I’ve always been perplexed with politically active people that don’t believe that good government is possible. If you don’t believe that government is good, why bother to get involved?
I completely get the motivations of politicians that hate government. They want the power that comes with being in the government. It’s a great way to get really fucking rich without creating anything, or employing anyone. But the people that believe them? I find them inexplicable.
Who the fuck hears a candidate say, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help'”, and thinks “that’s who I’m voting for!“? How does that make any fucking sense? He just told you that he’s not going to help you if you elect him!
What kind of person perpetually votes for a party whose mantra is the promise of shrinking the government, despite the fact that no president in the history of that party, has ever made the government even a little bit smaller? Are these people fucking idiots?
The short answer is, yes. The longer answer lies in the inherent pessimism that fuels the belief that government’s only purpose is to fuck you.
See, republicans generally come into power and make things worse than they were before they got in. And once they’ve made things worse, they take the opportunity to leverage that crisis to make themselves (i.e the government) bigger and more powerful.
Bush ignored mounds of evidence (not to mention the emphatic warnings from his predecessor) , outlining the threat that Bin Laden poses to America. The US gets attacked, and the administration used that crisis to pursue the neocon agenda of world domination through invasion and occupation.
Ronald Reagan revived fears of a Soviet takeover of the world, at a time when no one was thinking about the Soviet Union. Iran was holding fifty-two Americans hostage, and we had an oil shortage that created long gas lines. The last thing on any American’s mind was the cold war. But Reagan gave those old fears some CPR and brought them back to life. He then leveraged the fear he resurrected, to get the American people to go along with his wild defense spending that blew up our deficit. He massively cut taxes for top income earners when he first came into office, and then had to raise taxes eleven times to offset the the shortfall that he created. In classic republican tradition, those tax hikes shifted the tax burden on the middle class.
Scott Walker turned a surplus into a deficit ten minutes after being sworn in, by cutting taxes at the top and doling out government contracts to his cronies. A minute after that, he leveraged the budget “crisis” he created to decimate collective bargaining rights for public employees.
I can give dozens of examples, but you get the idea. This is an age old tactic of the republican party. Why does it work on some people? Because if you are pessimistic enough to believe that government can never work for you, fucked up government validates your world view. It makes you right! Never mind the fact that you voted for the government. You were right, and that’s all that matters. Buying into the “nine most terrifying words” theory is purely emotional.
No rational, thinking, logical person would ever accept the idea that a human (any human) will ever relinquish power that they’ve obtained. That’s never happened in recorded history. So buying into the bullshit narrative that someone is trying to get into government so that they can turn around and give up the power that comes with the office. That’s just batshit crazy. So if you’re buying into this bullshit, you’re not doing it with your mind. You’re doing it emotionally.
That goes for you too, democrats. If you believe that a democrat will give up power that his/her predecessor secured for that office, you’re not being rational. I never, not for one second, thought that Obama was going to give up any of the expanded powers that Bush snatched up. To do so would be crazy and stupid, and I was definitely not voting for someone I thought was crazy and stupid. That’s just not how I roll. I will admit that I never saw the Bradley Manning abuse coming under this president’s watch. I knew that Obama wasn’t going to give up the power to do anything, I just didn’t think that he would use this particular power. Don’t kid yourselves, Obama is completely aware of what’s happening with Manning. In my defense, I’m no less disgusted with Obama when he does it, than I was with Bush when he did it.
Die hards on both sides vote irrationally, but the whole foundation of republicanism is based on irrational voting and perpetuating a pessimistic world view.
We have a republican congress now, whose sole mission is to make things shittier so that they can point to Obama and tell you that government sucks. And Obama is playing into their hands by not standing up to make sure that shitty things don’t get passed.
It’s a vicious cycle, and to some degree, we’re all playing our part.