We Americans are a selfish bunch often becoming "patriotic" only when it helps our pocketbook.
Our vote has become a self interest vote which is part of democracy's strength and also part of its weakness. The poor vote one way and the rich another; the poor vote hoping to get a free piece and the rich vote to keep all of their pieces and not have to share any. Or something like that.
The undecided straddling the middle cast the swing votes; they hope to give a little and get a little and not take too big of an overall hit.
The neither rich nor poor get caught square in the middle or "middle class" as it is often called. The Twilight Zone might be a more appropriate name.
For example. When a politician promises to create jobs they neglect to tell their uninformed electorate that government does not and cannot create jobs. Taxing Peter to "create" a job for Paul is not job creation but a form of legalized theft.
It's called bad government and it's not what government does well and it is simply untrue to say that it does.
Entrepreneurs create jobs. Government can only create and maintain the economic conditions that help entrepreneurs create jobs.
What we don't hear are politicians encouraging entrepreneurs; politicians just increase the cost of doing business. Subsequently entrepreneurs usually see government as setting up obstacles rather than creating positive economic conditions. Is this surprising?
So when politicians tell you bad trade agreements are responsible for your company going bankrupt and your losing your job, they are fooling the foolish.
An uninformed electorate is supposedly a bad electorate but opportunist politicos love it when voters are not able to think and reason for themselves. Or just don't know.
In this air of non-traditional patriotism stockholders and industry want a bail out when things fail. Bankrupt homeowners want a bail out when they speculate and lose. The educational system wants more money yet continues to be out of step with the educational needs of a modern, technological society.
Are you better off now than four years ago? The question implies that if you aren't better off now you can vote for Politician X and that will change. Like it or not, the truth of the matter is that government has become increasingly irrelevant in the modern world.
The two meaningful parties in the U.S. have the electorate fooled into thinking we are fighting for our very own selfish interests. What they neglect to say is the pact they have with each other is commonly called "gridlock" and is somehow supposed to represent our best interests, checks and balances and all that good stuff. Really?
The liberal lie is "You can have a bigger slice of the pie if you vote for me." The conservative lie is "let's not change anything because that way we benefit the most and above all else we don't want to give that up that relative status."
Neither side is very willing to help the general populace as they are already committed to helping their own focused support base. That is how they raise money, get elected and the turn the proverbial worm.
Of course as societies become self-centered and greedy they become weak, corrupt and hasten their own downfall. We may not want to believe this depressing news but there has never been an example otherwise.
But the politicians simply don't care as seen by their actions. Theirs is a short term vision just as the CEO's is for the next quarter. The only time the politicos ever go into the factories and machine shops and diners is at election time.
What we have created is a gridlocked, cultural sporting event compromise instead of looking at what is best for America. This is what we wanted; should we be surprised we have gotten it?
What America needs is not the false hope of a government induced comfort zone but a government that challenges its electorate and creates opportunities for all to do better. Doing better is what America does best or at least in the traditional sense of patriotism.
But we get what we deserve and we deserve some of the politicians we get. Those politicians like to keep us confused.
Shame on all those politicians. But bigger shame on us. We can clearly see that social evolution has exceeded government's and politics' ability to respond. By nature government and politicians are reactive and not strategic.
And in a rapidly changing world increasingly irrelevant.