This election cycle has to be the most disgusting election that I have witnessed in my lifetime. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in that feeling. Be that as it may it has given me a chance to learn something from the observation of it.
If we were to just set ourselves apart from the fray for awhile and survey the reasons why people vote for other people we would find that there are a lot of combinations of smaller reasons to choose a candidate or oppose one. A lot of them are ridiculous. For example; he’s black, he has funny hair, he is a woman, he put his dog on his car, he fixed an ice skating rink, he said something stupid or rude, etc. There is an endless supply of those. Some are kind of nice in people, in general, and some aren’t, but none show any kind of qualification or disqualification to be president. Even if the candidate is a very successful businessman it isn’t a qualification for high office in my way of thinking. Congressman, possibly, but president? No.
So for now I’m going to brush aside these kinds of arguments without any thought other than to classify them as “Trivial Issues,” just so I have a place to put them in my mind. Most of them fall into the line of thinking that causes a society to enter into a kind of cult of personality; never a very good thing for choosing a leader.
After we’ve thrown out the above Trivial Issues and thus separated the wheat from the chaff, to some degree, we would notice a lot of issues come to the surface. What do we do about: The boarders? Social Security? National security? The budget? Healthcare? Gay marriage? Welfare? The military? Economic policy? Taxes? Energy? Education? Gun rights? Global warming? Terrorism? Immigration? Abortion? Trade policy? International relations? There are more I’m certain but I think you get the idea of what I’m talking about so there is no need to list them all here.
Most of these issues are as old as mankind itself and the permutations and applications of the various issues as they intersect with our society, along with people’s imaginations in applying them could, in political theory, spawn a seemingly infinite number of political parties created to support the various combinations of them. That is to say, each candidate has his own thoughts on what to do about all of the political issues and no two of them match. Even within a single party, the Republicans for example, one wants to “this” about Social Security, the other wants to do “that” and the rest of the seventeen who ran for the nomination want to do something else. One wants to do “this” about taxes, the other wants to do “that” about them and the rest all want to do something different. Even when you look at the party platform and compare the candidates most of them have some really strong violations of it, both in present time and historically. This is the cause of the disunity of the Republican Party and why many who support it, or formerly supported it, feel so betrayed.
So we have issues, issues, issues, issues, issues and issues, all across the political spectrum. Everybody feels different about them enough to fight over them and as a group the political right can’t unify in support of a single candidate. The party splits itself, starts in with the name calling, enter the Trivial Issues, and the left wins again.
I’m a big fan of the United States Military and like to study history, especially involving war, so I’m going to use a military/war-time analogy to explain this.
The two most basic and likely most used words in the military are strategy and tactics. They are very important words to understand for people who plan to win a war. If a nation’s wartime policy and planning is deficient in either of them the result is that they lose, unless, of course, the other side’s is worse.
Strategy, according to the Encarta Dictionary in my word processor is: “MILITARY the science or art of planning and conducting a war or a military campaign.” This is a big picture plan to achieve a specifically stated goal. “To free Europe from Hitler’s military forces,” is a specifically stated goal. The strategy to accomplish that would be the broad plans to achieve that goal. “First we invade Africa and chase his forces off that continent. Then we limit his ability to resupply his war efforts by using the Navy to control the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. We do this by operating out of England to defeat German Naval forces. We also take Sicily and Italy to establish force on the continent and further cut off access to the Mediterranean. Then we invade France …” Strategy is all very big picture stuff designed to accomplish the purpose of the war.
Tactics, as defined by the same dictionary, are: “the science of organizing and maneuvering forces in battle to achieve a limited or immediate goal.” An example of an immediate goal would be the taking of the various beaches in the amphibious assault of Normandy. “This kind of troops for Utah beach, that kind for Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The troops for Utah will be equipped with these weapons, the troops for Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword will have those. They will be landed using this kind of landing craft. They will be supported by this kind of naval force. Each force of invasion troops will have this or that specific objective …” Tactics are all specific, local items required to win a particular battle. They don’t have much consideration as to the overall objectives of the war beyond that specific battle and how to win it. Tactics can be as small as Buck Private Smith in hand to hand combat with German Private Jerry Sauerkraut fighting over three square feet of ground at its smallest. At its largest, in this example, it would never go beyond the Invasion of Normandy. Tactics would never properly include the defining of the overall goals of the war, or the strategy, outside of the fact that this battle is necessary to the accomplishment of the ultimate goal of defeating the enemies of America.
