Has American Politics Always Been Like This?

I wanted this blog to focus exclusively on ethics, not politics. But I’m having a hard time understanding what’s going on right now in my nation. In the wake of what ought to be huge scandals, the major papers are writing headlines like,

Is This Really A Scandal At All?

Will GOP Focus On Scandals Result In Backlash?

GOP Enjoying Scandals Too Much?

I might sound staunchly conservative (in some things, I am), but I’m not a GOP party hack. I’ve never even voted for a Republican. Ever. I faithfully voted straight Democrat party ticket until 2008, at which point – disgusted with George W. Bush – I was ready to vote for whichever (D) candidate won the primaries. The 2008 election – or more specifically the way it was handled –  made me lose faith in the essential “goodness” of these people that was so essential to my trust in their promise to “fix” America’s problems.

Not that I imagine for a moment that Republicans are “good”. Of course they’re just as bad. It was stupid of me to ever assume professional politicians on either side of the aisle are nice, ethical, good people who just want to make the world better. Ha!

But now I’m no longer a single-party ticket type. Absolutely no more ignoring the things “my side” does, or issues I don’t quite agree with, for the sake of “party loyalty”. Party loyalty appears to me to be exactly what is out of control right now. (I can agree with nine out of ten things a person of either party says, and they will hate me for that one thing I don’t quite agree with ’em on. This didn’t always used to be how it was. America really has gotten more polarized lately.)

And I am recognizing something in others that I remember from my own self: the part about not really paying attention. I hated Bush largely because the media told me to, and I was ready to vote for whichever candidate was chosen for me. When I look around, I see most people are equally apathetic. I fear the reason might be simply that corruption problems have gotten so bad that people are simply afraid to look. I mean, take the IRS scandal: one political party is using the the most powerful agency in the Executive branch to target, investigate, harass, and sabotage the other political party – with reason to suppose that at least some targets were not only getting audited by the IRS, but investigated by the FBI, OSHA and  ATF, and being fined tens of thousands of dollars for trivial offenses. And now we know that it couldn’t possibly have been a “few low-level rogues” – and people are still arguing about whether this qualifies as a scandal?

Worse: the real scandal – the as-yet-still-unanswered questions about what happened in Benghazi (and why the cover-up) is not being covered at all. Not because it’s been resolved or because it’s not a story people care about, but just – dropped. As if it never happened. Not even mentioned any more, except by tiny, unknown blogs (like mine) and/or in reference to Susan Rice’s promotion from official White House liar to National Security Adviser.

Meanwhile, the other, smaller scandals – (“smaller” being relative – any of which would have been huge if George W. Bush had been in office when they broke) – seem minor. Insignificant.  Sebelius violating ethical boundaries? The White House assigning itself to investigate itself re: massive phone tapping of reporters’ phones? And what ever happened to the drone thing – we aren’t still doing that, are we? (Are we?)

The cognitive dissonance has gotten scary. I think I’m gonna go read a book….