Election Day has come and gone, and still the world looks pretty much the same. That is not an entirely bad thing. Anymore than it’s a bad thing the same old sun came up over Chicago in the same old way it always has.
You see, for all the charisma that attaches itself to the words “new” and “change,”there is always the comfort that accompanies the words “old” and “the same.” It’s the ageless swing of the pendulum of life from Change on one end to Continuity on the other.
There are times in American politics when the pendulum swings wildly from one extreme to the other; only rarely does it seem to settle right smack in the middle. But here, this day after, is where it may have settled. Not mathematically or ideologically perfect, but with just enough Right & Left votes to neutralize the extremists who would either push or pull the pendulum to the gritty extremes of their choice.
The pundits call this “gridlock,” but the Founding Fathers smartly anticipated gridlock. More than that they invented it…! They recognized that unlike traditional countries which housed the same ethnic populations, ours was going to be an experimental hodgepodge of all different populations.
Henceforth, the only alternative to the old rule-by-king would have to be the new rule-by-majority. Which in turn meant figuring out how no minority could too easily manipulate its way into becoming an overwhelming majority. Which in turn led to our gridlocked system of checks-and-balances. You know, the ingenious American way everyone in the system gets a vote or a veto or a court decision by which they can stop or slow the system.
Gridlock has made for some bitter accusations over the generations like “Do Nothing Congress,” “Dictator President,” “Unconstitutional Court.” What’s funny is each frustrated accuser looks to the very same system to justify their frustrations with the system. Something like the two coaches on the sideline arguing the pass-interference call from the same rule book.
And so my fellow citizens ask not we have just voted in [ Change or Continuity ]. We have voted in just enough of each to keep that pendulum from swinging totally off course as it has done so many other nations. Instead, we are once more gridlocked to the extent that the wing-nuts on neither extreme can shove the pendulum too far their way.
If this midterm result sounds pretty dull, well yeah…dull as in avoiding too many crazies in office so that just maybe a few visionaries in office can now make a difference.
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