Sunday, February 04, 2018

It's a shame politics not harmless

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for January 3, 2017)

After almost a year of President Trump, half the country is in an absolute uproar over the ruination of America being caused by the man.

Exactly like the other half of the country gnashed its teeth for eight straight years over the way President Obama was destroying the country.

I wish both halves weren't so close to being right.

I also wish politics could be kept in a virtual world, like fantasy football or Pokemon Go. It could exist in apps for your phone or computer, and nowhere else. Finance it with licensed product sales, ads, and subscription fees. Let the people who play be the only ones affected by it, and leave the real world alone.

If politics were harmless, even while its enthusiasts were fanatical about it, I might sit back and enjoy the show with some popcorn. Would this year's version be called "Sharknado 6: Sharks in the White House"? Or "The Governing Inferno"? If the show got too boring or ridiculous, I could shut it off and go back to meaningful pursuits, leaving the two sides to squabble and squawk at each other.

The trouble is, politics has real-world consequences, and those squabbling sides keep grinding the rest of us between them. That's not very nice.

Every official presidential act has victims. That's the nature of politics-- winners only win by making someone lose. When neither side understands liberty, it's the first thing sacrificed to the squeaky wheels on the altar of political expediency. Almost no one understands what liberty is, and won't miss it because they've never had it, so it's easy to give it away. Presidents know they can buy votes by trading liberty for false national security, for false economic growth, for false ... well, you get the idea. And voters are happy to accept the illusions.

People are more concerned over presidential "tweets" than they are over stolen liberty. Many people get the most upset when the president doesn't help Congress steal enough liberty from the other side. They scream "Close the loopholes!" Loopholes are what they call the last places liberty can hide from its enemies. The situation is crazy, and likely to only get worse.

The good news is, no president can extinguish liberty, as much as he might try. When liberty is outlawed, only outlaws will have liberty. That tiny bit will be enough to reignite the flame when the world is ready for liberty once again.

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