When the Democrats Failed to Attend the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Be it right or left, we are living in a delusional society.  Both groups harbor  a near religious belief in the possibility of quick fixes to long term problems.   This  delusional act of piety may be a result of mass media and fifty years of programming where our celluloid heroes solve even in the greatest problems of the world in one hour and forty-three minutes.   We believe in this, as our video games and pundits explain there are simple solutions to complex problems.

The quick fix epidemic stands in direct conflict to all things scientific or logical.  In  the modern and allegedly developed age,  there  is a definite leaning toward holistic medicine.  Holistic belief is that no single ailment stands alone but is the consequence of various causes and effects, a chain reaction of one part of our  physical system malfunctioning or being deprived of nutrients or chemicals and then causing other parts of our body to shut down, resulting in subsequent disease.   Many people buy into this, as they should.  It is logical. It is a sound approach.

But when it comes to things like economics or foreign and domestic policies,  the holistic approach goes out the window.   To put it mildly, things just ain’t that simple.  As a nation, we screwed up big time.  Nevertheless, in keeping with our post-modern traditions, we are honor bound to  simplify complexity so that we can find solace in blaming someone else for the little things in life,  like the general breakdown of society.   Rather than seek opportunity, we would rather explain our mistakes.  Sadly, this is the case with the Democratic Party.

The hard right, the Tea Party, certain clusters of Independents, and all those associated partners  has been viewed by the Democratic left largely as a bunch of ignorant racists.   According to the pundits and critics who grace our air waves with their sage-like wisdom,  this rising tide of voter unrest was for them confusing and obnoxious, an aberration on the national landscape.  Rather than perceive the development of the Tea Party and other militant groups  through the context of historical precedent, they took refuge in labeling them hate mongers acting out in their own worst interests, declaring their stupidity in loud and simple terms.   By and large there was nary the remotest attempt to perceive the militant right as possessing any bona fide roots in American History.  First, that would require actually knowing history.  A tough call, these days.  A quick glance and to some extent you can associate the Tea Party  as at least a partial descendant of the Jackson administration.  No, not Michael.   Andrew Jackson.  That guy, on the twenty dollar bill who introduced to a bunch of rowdy Americans the kind of populist ethic that for a century has been forever lauded as “Jacksonian Democracy.”  There are other historical examples of such uncomfortable populist outbursts, but we will leave it go for the moment with Jackson.

Instead of embracing this group in some symbiotic fashion, the Democrats chose to ignore it or subject it to ridicule.  This was the Democrats’ great mistake.  For in their ignorance, the Democratic Party systematically failed to acknowledge at least part of the anger out there as legitimate and with cause.   Instead of  paying lip service  to the general rage and offering tepid assurances to people had suffered grievous humiliation, the Democrats had the rare chance to galvanize that anger and direct it with purpose.   Instead, the nascent Tea Party types were abandoned and left to their own devices.  That anger that could have been directed  effectively toward the  perpetrators of economic debacle, those culpable of costing these people their houses, jobs, and dignity,  the Democrats dropped the ball.   They stood by with muddled doctrine while the this angry mob was co-opted  by the very perpetrators of the economic debacle.  There is some irony for you.   And some absolute tactical and strategical stupidity.  It is akin to letting the guy who mugged you talk you into lynching the sheriff.

Many critics will point to the racism and the narrow thought, claiming they couldn’t embrace the tea baggers or whatever because there just weren’t our kind.    No doubt the racism was there.   No doubt there are disconnects and a consuming defiance of logic, where Tea Party leaders can pronounce any variety of insane and inane statements and swear that they are true.  They are indeed a hostile mob, messy and funky, and a long way from politically correct.   They are volatile and rough, not the first people who you would expect to recycle.  They are a crude group who often say what they want and think in ways that is far from keeping what we call polite society.  They are blunt and many of them have spelling issue..  And sometimes they are bat shit crazy.

But these are the people.  These are the people the Democrats claim to represent.  The people.  The motley bunch of Wal-Martians who suck down on the  double big gulp and  revel in bad taste.   These are people who are often overweight and undereducated.  They know little of fashion, fine dining, and have at best read only Cliff’s Notes on the Kama Sutra.   They can be funny and caring, and they can damn annoying.   They are white, mostly, and what Quixotic powers they possess in ruling the world is administered from a LA-Z-Boy.

