I come from a large family, and as the oldest – and only boy – in the family, one of the banes of my teen years and early 20’s were my sisters swooning over the latest “heartthrob.” If they were on television, had a record out (most did), or were in a magazine, my sisters were parked in front of the television, buying the record and playing incessantly, and avidly reading the latest on their idol. The actual person who was the teen idol changed from year to year, but there was always one. My sisters eventually grew out of it, and may look back at those days with a certain amount of either fondness or embarrassment. It hasn’t changed over the years, as anyone who has glanced at tabloids or web sites can attest. There’s wall-to-wall coverage of the latest doings of some “boy band” or other younger male who is the current “teen idol,” so you can’t escape it. What does that have to do with politics? There’s a large group of self-identified “progressives” on the Internet who act just like my sisters did back then, only their “idol” is a politician.
In my previous post on civics, I talked about the structure of the federal government and how it works. Knowing that is a fundamental part being able to get things accomplished, as well as knowing what needs to be fixed. Ideals are wonderful, but if you don’t know how to make those ideals become reality, they’ll remain just that. Ideals. Nice theoretical constructs, but nothing that actually happens. But that’s just one of several governments you should be concerned about if you’re talking about getting progressive ideals into progressive reality. As it turns out there’s another 50 to look at, and yes, the Constitution as well as Congress gives them certain responsibilities. Those are the states.
Back in my IT days, one of the banes of my existence was “the friend who knows something about computers.” Hearing that phrase meant that I was in for a long, involved effort to repair not just the original problem, which would have been a quick fix, but to repair what the helpful friend had done. I’ve run into it in other fields, and it is often put as “They know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to know what they’re doing.” What would cause me to think back to that? Over the past few weeks, I’ve been running into a lot of the more rabid Bernie Sanders supporters, and what has stood out in those encounters is that they don’t understand government. In particular, they don’t understand the government this country operates under.
We’re now in a new year, and once again it’s a presidential election year. After what promises to be a long, exhausting primary election season, we’ll be electing a new President. One thing that seems to be rather conspicuously missing from most of the coverage I’ve been seeing on the news and political blogs is that there are other offices on the slate. We’re going to be selecting members of the House of Representatives, and a number of Senators. Along with those national races, there will be governor and state legislature races, ballot propositions, and even local races. While the presidential race will be fodder for the media, it’s those other races which will be much more influential.
As long-term readers of this blog may attest, this was the year that I seemed to disappear. In terms of blog posting, this has been the least productive I’ve ever been. While the circus that is the Republican debates rolls on, as various Republican governors around the country demonstrated that their adherence to the conservative ideology they’d touted while running was real, and as various other things took place, I was sitting on the sidelines when it came to offering up my opinion. To an extent, my lack of posts was due to a case of “been there, done that, got the t-shirts.” Not that that has stopped me in the past, but this year that wasn’t the only reason. This has been a very busy personal and professional year, with some good and some bad. While I had the urge to write something every now and then, it just wasn’t one of my priorities.