Observing the presidential reprobates attempt to sway the swing vote in three tries, it occurs to me there is an election on. For some reason, people all over seem to think it matters a lot this year.
I think last Wednesday’s debate said it all before it even started. The matching suits, shirts and ties spoke for themselves.
It is curious that the Republicans want to stay in office so badly. If they were smart (and some are suggesting James Baker is), the GOP would want to hightail it out of Washington in January 2005, leaving the mess created by young George and his team of repugnantly greedy and supercilious idiot savants to the Democrats.
The debt ceiling’s busted again. Is this only an annual event, or is it monthly? The baby boomers continue to retire in droves and complain more and more loudly, the working class demographic has never been more tired of carrying the water, and the young people have got wind of a draft that while denied to high heaven by Republicans, smells that way all the same.
The "turning away" of Cat Stevens on an airplane from England for no logical reason seems at odds with the free entry apparently still available at thousands of points along the Mexican and Canadian borders. Challenges to the Patriot Act, from constitutional advocates and people just plain angry about it, will comprise a rousing cacophony in the next four years.
But that’s not all! American productivity, strangled by bad policy mounted upon worse policy has not kept pace with the U.S. Treasury’s hyper-active presses. Oil prices have become discombobulated from the 40 plus years of the American military price control program. Further, the euro has become an amazing popular currency for many central banks, and that ought to tell us something about the almighty dollar. China is still buying our debt, looking almost charitable as they write the checks.
The next presidential administration will pay the bill (or die trying) for the current administration’s domestic stupidity and its abhorrent lack of fiscal discipline. George W. Bush, never known for his personal courage, has surprised even his fans with his deathly fear of the veto.
The next administration will pay the bill by drawing on taxes that are becoming harder and harder to collect. While the wealthiest, under either Bush or Kerry, won’t feel the pinch too badly, an important ramification of the swelling ranks of the retired and underemployed is the reduction of income, social security and sales tax receipts. Many under-employed are only "officially" under-employed, but we can’t tax cash we don’t know about. Others choose under-employment and have permanently scaled back consumption. Still others are unhappy with their under-employment, but can do little about it. Ayn Rand mused in Atlas Shrugged that the best and brightest would simply remove themselves and their talents from a life asphyxiated by the governmental grip on pocketbooks, speech and actions, thus collapsing the socialist redistribution system. Perhaps it won’t happen so dramatically. Or perhaps Rand simply underestimated the number of heroes, and misread their identity.
The next administration will suffer increasing citizen complaints about the increasingly annoying Department of Homeland Security. Tiger Woods failed "to submit an arrival notice four days in advance" and thus suffered the consequences. Why not make it five days, or six or ten to be on the safer side? Does that count weekends, or just government duty days? In any case, the next administration will need to build even more prisons, what with all those Martha Stewart-style crimes of embarrassing federal agents and a potentially unrepentant Tiger running around.
I haven’t even mentioned the next administration’s nightmares regarding what to do in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran, and how to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, North Korea, the EU and Russia. The problems with central planning are compounded exponentially when one attempts to go beyond national boundaries and inflict such fantasy upon the world. The current administration worships at the central planning altar. That the next one will too goes without saying.
I heard Sean Hannity on the radio say just yesterday that he wanted his audience to hear from some of those people who would be "canceling out their votes." No, he wasn’t bringing on the CEO of Diebold! He was referring to folks voting against Bush/Cheney ’04.
Sadly, Republicans and Democrats don’t cancel out each other’s vote. If they could, a third party non-establishment candidate might inherit the impossible mess these parties have so creatively constructed over so many decades. While Mike Badnarik and Mike Peroutka may want that, I like what they stand for too much to wish it on them. Better that we all — through small choices and daily actions — support their message and do our own individual part to break the Leviathan.
One ought to participate in this democracy keeping the wisdom of H.L. Mencken foremost, specifically "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
There is a lot to worry about, no doubt. But it seems to me that the answer to the question of what to do on November 2nd, and every other day in America is clear. We must strive, in all ways, to be simply and spectacularly uncommon.
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com. She’s voting for Badnarik in November, as a matter of principle.