Nevertheless, these are the people.  These are the people the Party of the People claims to represent.  They are not just the poor but the working people.  The working class or middle class who seldom gripe and whose anger goes unseen until it reaches the boiling point.   These are the people where the Party of the People failed to get its message across.  All that mumbling and hemming and hawing, terms about public option and rebooting the country didn’t go over too well.  Better to them that some idiot stood up and made some absurd statements in a clear voice that were embedded in neither fact or logic.  At least they said it clearly.  At least they were there, pissed off and unafraid to couch that sentiment.

The Democrats failed to see this group as a valuable resource.    They failed to sweep them up and redirect that anger.   The Democrats failed to make examples of those who betrayed the public trust and committed financial malfeasance, which in this case meant those who stole hope and dreams, along with life savings, jobs, and retirement portfolios.   The Democrats could have imposed draconian penalties on those who outsourced jobs, who could have threatened companies, as Roosevelt did in the Great Depression, with criminal and civil ass to threat investigation, if they did not financially step up to the plate.

Instead of handing out food stamps and welfare, the Democrats could have retooled the factories.  Yes the investment may result in losses ,  but then working people would be returning at least some of the financial investment that was wasted in government give aways  by renovating the infrastructure and retooling the factories.   In short, they could have showed these people they were doing something for them.  Something tangible. . They could have made believers out of them, as the old Democratic Party did back in the time when it didn’t deem itself too principled  to slug it out with the opposition on the public stage or back alley.   When twisting arms demonstrated that the Democratic Party was indeed the Party of the People.  Hell, if I can think of this, why couldn’t they?

Instead, the Democratic Party makes its excuses.  They try to explain this coming debacle at the polls by claiming they didn’t have enough time, and what was their President to do, wave a magic wand?   What were they to do when the nasty old Republicans were so recalcitrant, obstructing them at every turn?  After all, they were well intentioned and really thought they tried, and doesn’t that count for something?

No.  We are a results oriented society.  The excuses and the policy may resonate with a receding base, and  some of the arguments may even be true and reasonable.   But they don’t hold water.  The Democratic Party came into power knowing they had a short window of opportunity with a population with a limited attention span and the sophistication that struggles with the exigencies of economics and foreign policy.    They came into power on promises of big change and a new way of doing things.  They promised a fresh new start.  They delivered day old bread.

Two years later, the argument that they saved the country from complete disaster may have credibility.  With some.  The believers.  Others wonder why unemployment is still the same, and why small businesses play hell with getting loans.  Why banks are failing and factories are closing with the remaining nine jobs in this country going offshore.  Why Wall Street operates as it always had and awards itself bonuses for economic failure

That motley group out there, be it the Tea Party or just the people trying to make a buck; they were the Democrats for the asking.   Would they have won them all over to their side?  Probably not.  But they could have diluted Republican co-option and retained more of the  more erratic independent voters then they have at present.   The Democrats had to reach out and in plain language make clear the game plan.  In fact, they had to have a game plan, clear, concise and most importantly put in motion.  Here, this is how we are going to help yourself.  Whether they ate with their hand and soiled the furniture, they were…an opportunity.  As so many of the pop pundits are fond of saying…in any crisis there was opportunity.  Well, here was opportunity for you,  legions of it, chomping down on a bologna sandwich and showing the crack of its ass.

Instead, the Republicans picked them up and cleaned them off, gave them purpose and legitimacy.   The purpose was to wreak havoc with the Democrats and the legitimacy was in a few candidates to call their own.  The Republicans gave them the message, and the Democrats gave them the double talk.   The Republicans will take they House if not the Senate, and the Democrats will have to satisfy themselves with excuses and explanations.

They could have once again been the Party of the People.  But they blew it.

Close Encounters With the Tea Party of Beverly Hills

You don’t often think of the City of Beverly Hills and the Tea Party in one sentence.  But, nevertheless, there they were in some odd form of cosmic convergence, demonstrating to the more ardent supporters and the merely curious that populist  outrage can emanate from one of the more expensive zip codes in the United States.   Here, just a mere block or so north of the famed  Rodeo Drive where upper end manufacturers, excluding  maybe Ralph Lauren, import and showcase their designer wares from Italy, France, and just about every other place but here, the Beverly Hills Tea Party is banding together to take its country back.   Will that be cash or charge?

