I note that there is a poll coming up in the pipeline asking who can save the USA. So there is an assumption that the country is failing to hold itself together.
There are many signs that something serious is wrong, but is it a fair assessment that a saviour is needed?
It may be informative to look at another place where the system is really failing and there is no one to save it.
I wonder how informed the nerds are of major events happening in an inconsequential little nation a long way from the USA.
Is anyone here aware of the Constitutional Crisis currently under way in Papua New Guinea? At present the country has two prime ministers and two Police Chiefs, all fighting each other, and the Chief Justice was arrested yesterday.
I am not accusing anyone here of being xenophobic: just making a comment on the priorities of our news media.
PNG is a country having no importance in the USA. Probably very few Americans could place it on a map – although thousands of our soldiers and marines died there in 1942 and ’43. They are not alone, because I recently asked some quite well educated (privately) Brits and they placed it somewhere in central Africa.
Personally I think this fledgeling democracy, having an unsophisticated populace, and no left/right split in its politics, and benign colonial past, makes an interesting case study on the essential viability of one type of democratic system. Some of the usual disruptors are not present and we can see more clearly the collapsing framework of a failing parliamentary system. It is all happening in a slow and relatively gentle way because this is not a revolution, or a military coup, or even an economic disaster, but a failure of the foundations of the system of government. Of course, the police and military have to step in when things get really bad, but in this case they reflect the problems, and are not causing them.
The members of the PNG Parliament are elected to do one thing only, and that is to bring prosperity to their home village and the region around it. They campaign on the money that they can bring in, and they are removed if they fail to deliver it. Parliament then becomes hung up on development issues and the big companies, particularly in mining, throw money around until most representatives have been corrupted. It is important to understand that they do not regard this as corruption because it is precisely what they were elected to do. The politicians are the modern equivalent of tribal leaders and they have always strengthened their position by gaining wealth for themselves and their region. National issues are of little interest to them unless they impact on their region. How could they form stable political parties in this environment? Instead they had a shifting coalition of self-interest, but one which remarkably seemed to appoint the same Prime Minister for several decades: which gave a veneer of stability. Now he is old and losing his grip so the country is falling apart.
Perhaps the things that divide Americans into the conservative and centrist camps are actually giving our politics a stability through the predictability that they provide. If it doesn’t destroy us, then maybe it makes us stronger.
If the USA did not have the historical, social and wealth divisions that it does, would it be more or less stable?
If we all held the same beliefs about the economy, society and foreign relations, how would congress divide into a government and an opposition. Would the booty of pandering and corruption be all that is left to fight about?
Similarly tagged OmniNerd content: