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Jan-22-2012 17:30printcomments

Archaic Politics In A Modern World

Current events show us that we have a long way to go yet, to reach that point. The question is, what price we will pay before we get there.

Newt Gingrich

(GOLD RIVER B.C.) - One has to wonder about the people who run the world, and those who hope to run it. Not many of them seem too interested in running it for the benefit of most of the people on it, or for future generations. If they were, things would not be in such a mess today. The more I watch the performance of the world leaders and those striving to be a leader, like the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls down south of the border, the more it is obvious that we are in a twenty-first century society being governed by eighteenth and nineteenth century thinking. That, of course, is assuming that there is much thinking going on at all.

Anyone following the Republican gong show in the United States knows that Newt Gingrich took the South Carolina primary. In his speech upon winning Gingrich said he won because "I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people." American values have become one of the major hot buttons of the political scene down there the past few years. Of course what those values are is something highly debatable. Practically every interest group has a different definition.

Claiming American values as the key to victory in South Carolina is particularly amusing. This is the state that mislead the South into treason against the United States and started a civil war that killed over six hundred thousand Americans. This is the state that had the highest percentage of slaves. Are these the deepest felt values that Newt is articulating?

When not beating up on each other the Republican candidates take shots at President Obama. The President certainly deserves a lot of criticism, but not the silliness being dumped on him by these candidates catering to the right wing nut cases and demagogues. It is a wonder they are not making his birth certificate a campaign issue. Gingrich accuses Obama of getting his support from "people who don't like the classical America." Really! What is the "classical America? A lot of Americans would say that the system that Gingrich is supporting has destroyed America. Americans like the Occupy Movement and others protesting the takeover of the system by big money and corporate privilege do not think that the Founding Fathers intended the country to look like it does today.

Mitt Romney says of Obama that he "....has divided the nation, engaged in class warfare and attacked the free-enterprise system that has made America the economic envy of the world." Given that Obama is a pretty solid member of the same ruling establishment as Romney, one has to wonder how much this wild rhetoric contributes to that division. I am sure that if we dig back in the archives and look at FDR we might find the same kind of criticism. Conveniently those on the far right side of the ruling class either seem to forget that FDR saved their bacon with his programs, or want to deny the fact outright. Could it be that likewise Obama is trying to save it now?

Many progressives would argue that Obama is nowhere near FDR, they would be much happier if he was. They see him bending over backward to appease those that oppose him instead of delivering what he promised in his election campaign. The far right on the other hand thinks that being more radical is exactly what he will do if re-elected and use that as one of their bogeymen to scare the gullible public. Reality is that he is part of the upper class having more in common with the Romneys and Gingriches than with average Americans, and in his own way will protect the existing system.

Recently Obama shot down the Keystone Pipeline that was to take Alberta tar sands oil to American ports. Environmentalists were ecstatic while the Canadian Government and Obama's opponents were more than disappointed. What generally gets missed in the commotion is that he left the door open for another plan to pipe the oil down. Intuition says that the pipeline decision was not an act of environmental responsibility but just another political card trick.

Political card tricks are preferable to brute force, but they are still part of the old way of doing business in a world much changed from what it has been. A massive population increase along with increasing industrialization and communication have changed things radically, including stretching the ecosystem to the breaking point. Traditional models, those of expansion and conquest and all of the gore that go with them, are no longer sustainable, either physically or socially. If we are to survive in any decent form for more than a few more generations the political and economic models of past centuries need to be replaced with new ones that are more open and responsible to the public. Ones that consider the long term ecological well-being of the planet and all things that live upon it.

Current events show us that we have a long way to go yet, to reach that point. The question is, what price we will pay before we get there.


Jerry West grew up on a farm in Fresno County, California, and served with the US Marine Corps from 1965 to 1970 including 19 months in Vietnam with the Third Marine Division, and three years at MCAS Iwakuni where he became an anti-war organizer in 1970. He earned an Honors Degree in History at the University of California, Berkeley, and did two years of graduate study there. While in university he worked seasonally in fire and law enforcement with the US Forest Service.

After university he worked for a number of years in the international tour industry in operations and management before moving to a remote village on the west coast of Vancouver Island where he is currently the editor and publisher of The Record newspaper serving the Nootka Sound region. He is a Past President of the Northern California Land Trust, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

You can email Jerry West, Writer, at:

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Jerry West January 23, 2012 4:34 pm (Pacific time)

Hi Kevin, our weather has been warm with little snow and though I haven't checked the records the rainfall does not seem excessive, either. As for your comment, you missed the point. It matters not what most Americans think of the Occupy protesters, it is motive that I was addressing. And note, others includes the Tea Party who also "do not think that the Founding Fathers intended the country to look like it does today."

As for the right choice, not much choice at all except for maybe Ron Paul which would probably be a wasted choice.

Kevin January 23, 2012 8:28 am (Pacific time)

Hi Jerry. So it appears that your neck of the woods via the Jet Stream shifting has been getting a lot of our normal rainfall, except recently we got the "Pineapple Express" that caused some serious flooding in parts of Oregon. Jerry your comment "Americans like the Occupy Movement and others protesting the takeover of the system by big money and corporate privilege..." does not square with those who poll American opinion. For example: "51% See Occupy Wall Street Protesters As Public Nuisance... In fact, 51% of Likely U.S. Voters now view the protesters as a public nuisance. Only 39% see them as a valid protest movement representing the frustrations of most Americans." sters_as_public_nuisance //Jerry for full disclosure as a rancher/farmer my business inventory on my taxes puts me in the 1%, and though I work well over 100 hours a week, I sure don't feel rich, but yes I feel privileged to live in America. Most Americans also feel the same from what I've observed. Many are wising up to the propaganda from both sides. Now it appears choosing the lesser of evils is coming up for us, but it's a no contest on what the right choice will be.

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