I am not one to cast the usual knee jerk aspersions on the Tea Party.   Must of those have been repeated ad nauseam and the disparaging remarks have done little to either understand it or suppress this often erratic and ragged movement that, despite all, is moving forward as an influence to be reckoned with.   I may agree with very little of what it stands for and may find Tea Party theories and practices both erroneous and convoluted, but the anger most feel to a large extent  is to some extent justifiable outrage.   The fact that this country has been sold down the drain by certain corporate interests and the toadies that pimp and whore for them is truly the American crime of the century.

People who once had respectable jobs have been put out of work and their once gainful employment has been outsourced at a cheaper rate to countries where the cheaper labor can best save the corporate bottom line.  Stock prices increase, but people continually not only lose their jobs but find fewer in the downsized marketplace.   Where there were once decent manufacturing jobs, there are meager and humiliating service center jobs.   Certain industries, like Elvis,  have left the building.   Unless there is a serious reevaluation of the true and long term cost of their loss, they aren’t coming back in the foreseeable future.

Consequently, people have not only lost their jobs, but have depleted their life savings.   Many no longer have retirement portfolios and the once relied upon pensions have either been seriously diminished or vaporized in the series of bankruptcies and the assorted mergers and acquisitions.  All that crap about the late life second career rings hollow and obnoxious when your money is gone and you can’t find a job.    Many Americans have lost their houses, their cars, their dignity, and are facing the prospect that they have just raised the first generation of children who will probably not fare as well economically as their parents had.  In a country where the ongoing belief was that economically speaking the kids would always do better than their parents, the grim reality is that this may not be the case.

The Tea Party and its incumbent protest aspect is in its essence really nothing new to America.   Its name of course is derived from the first visible protest against British taxation of its colonies with the much vaunted Boston Tea Party that every third grader learns about in lore and legend.   “No taxation without representation, ” and then none of your damn tea.   There are elements of the Tea Party in the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania, in the 1790’s and the Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts in the late 1780’s.   Roots of the Tea Party can be attributed to President Andrew Jackson and his much heralded “Jacksonian Democracy” that brought a more populist element to government.   Even Thomas Jefferson, it could be argued, was an early perpetrator of this vague ideal, as he opted for the agrarian and state’s rights sensibility over Hamilton’s Federalist theory.

In the twentieth century there are threads of the Tea Party in various campaigns.  There are roots of it with Ayn Rand and her “Objectivism” philosophy.   You can find the  Tea Party or populist philosophy, using the term loosely here,  in the 1960’s with Alabama Governor George Wallace’s Presidential candidacy.   Wallace’s Presidential campaign was feared by Democrats and especially Republicans.  Come election time, he ended up with 13.5 percent of the popular vote.    Not bad.   But Ross Perot, another you could attribute to the early Tea Party movement, topped Wallace by garnering almost 19% of the popular vote.    Had Perot in the end not seemed so off the wall by insisting there were doctored photos of him and threats against his daughter, and had he not selected retired Admiral Jim Stockdale as his running mate,  a man who in his later years was not what one would call the world’s most coherent man, Perot would have garnered an even higher vote count.

As for my encounter with the Tea Party, it was purely happenstance.   We were driving down Santa Monica Boulevard a few Sundays back when we noticed this gathering in the park.  At first, we had no idea what it was and though it was yet one more arts and craft show where in cloth wrapped booths vendors displayed typically bland art in between the makeshift yogurt and frozen banana stands.   But we didn’t see the booths, really, and the park contained too few people for the typical art show.   We saw printed and hand painted  signs proclaiming that this was indeed the gathering of the Beverly Hills Tea Party.   There in the park, before the big wrought iron and brass sign that proudly proclaimed this park was in Beverly Hills there stood a bevy of America flags and sound speakers blaring out in limited fidelity with a whole lot of static patriotic songs that were were familiar with and some with which are best considered arcane.

It was over 100 degrees outside.   But what the hell, it’s not everyday you get to see the Tea Party in the relative convenience of your own back yard.  So there they were, holding signs up against big government, Obamacare, wanton spending, and all the other stuff they are known for.  A few “take our country back” signs that some believe are filled with racist innuendo.  Among the predominantly white faces there were one or two Hispanic people, one or two African Americans, and more than a couple of Persians.  Beverly Hills for those who don’t know may have the largest Iranian/Persian population outside of Iran.  Of course the trio marching around with fife and drum in woolen frock coats and three cornered hats, in the hundred degree heat, fit demographically into either the category of  total commitment or theatrical lunacy.   Take your pick.

