I’ve not spent too much time writing of local issues of late given the presidential election and what to me, are more interesting national issues. That said, I do think the national scene reflects some of the big picture things on the local scene.
If you follow the fallout from the recent election, the emerging meme centers on the realization that the GOP has their ‘bubble’ burst due to the ‘shellshock’ of the election. In other words, what happened is a heretofore unrecognized reality of the right due, in large part, to their media and ideological bubble.
As an example, I quipped the following when Dick Morris stated this of a Romney landslide: I feel much better that Dick Morris has predicted a landslide win for Romney. That pretty much seals an Obama victory as far as I’m concerned. It’s the Kristol principle.
While I’d like to boast of great insight, it’s really not a great feat of reason to recognize the inherent political hackery and hucksterism of Dick Morris and his ilk. What perturbs me however, is that this bubble is treated like a new thing that no one could see or recognize until this very election. Indeed, large swaths of the media now perpetuate the meme of a bubble or shellshock wholly ignorant in their complicity in this state of affairs. “Out damned spot!” , they seem to cry silently.
After all, is not the role of media to enable both sides to exist in some perfect balance of ideology — each equally just and equally reality-based but merely presenting two sides of that reality? If I say the sky is blue and clear as a liberal, then should not a conservative counterpart equally and rightly claim that the sky is green and cloudy? Because , if not, then the media would unduly to be taxed with pointing out who is right and who is wrong and that is not balanced and indeed , biased!. So when the very media finds itself shaking its head at those claiming the sky is green and cloudy , when it is clearly not, does not the media bear some responsibility for allowing the charade to progress to this point?
While this seems quite clear to me, the level of self-awareness by the media in this state of affairs remains elusive. The tool de rigeur for solving this mystery is not a magnifying glass or even a Scooby snack , but a simple mirror — the suspect will be more than evident.
While the national media pundits and their outlets are obvious — Morris, et al — at a local level, we fare no better in many ways. We are expected to buy into the bubble propagated by the mini-me’s of the national scene to believe a number of things economically and mathematically impossible on the local scene by pundits, partisans and politicos. I won’t detail them one-by-one but you can pick a random post on this blog to see the point.
THink about the big picture bubble here: we can improve academic performance of our schools by eliminating programs and staff; we can lower tax rates with zero-growth policies; we can return to the halcyon days of the 1950s if not for the Hispanics ; we can resolve tough municipal financial challenges by going through budgets line-by-line; we rebuild the city by demolishing it. And on, and on.
None of the above reflect reality yet they exist and flourish in our very own bubble here. The parallels of local events to some of the recent national events are striking :
Polling — if you recall during the Chalmers saga, the pundits and opposition latched on to a ‘poll’ to claim that no one wanted Chalmers and when questioned on the validity of the polling technique, we were treated to Dick Morris like levels of ‘unskewing’ of the polls and a claim to their polls being ‘right’ even though it violates every statistical principle to conducting a proper poll.
Dictatorship — apparently we still are subject to a dictatorship in our fair city as the existing elected administration had been accused similarly to the tyrant Obama ala the Tea Party. Never mind the election process, duly conducted under the existing election law– it’s still a dictatorship with your rights to free speech, assembly torn asunder not from reality but because they say so. And who are we to argue that we are right– it is all part of the balancing act to consider that view as reasonable and well-thought and sound.
Math — we can save upstate cities such as Amsterdam through things like consolidation, sharing services, lowering taxes even though we have absolutely no economic underpinning showing a positive return for such efforts nor any functional policy mechanism that drives taxes lower.
I could go on as the parallels are many.
I’d like to think that the bubble bursting causes some reflection on how, who, what, why and where in terms of really understanding what are increasingly complex and staggering problems but I’m not optimistic that will be the course. BY any measure, the Morrises, the Wills, et al would be yanked from the stage along with their mini-me’s but I don’t see the hook coming out quite yet.
I just see more bubbles.