Locutius is here on his retirement tour. 30 hours left at the salt mines and then he goes off to the land of a lower level of paid workload and higher level of chore workload. We are pleased to have him.
Yesterday he was quite patient with yours truly and my youngest, as we were summoned to a track meet to watch the shot put. What was a two hour plan transformed itself into a five hour reality. The best laid plans and that kind of rot.
So, let us speak of how the current confrontational politics have come about. We earnestly discuss how we wish to have things revert to the "good old days", when politicians came to reasoned compromise and the country moved forward in bliss. While I do question the reality of this (it has always seemed that the politicians have been nothing if not a gaggle of self-important sots), let us assume for minute that things were as folks fantasize and things were better back then.
The "then" that most of us boomer types discuss so fervently are the halcyon days of the 1950-1965 vintage. Ahh...the sepia tones, the vaseline-lensed smoothness of image where things we, for a short time, as close to perfect as has ever been seen in the world. But these homey images had been bought at a price. None of us thought to much of it, but by being the last and only standing industrialized economy, we were so awash in wealth that the citizenry could be easily placated with the amount of money we brought in in taxes.
The politicians in that golden era were politicians who had to work out compromises on how to divvy up a surplus. Now, I am not belittling what they accomplished, but the truth of the matter is that. in the real world, that is a pretty easy job. When everyone gets something, there might be a bit of grumbling concerning the size of one's slice of the pie, but everyone does, in fact, get a slice of the pie. This is a situation where a certain amount of graciousness can be easily drummed up and everyone can be made to look like a statesman, hauling home a share of the pork and talking about the cuts made to others share.
We are now in a state of insufficiency. There isn't enough to go around and the pie itself is shrinking at an alarming clip. So now the ability to be a statesman is seriously constrained. The need to makes sure that your constituency gets more than they deserve is no longer an option for all players in the game.
So really what I am saying is that we had better get used to the idea that our politicians are a bunch of argumentative, petty, and self aggrandizing shits. The excess of money that allowed them to disguise the fact is no longer available.
It is going to get worse