Unlike most Tea Party events you see in the news, this was much calmer than the sound bite video that tends to grace Internet sites and cable TV.   While some looked the part of the Tea Party, a good number of the women were quite attractive.  As were some of the men.   This is Beverly Hills, after all, and not some muddy high school field off some exurban highway exit where if you keep going another three minutes you will find yourself at the local Wal-Mart.  America is at best a stocky and overweight nation, but here in the Beverly Hills Park, there were but a scant few scooting around in those electric ass scooters the allegedly handicapped and physically lazy buy through the very health insurance they claim to deplore.  Hell, even the hand painted signs were spelled correctly.

Not all were as determined and single minded as the media would allow.   While the organizers did their best to gather the flock, and while the few vendors behind the makeshift tables peddled Beverly Hills Tea Party emblazoned tee shirts and baseball caps, there were those who appeared a little uncertain about their being there.   Under my obvious scrutiny there were a few people who were shy and a bit sheepish about protesting the  socialist government takeover of Beverly Hills.   Others clustered in groups under the shade of the old growth Oak Trees and fanned themselves with the paperboard brochures.   In all, it was a peaceful gathering that carried the kind of tentative vibe when you find yourself sitting a little too close to someone else’s picnic table.

The main theme of the speeches was fiscal responsibility.   We didn’t really stay for the speakers as it was hot and we were bored, and late lunch was beckoning down by the ocean.   But anyone who follows anything knows the Tea Party maintains a relentless desire for fiscal responsibility.  In fact,  it was partly the wanton spending and subsequent economic fiasco has inspired the advent of the Tea Party.   It is a political group whose inception has been fueled by the reflexive reaction to the collective bamboozle.   Since forming, the Tea Party has gained group and now poses a threat to not only the Democrats but the Republican Party who erroneously assumed these people were securely in their pocket.    In walking around the grounds I heard one well intentioned soul offering ill advised and unwarranted suggestions about how best to approach the forthcoming elections.  The man he was talking to, tall and not without his share of testosterone promptly admonished, ” we have an agenda of our own.   We intend to take over the Republic Party.”

This statement may seem like heady stuff.   But historically speaking, it serves as the same political metaphor that inspired myriad radical political elements to move in on the moderates and then once installed in legitimate government, move out the moderates and really let those banners fly.    Hence in history the revolution and then the counter or second phase of the revolution.  The rhetoric of accommodations followed by the subsequent introduction of the firing squad and the guillotine. In fact one of the few places where the moderates took power through revolution and then retained power without the radical element taking it to its bloody extremes was in that faraway land called the United State of America.  But now, if nothing else, the Tea Party can be the first truly viable third party.   That may even lead to the formation of political coalition.   Doubtful, but possible.

I am not saying this is the big Tea Party plan.   But that’s a long way from here.  In its incipient political stage, the other key thematic through line is the general mistrust of government.   The Tea Party hates the government and sees it as a wasteful abomination that inflicts upon its people intrusive and unworkable policies that only add to the already overwhelming burden of trying to survive.  Different Tea Party candidates wish to nullify the 17th Amendment that provides for a progressive income tax, and the 18th Amendment that enables the popular election of the United States Senate.  Others want to rid the federal government of everything from the Department of Education and Department of Energy, to the Departments of Internal Revenue, Commerce, and Homeland Security.  I am sure there are other departments that would be given the ax, but these are enough to focus on at the moment.

Of course this all seems absurd, but like other absurdities, such disparate individuals as Nazi Propaganda Minster, Joseph Goebbels, Soviet Leader, Vladimir Lenin and pioneer psychologist, William James have stated in common, “if you say something enough, people will eventually believe it.”   It’s a paraphrase or composite of the three statements, but that’s the general point.   Goebbels, by the way, detailed nineteen points of propaganda that remain remarkably relevant this very day.   And the fact is there are millions of people are believing what most of us see as absurd on its best days and totally bat shit in terms of governmental management and oversight.   Enough people are believing this to put some of the Tea Party in office.  It has been speculated that eight Tea Party candidates have a chance of being elected to office.

