Essays by Herb Meyer
The Re-Establishment of America
The American Thinker — February 18, 2010
America is on the verge of something unprecedented in history: the peaceful, constitutional replacement of our country's entire political establishment. This is what lies behind the decisions of so many elected officials, at every level, to step aside rather than fight for reelection. And it explains how the Tea Party movement can exert so much political leverage without nominating its own candidates or even without formally choosing its own leaders.
Most of the time, we Americans don't pay much attention to politics. We focus all of our energy on our jobs, our families, and our faith. We work hard, play by the rules, and wish only to be left alone. We love our country, consider ourselves blessed to be living here, and ask little from the men and women we elect except to keep from screwing things up.
But in just the last decade, Americans were shocked by two catastrophes we hadn't imagined our political establishment would allow to happen. The first was 9-11, when nineteen terrorists successfully attacked our homeland, and by doing so revealed that for years, al-Qaeda and its allies had been waging holy war against us. The second was the 2008 financial crash, which revealed that our economy is a house of cards built on a pile of debt so high we cannot possibly repay it.
Republicans blame Democrats, and Democrats blame Republicans. To ordinary, non-political Americans -- who grasp intuitively, and correctly, that both parties share responsibility for these two catastrophes -- these politicians seem like children who've turned a party into a food fight. And what do parents do when a children's party gets out of control? They turn off the music, turn out the lights, and send everyone home, including those few who weren't behaving badly and just got caught up in the melee.
Americans don't like getting tangled in the details of politics. We prefer to stand back and see the big picture. (This, by the way, helps explain the extraordinary appeal of Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin. That's what they do, too.) What the big picture is showing now is that our entire political establishment has failed. These were the men and women, both Republicans and Democrats, we relied upon to focus on the details, and by doing so, to keep us safe from terrorists and to keep the world's most powerful economy from imploding. And they blew it. So we'll replace them with a wholly new establishment -- some of whom will be Republicans, others Democrats, and a few Independents here and there -- and hope our next political establishment will get it right.
In the looming political battles, persona will matter more than policy. As we move toward the 2010 elections, of course we'll ask candidates to outline their plans for how to improve our health care system, what to do about illegal immigration, how to bring down the unemployment rate, how to fight the war, and all the rest. But what will determine who gets elected this year won't be a set of specific policies, but something simpler, and in a way much deeper: a recognition among grassroots voters across the political spectrum that character is more important than personality, that education isn't the same thing as judgment, and that expertise without common sense is dangerous.
Stand back from politics and you'll see the same re-establishment trend unfolding in other public arenas. Americans have decided that the mainstream media has failed, and so we are replacing The New York Times, the television network news departments, and all the rest with an entirely new media, including FOX News and websites like American Thinker and Lucianne.com. Americans have decided that our country's education establishment has failed -- our kids are barely learning to read and write, let alone taught our country's history -- so we're seeing the rise of private schools, charter schools, and home-schooling. Would anyone like to bet that within just a few years, we'll have a wholly new financial establishment on Wall Street to replace the greedy idiots who run it now?
The re-establishment of America won't be easy, and we'll make mistakes along the way. Some of the new people will prove just as worthless as they ones they replaced. And some very good people who now hold key positions in politics, the media, education, and finance will be swept away by the avalanche. That's too bad, but collateral damage is unavoidable.
No other country in history has ever attempted to replace its establishments so smoothly and so peacefully -- and so cheerfully -- as we are doing right now. And it isn't likely that any other country ever will attempt something like this. How exhilarating to realize that 234 years after our revolution, the United States is still the most dynamic, forward-looking, optimistic place on Earth. Boy, what an exciting time to be an American.