Dr. No Gives Us a Chance To Pause and Reflect
by Allan Stevo
I have a friend who is a commodities broker that tells me "the markets love gridlock." They love when Washington can’t make up its mind.
Well, I tell him, then Ron Paul is the candidate he wants, because neither the Republican nor the Democratic establishment will be excited to see him as president. Ron Paul and the insiders aren’t going to agree on a darn thing.
You see, anyone who appreciates Ron Paul (me included) is going to have a lot of work cut out for him if he wants to see a Paul administration accomplish anything legislatively. January 20, 2013 is Inauguration Day. That’s the day we can march into DC alongside President-elect Ron Paul, but DC will not want us there. If we leave Ron Paul in DC alone with the wolves, nothing will be accomplished legislatively, and even if we don’t leave him alone with the wolves, it’s still unlikely that much will happen legislatively.
And that’s okay. That’s no problem. The system was set up that was – to be slow, to be full of "red tape." You see the red tape was built into the federal system to bind the hands of the government. It was not meant to bind the hands of anyone else. The more slowly moving and powerless government was, the less of a chance it had of destabilizing the people that permitted that government to exist. Making it slow moving would help ensure that government would be long lasting, because no one would care enough about it to want to overthrow it.
Finishing An Important Project
Have you ever worked full speed at a project, obsessively, over a long period of time, to finally accomplish the goal with resounding success only to wake up the next morning not knowing what to do?
It’s a common phenomena. That’s a great opportunity to give yourself some time to take a vacation, shore up your duties, take care of other responsibilities, recharge your batteries, rebuild your resources, and plan for your next step. It’s a great time to stop and think.
Two decades after the Cold War, that war that NATO survived and the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not survive, we have yet to determine what our priorities are in terms of foreign policy. And who can think clearly as we continue full speed ahead, without a vacation in which we can pause and reflect on the role of our foreign policy in a post-Cold War world.
A decade after the September 11 attacks, we have yet to figure out what our priorities are. Is it to engage in costly nation-building in the country that housed some of the terrorists that planned an attacked on us (Afghanistan)? Is it to take loads of lobbying money from the country where 15 of the 19 hijackers were from (Saudi Arabia)? Is it to bipartisanally bomb, probe, and annoy every country on the Neo-Con hitlist (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan)? Our foreign policy, to make an understatement, feels sort of unfocussed.
Two years after the passage of Obamacare, we have yet to figure out a way to talk about our major crisis in healthcare in a reasonable way. And there is undoubtedly a crisis; almost everyone on all sides agrees with that. We have yet to figure out how to talk about higher education. We have yet to talk reasonably about the housing market. All of these areas of life are being held at artificially high prices, essentially making involvement in them increasingly unlikely for many Americans without some sort of outside assistance.
In the middle of an economic crisis of epic proportion, we have yet to take a look at what kind of long-term policy might be sensible to solving the problem we are in the midst of. And our discussions on all of these issues seem incapable of going beyond mere 9 second media talking points and "I gotcha!!" one line zingers. We can do better than that.
We are running willy-nilly. And I might even wonder if the special interest groups in America like seeing Americans running willy-nilly. Fifteen years ago, the fictional movie Wag the Dog expressed that concern – the concern that vast groups of people might be manipulated for political gain.
Ron Paul Slows It Down
Ron Paul in the Oval Office slows all of that down. Under a Ron Paul presidency, journalists might continue business as usual and ask on camera: "Should the next bank bailout be $1.25 trillion or $1.28 trillion? There is a divisive fight in Washington about just that. Republican supporters of the $1.25 trillion relief bill are saying tax-and-spend Democrats are being fiscally irresponsible, while Democratic supporters of the $1.28 trillion relief bill are saying Republicans risk lowballing the solution and undermining the long-term success of the Rescue America’s Happiness Act. Let’s turn to our correspondent on Capitol Hill to ask ‘What are the congressional Democrats and Republicans saying about the next bailout to the banks?’" They can encourage that kind of false, narrowly framed debate, just like they are encouraging that kind of debate now. Ultimately, however, that debate won’t matter under a Ron Paul presidency. It doesn’t matter, because either party’s bailout is getting vetoed.
Legislation is so often presented as if a quick response is necessary and correspondingly, we get conned into having these heated debates over a $1.25 trillion or $1.28 trillion bailout, when many Americans don’t think a bailout is a good idea at all.
What are congressional Republicans and Democrats saying about legislation to eliminate steroids in baseball, to regulate the cost of healthcare, or offer free birth control, none of which are mentioned in the U.S. Constitution? It doesn’t matter. It’s getting vetoed.
What are Republican and Democratic insiders saying about extending the Patriot Act, expanding the War on Drugs, or placing sanctions on some distant country? It doesn’t matter. It’s getting vetoed.
How are the Democrats and Republicans on the Hill responding to the latest outcry from the media on injury bounties in the NFL, the punditry’s insistence for indefinite detention, or the demand that the Federal Reserve Bank be protected behind a veil of secrecy to ensure its independence? Guess what. It doesn’t matter. It’s getting vetoed.
These are all significant issues that I’m happy Americans are debating, because it allows us opportunities to think and to hear new ideas. It’s just not likely that those ideas will be acted on during a Ron Paul presidency. Either that, or Ron Paul will achieve unprecedented levels of bipartisan cooperation as Congress overrides his vetoes, which could happen, but would be a tough task.
Thinking of the Future
Ron Paul will be the gridlock president. Ron Paul will be the president that stops the midnight secret legislation. Ron Paul will be the president of anti-anti-Constitutional legislation. Some people won’t like that, but I know a lot of Americans for a long time into the future will love it. My generation and the generations after me will be grateful that America in the year 2012 decided to spend 4 years having a discussion about the course of our country.
We’ll be grateful that Americans decided to have that discussion rather than running around the world like a former Cold Warrior trained to kill whoever the bogeyman is, uneasy when he’s not geared up to kill a bogeyman. Uneasy when he’s with himself in a room, where it’s quiet and he needs to hear his own thoughts. And hopefully in that moment, we won’t hear our own vacuousness. Because that will feel scary. We need a minute to rest, to re-establish a working relationship between the government and the people, to pause and think instead of being knee-jerk in our long-term planning.
Time won’t end in 2012. Time to prepare for the future. Time for Ron Paul, the debate his presidency will inspire, and the calming gridlock that will come of that.