Party spirit, he said in 1799, had destroyed the influence of good character in politics. One could as well "set up a broomstick as candidate", "call it a true Son of Liberty", and it would "command their votes in toto".

Ouch! What would they think of us tiny-brained moderns? Especially those who, living in comparative paradise, complain so frequently and readily.

And who is to blame? Well, one significant part would  be the formation of political parties. The modern political party, a permanent institution to which loyalty to becomes the sole criterion of political worth, goes back to Martin van Buren - the first modern professional politician. Van Buren had no fame, no fortune, no military record, no reputation of achievement, no charisma. He was barely known throughout the United States. What he did do was build the best and most organized political party the nation had ever seen. van Buren's Democratic-Republican party, soon to be shortened to the Republican party*, won him the election.

I deem it no small coincidence that Martian van Buren is classified by historians as the worst president ever. No small accomplishment that. It seems the designation stems from the fact that, during the Panic of 1837, van Buren refused to regulate the banks that defrauded the American people. What else? How about the Trail of Tears?

Partisan politics. The flesh eating bacteria of the American dream.

*(Update 10/28/10) this should read the Democratic Party rather than Republican. I admit my error rather than engage in weasel revisionist editting.

1 comment:

  1. "Party spirit, he said in 1799, had destroyed the influence of good character in politics"

    It hasn't gotten any better, has it?

    I do enjoy reading you viewpoints...Thanks