26 June 2016

The "big man," or Counsel

One of the effects of chemotherapy I find, is a feeling of general weakness. This probably explains both the infrequency, and brevity of my posts over the last 3 of so months. Add in the time the cancer took to develop and manifest, and we are back quite a ways. A writer, any writer, needs to feel well. During the time I was ill, America has changed as the primary and caucus season has played out.

There is a well known albeit perhaps fictional story of the day the Founders announced the proposed new Constitution of the United States. A lady in the crowd is said to have asked Ben Franklin, "What sort of government have you given us, a monarchy, a confederation?" Franklin is said to have replied, "A republic madam, if you can keep it." A true story or not, it is apt, and Franklin seems to have told it himself in later years.

Lincoln at Gettysburg, framed the issue this way. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.1" Keeping a republic is neither simple task nor one with assured success.

Republics can be lost. Republics have enemies.

There are reasons why republics have enemies. Republics have citizens: period. When a republic has a set of citizens who stand above or outside its equality, the society seeks to correct the situation, sometimes violently. So we have the Terror in France, the many European revolutions of 1848, the American Civil War, and the Revolutions of what became the Soviet Union. Sometimes the republic fails, as it did in Germany and the Soviet Union. As the fate of the "Third Reich" shows, such losses can be fleeting. There is in the story of Germany a cautionary tale for Mr. Putin.

Enemies of republics have to offer an alternative vision of the world. One is the great man fraud. The Romans lost their republic because they fell into the idea of the Counsel / Dictator. This was great man who could in time of great need dictate outcomes and rule, temporarily. When the Republic ran into a man named Caesar and named him Counsel, its life was over. When Germany decided it needed a Fuhrer, destruction and fire were its fate. But none-the-less, the idea of the great man persists. It is especially persistent among those who think they because of some trait, should be the upper class and are clearly not.

Beginning in Iowa, we Americans have been in the process of selecting a new president. At its best, when the selection process is working as a part of the republic, the contests are between competing visions of how government should be focused. A republic in fact requires competition between ideas, what a former president famously once called, "the vision thing." It is precisely in what Jefferson called, after the French, "the marketplace of ideas."

On one side, the democrats, that has been a description of the contest. As the race has progressed, Mrs. Clinton, who has won, has moved towards the progressive side of the street, as the marketplace has worked its function. While Sen. Sanders for whom I voted, did not win, his ideas have changed the focus and raised serious issues.

The other major party has been engaged not in a contest of ideas and visions, but in a sorting process. The question not what the vision is, but rather who was the great leader. Somehow, and no I do not understand how, Mr. Trump blustered and bullied himself through the sorting. The GOP is much too fractured to offer a vision of the future. "Repeal Obama-care" is neither a vision nor a program. Mr. Trump's horrible wall idea is not either.

We face the coming conventions knowing the outcomes. The main interest in the conventions will be how progressive the Sanders effect will drive the Democrat platform on the one hand, and what of Mr. Trump's ideas (consider the "wall") will be in the Republican platform.

After the conventions, here is what I think will happen. Consider before you count on this however, that as a predictor, I thought Mr. Trump would be gone before my cancer. In any event, I think Mr. Trump will have something of a tough time finding a vice-presidential, "running mate." I think he will cap out at about 40% of the electorate, with some very odd looking polls. This because I think those who have bought into the great leader idea will project onto him their own ideas. I expect Mr. Trump's support to be shallow, much broader than deep. At the end of the day, I think Mrs. Clinton will win.

I hope this set of projections is closer than my repeated expectation that Republican voters might come to their senses. If we fall into the false hope of the great leader, the republic Franklin gave us to keep will be in grave danger.

1 The Gettysburg Address, A. Lincoln


Anonymous said...

Cautionary tale for mr putin?!
don't you see a tale for American's?
The Nasdap is a cause for war long afrter their defeat! if you need to bring up WW2 I guess you are already concedeaing what ever argument you are making.
You refuse to discuss WW2 as a cautionary tale for americans?
What about americans who fallow ileagle orders? AND GET PAID FOR IT! should they not be judged for what they have done?
this post makes NO sence as a cautionary tale for RUSSIA. Why wont you look in the mirror. its US not THEM.
WHEN we see NASDAP everywhere we are doing the warmongers work for them.
Russia is not threating my freedom.
americans who fallow illeagle orders are not protecting my freedom from anything. they are the only actual threat to it.
Donald trump is a pro-wrestler. He uses stunt actors at his rallies. I am more worried about jesse ventura than Donny T

JimB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JimB said...

Revised 10 July 16
I often write offline and then move the text here. Somehow that process went wrong with the response. Here is the post with some corrections.

Jim said...
"Cautionary tale for mr putin?!
don't you see a tale for American's?"

I confess I do not see your point? My point was that Mr. Putin's actions I think, have to potential to if they have not already to suborn the Russian republic. He may well succeed at that, but nature has a way of reacting to that sort of "success." I do not see how, unless we think or Mr. Trump's apparent contempt for the separation of powers concept as a similar attack on the republic , where a comparison might be found? Your comments on soldiers and WWII simply make no sense. Similarly, your comment that I "refuse to discuss" is a non-starter.

I think you have again misread my post.


St Laika's

Click to view my Personality Profile page