What happens in a Democratic-Republic when the most powerful person has an agenda which seems at odds with the legislative body?
We found out today when Janet Yellen, who is not at all orange, testified before the Senate Banking Committee for the first time since … well, really since all Hell broke loose. Financial issues have largely taken a back seat since the circus came to town and the opportunity to return to such a basic issue had the wonderful air or normality to it.
That didn’t stop anyone from trying to bring in the clowns, of course. But real leaders, like Yellen, know better than to take the bait. It was delightfully boring, as all banking should be. But it still had its moments.
This piece is actually from an old blog I had in 1999. This was before the current Depression, before the Millenium, and indeed before the word “blog” was commonly used. This is part of a retrospective heading into the tenth anniversary of Barataria this April. It is presented unchanged from 18 years ago.
Politics is often defined in America by an intense partisan struggle. The language used is one of division: red states versus blue, Fox versus NPR. Not only is most of this nonsense, it is actually dangerous.
Anger over the latest moves of the Trump administration continues to bubble over. There seems to be a fresh outrage every day – now including a major diss of the Australian Prime Minister. What can everyone do?
Stay positive. It’s hard, sometimes, but it’s critical. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier every day. As much as Barataria and others have criticized marching as not nearly enough, it’s still critical as a tool for organizing. More importantly, it seems that everyone has had a great experience so far and has kept hope alive.
Morale is critical for us to last out this administration and stay focused. So far, it’s working very well.
What will it take to Make America Great Again? A big part of it, at least in terms of the public show, is the creation of manufacturing jobs. Of the four words in MAGA, the top two appear to be “America” and “Make”. It’s a noble effort all around, without a doubt.
But can this be done as a matter of policy? Can we turn back evils like bad trade deals and force the products which are consumed in America to be made in America?
Two stories from the opening daze of the Trump administration demonstrate just how unlikely this effort will be. Indeed, it’s entirely possible to cause more damage than good in many ways.
After the inaugural, some 3.7 million people took to the streets to protest the new president, or about 1% of the entire population. A dust-up ensued over how many attended the main event the day before, generally estimated at 0.5 million. Popularity is important in an era of perception, so the arguments over this are not going to stop soon.
More important than perception, however, is the immediacy of tactics. No one marching in protest believed anything is going to change immediately, but that was both the main point and beside the point. The marches are for nothing more than to hold on, to stop change, to paralyze. It’s not actually a strategy but a tactic.
We live in a time where actual strategy does not exist and there are only tactics – the raw emotions and gains of the moment. Nothing is actually going to change until that does.
Today is the big day. An new era full of uncertainty starts with the inauguration of Donald Trump.
God save the Republic.
I firmly believe it is critical to take the long view on this, since we are about to settle in for what is likely to be a tumultuous four years. We will have to pick our battles, declare victory where we can, and always keep our eyes on the prize. For this reason, and to keep our sanity, the wisdom of the ancients should be a primary source of comfort. Today’s readings are from the Tao Te Ching, as translated by Stan Rosenthal.
The word “Byzantine” describes an incomprehensible, unreasonable level of complexity. It came to our language as many words do, from French. The reference is to the court of Byzantium in Constantinople, where the diffuse power and responsibility made even the simplest of tasks difficult. It was an empire built for stability, not change, and no one was capable of challenging the ruling class.
We are in the process of learning just what this means in Washington. Barataria has discussed this before as well as the underlying psychology which will drive it, but as it unfolds it is important to watch. If our Republic is to survive the next four years we must understand what is in the process of happening.