The Founding Fathers never intended for the President to be all that big a deal–each state was supposed to basically do its own thing and mind its own affairs, Congress was supposed to take care of the matters that required interstate coordination, and the President was just supposed to be there for those times when we really needed a single guy to do something, like present a coherent foreign policy to foreign sovereigns.
Since then, of course, the Presidency has increased both in power/scope and in the amount of attention people pay to it. People who can’t be bothered to vote for the mayor or city council that runs their cities somehow find time to watch endless news coverage of presidential debates, buy t-shirts and tote bags promoting their favorite candidates, and broadcast their presidential preferences all over every social media platform they have available to them.
I was reading this morning about cuts to the services disabled people receive in Oklahoma, and (as you might expect) more generally about economic malaise throughout Appalachia.
Whether Obama or the Democrats can do anything about joblessness in Greater Appalachia is a matter of some debate; whether they should is another. But people have gotten so fixated on their hatred of the President and the Democrats more broadly that they are willing to vote blindly for the Republicans, whether the Republicans actually accomplish their goals or not.
The inverse is also true in liberal areas, where people vote Democratic because they hate Republicans.
This fixation on hating the president instead of paying attention to and trying to improve one’s own community is a kind of poison. At best, it’s a worthless distraction; at worst, you give up your own self interest in order to symbolically defy someone living in another part of the country.
Just to give an example of such politics in action:
7% of Americans like Obamacare, but dislike the Affordable Care Act.
9% of Americans dislike Obamacare, but are fine with the Affordable Care Act.
And according to Reuters,
Reuters/Ipsos polling reveals a remarkably high level of approval for nearly all the provisions of the act, often in the 80 percent range, even though respondents oppose the legislation, commonly known as “Obamacare,” by 55 to 45.
Chances are, the average person has no idea what is actually in the bill; support or disapproval is based entirely on political identity–if you think abortion is bad, then you think “Obamacare” is also bad; if you think abortion is good, then you probably think Obamacare is also good.
Of course, this is an idiotic way to determine health care policy.
You know best your own business; second best, your friends’ and loved-ones’ businesses; worst, strangers’. We do the most good by serving our local communities–caring for our families, helping our friends, cleaning up our own streets and being decent to others. But instead we spend our energy watching TV and complaining about health care plans we don’t understand. We want to “fix” schools we’ve never set foot in, without the slightest idea what’s wrong with them. We invade other countries and expect them to thank us for the favor.
And who wins?
How many years of Republican voting have resulted in a preservation of anything Republicans hold dear? Job, society, religion?
Oh, yes, we got tax cuts for the rich.