In some ways, as bitter a pill as it is to swallow, this stands to reason the Tea Party, in fact, would end up a presence on the American political landscape.   Because the fact remains that government in recent years has performed neither effectively or responsibly.     It has committed to economic folly and imposed itself  where it was often uninvited.  Conversely, and with bitter irony, it has  eliminated regulations that  have allowed  bandits with a briefcase to run off with the store.

But then here is the Tea Party.   They rant rave and make some outrageous statements.  Some but not all are racist, or homophobic, or Bible thumping bigots who see subversion in every environmental issue.   Of course there is a lot of tough talk about kicking out the immigrants and  eliminating Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlement programs whether they make sense or not.   The Tea Party sense of fiscal responsibility is kind of like your parents finding out you used your allowance money for candy and not the wretched school lunch, so now they are going to deny any money and starve you to death, just to prove their point.     There is also the fearful prospect and collateral damage sustained by their anointing their lunatic candidates so they can govern the asylum.    With some the consequences of forty years of failed policy has just made them crazy.   Yes, they may appears fools and awkward, subject to derision, but who is the greater fool?  The Democrats who didn’t take them seriously?  Or the establishment Republicans who  believed they could manipulate them and use them for their shock troops, and then file them neatly inside their pocket.   And the end of the day who are the fools?     The Tea Party or those that let them gain power?

The Lessons of History, as once admonished by the exceptional couple, Will and Ariel Durant, are tough for us to learn.

The Logical Return to Centrist America

Whether we like it or not, we are generally a centrist nation.  We may veer to the left or the right for awhile,  but ultimately we end up back somewhere in the middle.  True, it may be the the vocal  extremes who though bombast and loony sound bites  get all the  news coverage.  But at the end of the day,  it is the center that generally rules.

Contrary to media sensationalism, most of the country is a lot less concerned with the sexual preferences of others, ethnic origins, dietary lifestyle, or must other things that have become a frenzied fetish for the political action groups.   Essentially, it breaks down to those who are doing business and those who are not.   With special regard to small businesses, in an economic catastrophe nobody has the time to fret over things that aren’t of direct concern to the main objective, making money and staying afloat.   Whether same sex partners live together or whether your vendors or clients are of a different ethnic persuasion than you are, makes little difference to most people.   A shocker, I know.  But true.

This is not to say that people don’t have their biases.  They do.  What I am saying is those biases and how they effect actual performance are way overblown.  For the most part people keep their biases to themselves and try not to let them get in the way of the more pressing issues of the times.    Most people are just  too busy working or running a business, in other words, keeping their heads above water,  to pay attention to these relatively minor distractions.  They may grouse over the government regulations, taxes, and the high price of everything, but for most people things are at they are in it makes far less sense to go parading around in a frenzy than it does to take care of business at hand.

Most of these are centrists or independents.  Being true cultural  Americans, they adhere to the historic skepticism concerning dogma and demagogues.   They can’t get all that worked up about issues over which they have little control.   Most are far from believing the great leader, whoever that is, will be laying great solutions at their feet.   Being culturally pragmatic, most are aware things are terribly screwed up and no one can render solutions in a sound bite.   The empty heads and empty souls that pass before the cameras as our representatives are regarded with scorn.  Nobody trusts the system and most of the saner souls are fishing around for new ways to approach business, work, and their overall lifestyle.

But centrists are not without their foibles.   Let’s face it, the center is usually boring.  It is pragmatic and consistent and not prone to obnoxious drama of the polar elements.    You can’t be a centrist and follow the teachings of the Orthodox Hysterical, that mishmash of segments from the far left and right.    At one time the polar elements actually brought something to the table.  But now for the most part they are useless.    Splinter groups right and left, often bore theories and practices that were far ahead of their time.  The forty-hour work week, now lamented as it has transited into the sixty hour work week, union bargaining, social security, and other programs would not be in practice had it not been for the more extreme.   There were defense policies and seemingly outlandish measures that in their amoral fervor managed to keep this country secure through periods like the Cold War.    But that was then and this is now.  Industrial breakthroughs and great expansions wouldn’t have happened had not the pathological had their industrial way.

In today’s America, the extremes serve more to justify an agenda and work best with bombastic slogans and denigration that serves only to further polarize the country.  At one time extremists would be willing to die for their principles.  Today, they are only willing to whine for their principles.  Big difference.

