That’s a variation on a popular TV doctor’s question and this particular question keeps running through my mind.
This blog is entitled ‘Flowers and Philosophy’, because I’m both intensely interested and still learning about both subjects. But it has occurred to me, during this political season, that philosophy covers a really wide area of exploration. And politics as a subject surely comes within that area of exploration. So we are reading and studying and trying to understand.
Although there are obviously certain unifying themes that bind our two large parties into their respective groups, it also seems that each party, Democratic or Republican, has a number of factions, so that one could also say that each party has conservative, moderate and liberal strata, and that makes a count of six. Then there is the Libertarian Party, and probably a number of others of which I am blissfully unaware. I can’t seem to count the Tea Party as a fully-formed entity, since it appears, at least to me, to be a group encapsulated within the Republican Party, and containing the very most extreme right elements of that party. It’s interesting that the Libertarian Party seems, at least on the surface, to contain many of the same elements. Down with government and all that.
But here’s the thing: parties and platforms and slogans and signs are all well and good, but what, if anything, do they have to do with government? To which one could also respond, “What government?” Is all of this folderol all that’s left? Is the lawmaking body of our government going to forever be preoccupied with election and then re-election and vilifying the opposition, while our economy and we who live within that economy dwindle and dwindle until there is no more optimism, no more invention and innovation, no more good old American pushiness? On the one hand, one reads that small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economic machine. On the other hand, one hears that large corporations are vital for growth, so that large corporations are being protected at the expense of small businesses. Or we hear that corporations are people. I always thought people were people.
Surely the major programs which have stabilized our country, including Social Security and Medicare and student loans and unemployment and such, have evolved since they were introduced. Surely introducing new programs such as the Jobs Act and other proposals that create a triumvirate between educational institutions and government and the private sector could be tried and then perhaps adjusted to maximize their benefits. And surely, if we never try, we’ll never know.