Name about the only thing likely to change
ALG Editor's Note: America may have voted for change in 2008, but in 2009 not much at all will really changed, as noted by the following featured commentary:
By John Kass
5:03 PM CST, January 17, 2009
So we Americans mark the political liturgy in which we celebrate the exit of a president we've become tired of and the coronation of the cool new guy.
Much of it is predictable and the song remains the same: the sins of President George Bush, the promise of President-elect Barack Obama and, through it all, the media high priests for the Republicans and Democrats waft their incense over the faithful.
Republicans are worried once again about a gargantuan federal government. And Democrats, once so horrified of Republican federal excess, are themselves trembling, yearning to grab the levers and increase the size of the federal state even beyond the hopes of their GOP predecessors.
If you ask, they'll insist there are differences between them, and they'll trot out a legislator or two, or political consultants, or think tankers, to sit in those tiny boxes on TV and shout each other down.
But my late father, born in a small village in Greece, a committed anti-communist who loved this, his adopted country, would have seen through it. As a soldier who fought the Nazis and then the Stalinists, he understood the requirements of security and the cost of terror. Yet as an American entrepreneur in Chicago, he also understood the hammer of taxes and the mean-spirited, political nature of the bureaucrat.
If he were alive, he might watch the warring tribes of Democrats and Republicans and say they are two horns on the head of the same goat.
His son, American born, has witnessed the rise of the Republican Security State over the past eight years and sees the Democratic Nanny State about to increase itself even further.
I wouldn't see two horns on the head of the same goat.
I'd see two horns on the head of the same hungry federal leviathan.
It is possible that I could be completely wrong. I'll grant you that. And it is likely that without drinking the Democratic narcotic hopium or its Republican equivalent, dopium, that I'm suffering from some unknown withdrawal.
But it seems that all the party high priests and their archbishops are arguing about now is the leveraging of absolute federal power. Security State meets Nanny State. What's the difference?
All this as America moves further from the understanding of our founders, as the individual by definition becomes diminished, wafer-thin, as the federal state grows increasingly obese.
Naturally, this makes many of us uncomfortable, so we find solace in our tribalism. According to a Drudge Report post last week of a Newsbusters.org story, the partisan blinders—at least in the media—remain secure.
Four years ago, the report noted, The Associated Press ripped into the inauguration festivities for Bush's second term as horribly excessive. The AP moaned that the $40 million blown by the Republicans for Bush should have been spent instead on Humvees for American troops in Iraq.
Yet what Newsbusters found the other day is that the AP and other media have a new standard now, what with a liberal Democrat about to assume the White House. "For Inaugural Balls, go for glitz, forget economy," read a recent headline on an AP story quoting an excited fashionista.
"Just because the economy is in a downturn, it doesn't mean that style is going to be in a downturn," said the fashionista, from a major department store chain.
No mention of Humvees.
Spend, baby, spend. And dance.
Yet is it news that reporters who cover politics in America lean to the left and guzzle hopium and expect Obama to feed the multitudes on the National Mall on Tuesday with two McFish sandwiches and five loaves of whole grain?
No. Not anymore.
So Republicans will seize upon this as evidence of their righteousness and yammer about media bias, arguing that without such bias, outgoing President Bush would have been the Harry Truman of our time.
While Truman was a cold warrior, he would have blanched at the prospect of wholesale wiretapping and security cameras, every American traceable on the grid. So much for freedom.
Now Republican elites are reaching for their stash of lotus fruit, chewing them stems and all, desperate to forget, particularly their own orgy of federal spending to purchase support for the war in Iraq, their role in the departing president's political wretchedness secure in the history books.
And Democrats, now on their hopium with Obama of Chicago and the reforms they think will come with the Daley machine having a pipeline to the White House, expecting more federal health care, more federal schools, more federal this, more federal that. If we run out of money, don't worry, let's party and print some more.
Neither side is willing to see that they're so very much alike. The leviathan grows, horns and all.
And the two sides, Republican and Democrat, unleash their high priests to fight for what they've always fought for. Not ideas, not really, and certainly not the freedom of the individual.