Tuesday, May 10, 2005

What am I talking about?

My name is Lincoln Madison, and so, as you might imagine, I've always felt a special connection to Presidential politics. As a boy in Dallas, Texas, the summer of 1974, I often had little better to do than watch television, and the only thing on all three networks, day after day, were the Watergate hearings. I'm sure I saw more of those hearings than most grown-ups. I was also a good little footsoldier for My President, Mr. Richard Millhouse Nixon. After the 1972 election, I had watched the kids across the street publicly denounce their own parents for voting for McGovern. After Watergate, I put stickers on every trash can in the house announcing that "Nixon Slept Here."

I have watched with dismay over the last dozen years as the Republican Party has been co-opted by a bizarre fringe element that shares neither the values of the founding of this Republic nor of the President who saved the Union. Being a Republican once meant favoring limited governmental intrusion into people's private lives. It once meant being responsible with both spending and the exercise of state power. Today, being a Republican means favoring allowing the government to dictate your personal morals while engaging in reckless deficit spending and the removal of centuries-old checks and balances.

On the other hand, being a Democrat used to really mean something, too. It meant standing up for "the little guy," making sure that the power of government didn't tilt too heavily towards the wealthy elite. After all, that's kind of what "democracy" is all about. Today, being a Democrat means meekly capitulating to "whatever the President needs to fight that war on terror," and then letting the Republicans define their whole agenda as the war on terror. Gosh, we let them set the agenda and even the terms in which it is framed, and we even stomped our feet real hard and shook our fingers when they broke the rules, but those Republicans just keep kickin' our tuckusses. I wonder why....

And then there's the Third Estate, the mighty Press-with-a-capital-P. I guess Woodward and Bernstein were nothing more than an excuse to put Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman up on our movie screens. There's so much muck, but all the rakers stand idle. Fox News continues to present a caricature of journalism, and yet their would-be competitors trip over themselves in the race to the bottom. "It seems the only thing these TV ass-clowns know how to do is read blogs out loud directly off a computer screen." There's more than a little wrong with America when the most credible name in television news is Comedy Central. "Hey, that no-talent hack Rob Corddry is on TV right now talking about us!"

We are repeatedly presented with "either/or" choices. Either support the President or be labeled as unpatriotic. Either allow unlimited drilling in the Arctic wilderness or drive a Prius. Either bomb Saddam Hussein to oblivion or capitulate to terrorism. My point is that, as with so many things in life, we must seek The Third Path. The path of moderation (practiced sparingly), sound reasoning, and balance.

Finally, for any fellow Colonial Club members from the Class of '85, "I shall not merge with that blog-like thing."