I suppose it’s easy to confuse the grassroots efforts going on the Middle East right now with what’s happening here at home, with Tea Party activists and Wisconsin teachers.
Here’s why it doesn’t work. Over there, people are tossing out governments that have not represented them for at least 30 years – maybe really hundreds of years.
For whatever reason, these countries let their leaders do everything they wanted for decades. Maybe the people didn’t know any better, kept in a fog of lies, disinformation and propaganda. Maybe they were afraid for their lives, or their family’s lives. They feared retribution for speaking out.
But now, it’s changed. They are in the process of reclaiming their countries. How long that lasts remains to be seen. If they can establish ongoing, stable democracies or if the old dictatorships has yet to be played out.
We will all wait, and see. At the very least, things will be different than they were.
Here at home, the battle is between two groups have been overly represented since the 1970s. And their struggle, then has now, has been to take the government back from each other, like kids pulling on a toy.
Despite what either side wants us to believe, our current state of affairs socially, economically and politically cannot be blamed solely on one side or the other. It’s not just the fault of liberal spending or just fat-cat Republican donors looting the country to line their own pockets.
Both are true. Yet, depending on where you stand, you are expected to ignore one and decry the other. The result is a depressing nanny state, with restrictions tightening first on the left, then on the right – but never loosened, on either side.
Every few years, someone comes along promising us a revolution, a contract with America, an effort to restore hope or a tea party that is going to set things right. It never does. It’s the same old thing, dressed up year after year with better slogans.
And so, we keep fighting the same battles, over and over and over. The arguments are the same as they were in 1989, 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2003. The battle lines have not moved much in either direction.
After 30 years, don’t you think we’d get sick of it? Don’t you think we’d get tired of efforts to bring common sense to government sidetracked into punishments for political enemies?
Maybe that’s the next Facebook revolution.
We will all wait, and see. At the very least, things could be different than they are.