The Lawnmower Party
All that wrongheaded two-headedness isn’t fatal, not in U.S. politics. Neither is linking public policy to religious backwardism. Those things are bad for this country, but being bad for America hasn’t stopped too many politicians from rising to the top.
No, what makes the Republican Party done for, is that, while they’re down, they continue to stand for thinly veiled bigotry. People will put up with haters if they’re scared or if times are good (Or if we’re in financial disaster and need rescuing). But if the policies of the haters have just resulted in economic meltdown, their disdain for wide swaths of the electorate are shown in harsh relief. The Republicans have burned their bridges with blacks for at least another century, and ditto Latinos. I doubt politicized gays will ever vote for Republicans. As varieties of contempt fall out of favor, the right has shuffled their scorn, until every variety of the least of our brothers has every right to hate them back.
The kids these days, God love ’em, are not big on bigotry. So every year, more people enter the rolls who view the Republican party not just as wrongheaded, but as the bad guys. The GOP could develop a coherent economic viewpoint, modify its viewpoint on freedom, modernize its view on science, and they’d still be the Johnny-come-latelies who were the haters all those years. It paid off during some ugly decades, but now it’s time to pay the piper. The Republicans are done.
Which is not to say that the Democrats are the good guys. They piss on the gays, bust budgets and soft pedal necessary ecological changes, but just not as egregiously as the Republicans. They’re mostly a bunch of cowards who often stand for nothing. But they’re very much in charge now. Let’s get a half-assed Healthcare system, and some high speed rail, then there needs to be another party.
What would a new opposition party look like? I can’t help but come up with issues from the left, but having grown up in America, I have a hard time imagining winning from the left, but maybe times really have changed. The Environment is the big scary issue if you’ve been watching our planet melt. Maybe a fiscally responsible Green Party could rise to power.
Environmentalism could really capture people’s imaginations. Balancing the budget is the other big idea. Pushing for a strong military seems to play well, whether we need such a big military or not. Environmentalism sells itself; no one wants to choke the world to death. Balancing the budget is a tougher sell. The ugly truth is that to balance a budget you either need to raise taxes or cut programs. No one likes taxes, yet necessary Government programs continue to cost money. If we’re going to cut, the penny ante billion trimming Obama’s trying sell as responsibility isn’t going to cut it. No, you need to go after Social Security, screw my generation because the Baby Boomers will never accept any kind of sacrifice, though they should.
It would help if the media would ever explore what the problem is with endless debt. I don’t really understand it, but every time I read up on it, I get pretty scared right before the knowledge seems to go out of my head. I think the answer has got to be a balanced budget amendment, as selling tax hikes and real budget cuts are impossible in self-interested democracy. There’s a reason spending didn’t stop when the Republicans were in power. An amendment would be the cap and trade of economics: a necessary Trojan horse.
A greener balanced budget party should rise to challenge the Democrats, or we’ll face corruption and inflation and pandering to the remaining pools of small mindedness that drove the Republicans to the abyss. The first thing that came to my head when I combined green with fiscal responsibility was a fresh cut lawn of grass. Nature and maintenance. I’ll call it The Lawnmower Party.
I bet you can come up with a better name.