The tragedy of 9-11 defined President George W. Bush’s first term. America still hasn’t recovered from that terrible day. 9-11 changed our society, realigning us politically and culturally. A radical shift in leadership saw a generally collegial House and Senate weaponize Rahm Emmanuel’s famous commandment “Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste” into what we now see as zero-sum political warfare. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi served for the first time in 2011, while Harry Reid served through 2015. President George Bush served from 2001 through 2009. Our story today explains how open warfare replaced non-partisan relations during this period of fundamental change.
The Loss of America’s Innocence: 9/11’s Lasting Effects
The political process is, by design, contentious. Through this tension, the extremes of governance were supposed to be restrained, leading to gradual change, reliable policies, a degree of bipartisanship, and a predictable market economy. There were always exceptions to the rule; think of Clinton’s impeachment on the political side or the failure of S & Ls on the economic side as just a few examples. But 9-11 was so different, uniquely leading to profound changes in how we engaged the world and the trust we placed in our own citizens. Unprecedented permanent powers were created in American political culture to surveil citizens; secret intelligence courts were established and normalized, and America’s innocence was no more.
The beginning of the American political culture involves a rift between the government and its people results directly from vastly increased spending and subsequent actions taken to ‘protect us,’ which could also be construed as control of us. Politicians and agencies like the FBI later exploited its new mandate to increase their power and prestige. Today, we live with a weaponized bureaucracy and politicians at each other’s throats. The Union is in peril, and not enough of those in positions of power grasp the realities of a possibly impending Civil War. Too many citizens are very angry at our government.
Unveiling the Truth: The Hidden Costs of War
The first casualty of any war is truth. In this sense, war is more than actual combat. War also includes the political world from which war is born. We frequently engage in external wars to cement our domestic power structures. Carl von Clausewitz wrote,
“War is politics by other means.”
The world began to unravel when we engaged in, perhaps necessary but still ill-defined combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, and later in secret wars elsewhere. American Presidents have the power to conduct wars with Congressional agreements granted them under the War Powers Act of 1973. There must always be the sword, first as a warning to our enemies and later as actual power unleashed in defending our defined national interests.
We’ve had a problem defining our national interest for decades. This gave rise to wars conducted without defined endpoints. How has this happened? Once we decide to fight, why are we afraid to acknowledge openly that we’ll fight our enemies to destruction? Why do we not share our reasoning? Proxy wars are another layer of the onion and deserve an entire article.
From Duds to Dynamos – Leadership Spectrum
Our country has frequently been blessed with great leaders in our High Chambers and Presidency. Yes, there are the occasional duds in American political culture, but the tension built into our system has restrained rapid changes that would upset the proverbial apple cart. That changed with President Barack Obama in 2009. Obama was able to capitalize on a country that was at once fearful and hopeful. We were coming off of one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Even though we were technically out of recession before Obama’s inauguration, he commenced massive spending on a scale not seen outside of wartime.
Obama truly put the entitlement state on steroids. The national debt is $33 Trillion today. At the start of the Clinton administration, it was $12 Trillion. With assistance from his political acolytes, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, eight years of Obama fundamentally altered our country’s checks and balances by evil intent. Recall that Obama was a card-carrying socialist at one time and an unabashed community organizer who articulated a radically changed America. To our detriment, he achieved it, and we’re still paying for it through deficit spending, endless wars, and a contentious split between fiscal conservatives and dedicated Progressives who want no less than a Marxist America utopia. Many believe that Obama’s legacy of class warfare and our country’s ongoing destruction still bears his telltale fingerprints, if not direct control of its levers through the control of a compromised President Biden.
The Illusion of Caring Condrundum
Today, ours is a country perpetually at war with no end in sight. We’ve made a devil’s bargain resulting in out-of-control spending with Republicans seeking to adequately fund the Defense Department and Democrats in turn funding endless social programs that disincentivize people to work. We can’t afford them both, so we borrow money to cover the gap!
If you argue that taxation was inadequate, review the growth of government since 1965, and you will see an average 17.6% annual increase in revenue. However, in that same graph, spending has increased at an average rate of 19.8%. How much is enough? Whatever is available, the government will spend more. Deficit spending allows both parties to throw fiscal discipline to the winds.
Democrats demagogue relentlessly about their caring for the poor and helpless. Yet, after spending trillions of dollars on poverty, homelessness, and all, disenfranchisements are essentially unchanged or worse than before the Great Society Programs were established. These failures are pushing us to a reckoning with endlessly rising entitlement spending. Even present-day supporters are forced to equivocate and acknowledge the failures.
Progressive Politics and Personal Wealth: A Closer Look
Democrats, nay Progressives, tell you they hate the one percenters that steal from the poor, yet AOC preens in a $14,000 dress before fawning followers. The many millionaire Dems in both houses flaunt their wealth in clothing, jewelry, yachts, personal jets, and lavish trips and homes. How do they get away with their obvious Marie Antoinette Noblesse oblige? It’s another devil’s bargain they made with the poor power elite that exists in their special power blocks, like Jesse Jackson, who sent his children to elite private schools instead of Chicago’s infamous broken public schools where 85% of children graduate functionally illiterate.
Denver’s mayor flies to Mississippi to spend Thanksgiving with his family — after urging others to stay home.” The mayor of Austin, Texas, heads to Cabo San Lucas on a private jet. California’s governor dines at a swanky French restaurant with lobbyists, none wearing masks, a day after San Francisco’s mayor was there for a birthday party. Both had recently imposed tough rules on everyone else. Everything is an illusion in democratic politics.
75 Years of American Political Culture:
We’ll all be in our graves when these questions are answered. We must revisit our history today instead of waiting for times verdict. What will it be, folks, ready to fight? That’s what it’s going to take, friends.
God Bless America!
Allan J. Feifer—Patriot
Author, Businessman, and Thinker. Read more about Allan, his background, and his ideas to create a better tomorrow at www.1plus1equals2.com