Tue, Aug

Diggin’ My Two-Party System

ALPERN AT LARGE - Amidst the liberal complaints about Fox News and the conservative complaints of “the mainstream media”, and amidst the pillorying of Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck and Bill Maher, and amidst the accusations of both conservative and liberal pundits of how the other side is anti-American, one big overriding similarity dominates the cacophony:  they all sound alike.

Witness the debt limit debate that (according to many, if not most economists and politicians) brought the nation and the world to the brink of debt-defaulting and world recession.  Did Obama lose (link) or did the so-called Tea Party Conservatives lose? (Link

That depends on who you listen to, but it’s a given that each of the analysts think THEY know the answer to that question, despite the wide range of opinions that have been proclaimed.

Has the Red, White and Blue, flag-waving, hawkish segment of our country become Big Brother, or is that role better assigned to the environmentalist, carbon-footprint-abhorring Green Machine?  Again, it depends.

When the stocks continued tanking AFTER the debt ceiling was raised at the last moment (link) ), was it because of investors’ fears on more American debt (you see—the conservatives were right!), a lack of government spending causing decreased consumption (you see—the liberals were right!), or a slowdown of both American and worldwide consumer purchases that might be the start of a new recession (uh…what?)?  Yet again, it depends.

Will the issue of not if but how to reduce governmental spending be on the table for the unforeseeable future?  How about the issue of how to raise governmental revenue, and from whom to raise it?

Considering how the right called the previous Stimulus Bill a “turd sandwich”, and how the left now calls this debt ceiling agreement a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich”, doesn’t this leave the rest of us rather sandwiched between the aforementioned right and left?

Are the “99er’s” (workers who have had jobless benefits/unemployment paid for a full 99 weeks, and who now are often being shunned by employers) individuals who need a hand up or a kick in the fanny?

Do the chronically-unemployed of this state of California merit more support to get them through their nightmarish prolonged joblessness, or do they need a one-way ticket to North Dakota or Texas or any other state that has more job openings?

Is “ObamaCare” (not really a fair moniker since the bill came mostly from Congress) the best thing to happen to America since the invention of the flush toilet, or proof that we are indeed in the grip of another Red Scare?

Stay tuned, if you haven’t already tuned out the rhetoric from one or both sides.  But consider this:

At least we all have the ability to hear both sides, both parties and both political wings of these contentious issues.  The debt ceiling deal infuriated lots of people from all portions of the political spectrum—which may be its greatest proof of success.

And whether it’s Senator Jim DeMint promoting the “Tea Party” or former Senator Al Gore promoting an “American Spring”, it’s heartening to know that both ideological movements and both political parties (whether they’re spot-on accurate or completely full of baloney) will be there to counter the others’ arguments as we try to figure out who’s “right”.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently cochairs its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee.  He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)   -cw

Tags: Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, Bill Maher, anti-American, liberals, conservatives, debt limit, Stimulus Bill, ObamaCare, recession, Tea Party

Vol 9 Issue 62
Pub: Aug 5, 2011