The result is a cultural stalemate.  The left feels it has been forced to confront an insane, greedy corporate power grab  that lurks like the Eye of Sauron in the Lord of the Rings.   It is evil and threatening to all of humanity.  It is oblivious to the needs of the poor and threatens the dismantling of America’s middle class.   It gives heartache and takes jobs.    The government, they believe, has all but left them deregulated and impotent, left to their devices of which there are few.

The right believes that the government is far too strong.  On the poor side of the right wing they believe that government is draconian with regulation and taxes, that it limits personal freedom and neglects the hard working in favor of those who cannot get out of their own way.   On the rich side of the right, the general belief is the government inhibits free trade and obstructs the free marketing system.  The government inflicts heavy taxes and forces unbearable regulations.  In all the government is too powerful, except of course when the same corporate interests collapse the economy and need the government for bailouts in order to stay afloat.   And then, for five minutes, you don’t hear quite as much about government intrusion. Such are the vagaries of dogma.

The left thinks the right is filled with a bunch of bigots and racists, backwoods hooligans who want nothing better than to wear their guns to town hall meetings.  The right thinks the left is effete and weak and pays more attention to the fringe elements and less to the average person.  There are assorted disputes over social issues and economic issues.  The left believes it is best when people all come together for one major purpose.  The right generally wants to be left the hell alone.

It is an odd place to be for us Americans.    This has been historically a country where people don’t like being told what to do.   We have been a violent people and acted out against what we see as draconian oppression from government and civic groups.   The Boston Tea Party was in fact a real lawbreaking affair that turned heads and galvanized the public.  The Shays Rebellion was but one shining example when the locals lashed out at what they deemed oppressive taxes, heavy debt, and the seizure of property.    No letters of protest and misspelled signs on that one.   They took up arms and had a brief uprising to demonstrate they simply had enough. It didn’t turn out real well for Shayes and Company, but that is a different part of the story.  Prior to the America Revolution, more than a few tax collectors and tone deaf bigwigs were treated to a tar and feathering and a trip on a rail.  The Revolution itself was about taxes and not taking any more crap from oppressive authority.

There was the Whiskey Rebellion, again about taxes, and it can be argued, the Civil War.  There were the labor strikes of the twenties and thirties, and the anti-war demonstrations of the sixties.   There were brief and aborted uprisings against what was perceived as the system.  There have been bombings and shootings and riots have gone to the heart of this culture.   Hell pops out of the woodwork, and then somehow we return to a margin of sanity.

But today we living on mood elevators and propaganda about how we are supposed to behave.   We are not even supposed to be angry, and we look at those who do express their outrage as a bunch of oddballs.   We conduct wars around the world and do whatever necessary to protect what we consider our way of life.   We don’t seem to mind, as one friend said some years ago, “pulling the lungs out of any country that seeks to prevent us from getting what we want,” but yet when we are raped and robbed by the powers that be  on our very own soil we seem pretty passive about it.   Europe has had demonstrations and uprising because some of their entitlement perks and benefits are being diminished due to budgetary constraints.  Here we lose jobs, factories, houses, and our self-esteem, and we mainly piss and moan and then go have our double mocha latte with a Zoloft chaser.

So the extremists pull at our emotions and try to lead us into some aborted attempt at rebellion or some semi-mystical incantation about hope and change.   We know it is bullshit, and we grow fearful when those around us buy into the doctrines that appear the quick fix.   We look for the fulcrum where we can find stability.   The pundits and demagogues  may not make any sense and their points of view may only be based vaguely in factor or historical context.  We try to eschew them, knowing they are meager hors devours for the vast  multi-media marketing platform that peddle millions of  books, punditry, and speaking engagements to the dogmatically pious, vacuous, and culturally bereft.

Eventually, radical dogma dilutes itself  through countless repetition so every utterance from any extreme seems like another ho hum experince backed by tepid action.  Or, to quote Shakespeare, and you can never go wrong quoting Shakespeare…”It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”   In time we take into account the new socio-economic landscape  and return to the roots of culture, which is pragmatism above all else.   Find out what works and then employ it.   This of course presents a disconnect to the true believers as there is nothing like the pragmatic overview to piss on the parade of any radical dogma.

It is no small wonder that Michael Bloomberg and others are working to unify the centrist candidates.   Or for that matter you can sense it when Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert launch a “Return to Sanity” rally.  Sanity.  What a concept for the country born in the Age of Reason.   Perhaps the brand new trend will be eschew dogma, idiocy, and rigid agendas.   In short, be sane.   Be practical.    See what works.