The thing to realize about tactics is that in order for them to work there has to be a specific strategy designed to achieve a specific goal in order for them to be coordinated enough to work at all. Without that strategy and ultimate goal to coordinate the tactics an army could, in theory, win almost every battle and still lose the war. You could have the best troops, with the best equipment and the best training and still put them in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. They would be surrounded, cut off, captured, or killed without the correct strategy to coordinate their movements with each other and keep them supplied.
There is a parallel to the application of goals, strategy and tactics in politics. Goals are goals in either war or politics. They are still a specific statement of what you wish to achieve in the end. What in wartime would be called strategy converts in politics to principles. The political equivalent to tactics would be the issues which the American People are so often concerned with and their attention is focused upon.
This is why the Republicans are experiencing so much disunity. That they could have seventeen major candidates with no two of them holding similar views on all of the most popular issues is both more and better evidence to support my suppositions than I could ever have concocted in my own mind.
There are no coordinating principles or goals. It’s all issues, issues, issues, issues, issues and issues. Even the platform is just a list of issues that they support and oppose with little reason or explanation as to why each issue is supported or opposed ever being talked about. That everybody feels different about them all, typically without ever exploring why, turns the whole organization into a fractured mass of wishy-washy Jell-O that seems unable to accomplish any long term goal or strategy.
Well to me, at any rate, life is pretty simple. I’ve reduced the entirety of politics down to only two principles. I’ve done this out of the realization that really there are only two possible options. The government can either be a big one out of our control or a little one under our control. That is really all there is two it. There is no other option regardless of all of the combined issues.
The underlying principle of the United States Constitution (at least up to the 12th Amendment) is based on one idea. That single idea can be technically and philosophically expressed as, “The more dependent you are on other people, the less individual freedom you can have.”
For example if you go to work in the morning and punch the time clock you give your time to the owners of the company and are dependent on them for the compensation by which you seek to support the lives of you and your family. You have thus entered a state of dependency with your employer and so are subject in exchange for that support to his rules. You have sacrificed your freedom over the management of your time because of that dependency. While you are on the company’s time and property you are expected to behave in a certain way and towards a certain end; not all of which you will agree with. However if you own the company yourself your rules and freedoms are at your own determinism and the success or failure of your company depends only on your efforts and decisions.
Throwing out the technical and philosophical terminology this concept, in political terms, can be more easily expressed as, “Less government equals more fun.” These two seemingly dissimilar statements connect at the philosophical level because of the factors involved in dependency. We have become so dependent on the federal government that we can no longer be free.
Believe it or not, that is the fundamental principle of the United States Constitution. Every Article, Section, Clause and Amendment, prior to the 13th Amendment, supports that simple idea. How do we, as States united in a common support agreement, create just the right amount of government at the federal level to protect us, hold us together and support each other, without at the same time creating a monster so big we can’t control it and thus lose our freedoms? In terms that are more expressive and entertaining; how do we keep the federal government from turning into Frankenstein’s Monster and running out of control?
The Democrats have a specific and universal goal. Nobody can make it within the party unless they instinctively agree to it. That goal is to create a tyranny of big government through which they can exercise total control over every aspect of our lives, from what we do with our money for our retirement to what kind of cars we drive, how we raise our children, even what kind of light bulbs we can buy, who we can marry, etc. Their stance on healthcare alone proves this. If the medical treatment of our own bodies is subject to federal regulation how can there be any control of the People over the government?
We now have the argument against the Republicans that they have no plan for federal government healthcare. That is as it should be. We also have within the Republican party large groups of people who think Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with something better. These are the people who are missing the point in just the same way as if Eisenhower’s commander over Utah Beach had the idea that the war should be won but the commander over Omaha Beach thought the war should be lost. The problem here in other words is really simple. There is no coordinating principle in operation between the two. Just as Ike should have, and did, appoint commanders who both wanted to defeat the Germans the Republicans should appoint only politicians who want to defeat the Democrat’s concept of big government tyranny.
Because the defining goal of limited federal power has been lost or forgotten and the strategy (principles) aren’t defined, the tactics (issues) all turn into a disorganized mess and the party falls apart and fails.
“A limited federal government in accordance with the United States Constitution,” would be a goal for the opposition of the Democrats. The general overall principles (strategy) of a party in opposition to the Democrats should be, “the elimination of all federal power not specified within the Constitution.” Then, and only then, will the issues (tactics) all be in alignment so the correct battles in the war for our freedoms can be properly determined, coordinated and won.
It all comes down to having the goals and principles with which to defeat the out of control federal government and having them well defined, articulated and taught at the grass roots level. Once that happens I think most thinking people would realize that most of the issues being discussed in this election should properly have nothing to do with the federal government.
Less government equals more fun. Until this is realized in the American public the only choice we will have is; which of the two out of control big government parties do we want to rule over us?