As a public service, Stonekettle Station provides the following Debt Ceiling comment template free of charge. Use this handy guide when composing your outraged debt ceiling deal response on FoxNews, Yahoo Forums, MSNBC, or any other place on the web were extremists gather to rub uglies and salute America:
Goddamn those [circle one: Faithless Bastards / Cowardly Sons of Bitches / Filthy Nazi Traitors]! The stinking [circle one: Rethuglitards / Dumbocraps / ball sucking teabaggers] caved in and sold America out to [circle one: Wall Street / Terrorists / Satan]! America is [circle one: A Liberal Hellhole/A Conservative Nightmare/Cursed By Jesus]! Personally, I blame [circle one: B. Hussein Obama / Dick “Deadeye” Cheney / Cats]!
Today, I’m reminded of a myth.
A myth called the United States.
It’s a cheerful myth. Triumphant, and inspiring.
It’s not true, but hey, that doesn’t mean it’s not persistent and pervasive and widely held, this fiction of America.
You all know this story. You were taught it in school. It looks something like this:
Serious and respectful men, our founding fathers, weighted down by the gravitas of history and the importance of their task. They came together in Philadelphia, in a wing of the Pennsylvania State House, and led by General George Washington they forged the United States of America. There they wrote the Constitution and the words and the ideals of that document were so profound and enlightened that they flowed inspired from the minds of these great men and onto the paper, perfect and true. Afterward, their great task complete, the men of the Constitutional Convention shook hands, posed long enough for Chandler Christy to paint that iconic picture, and then went home to the adulations of a new nation’s citizens.
Uh no, actually. Not so much.
That’s the thing with myths. They’re neat and tidy, shiny and simple. Myths are made to inspire, to teach, to caution, to remind, to fit into a patriotic picture or into a single paragraph in a grade school history book. That’s the problem with myths, they’re little more than a hollow mask, a shell, shaped to fit whatever particular agenda suits the current generation.
Reality, of course, pales in comparison. Reality is dirty and harsh and unpleasant and petty and complicated.
The Founders and the Framers weren’t great men. I know, gasp! But it’s true, they were not great men, they were just men – no more noble and no less petty and no different than the people of today.
Yes, yes, I know, I’m talking sacrilege here, heresy – that’s what happens when you turn history into myth, into a religion.
Sacrilege or not, those who framed the Constitution were just men. Childish upon occasion, like Patrick Henry who stayed away from Philadelphia because he was sure the others were conspiring to create a new monarchy – or climb into bed with the old one. Rhode Island wanted to go their own way and refused to send any delegates at all. A number came with their own plans and their own agendas and a fierce determination not to give up the things that they held dear – such as their slaves. At the Convention, the framers fought and they argued and they quarreled, often to shouting and sometimes to fisticuffs. The Constitution wasn’t perfect on the first draft, or the second, or the third, or even the fourth or fifth. The Constitution sure as hell wasn’t divinely inspired by God, or any other deity for that matter. No, in the end, the Constitution was a product of men, of hard work and fierce passions and months of acrimonious debate and ultimately of compromise. Of the fifty-five delegates, eighteen, nearly one third of the caucus, initially refused to sign the finished product (two later did) and thirteen walked out rather than participate in the final ceremony because they considered the constitution a failure. In the end, they left many things undone, not the least of which was the Bill of Rights.
When they were finished and the document that would become the US Constitution was ready to be sent to the states for ratification, Benjamin Franklin said,
There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution.
In other words, they did the best they could.
In the end, they did what they had been sent to do. They compromised.
And nobody was happy with the finished product.
Nearly two and a half centuries later, democracy is still dirty and loud and acrimonious. It often comes to shouting and sometimes to fisticuffs.
And it’s still about compromise.
I’ve said it here before and I’ll likely say it again: if you always get everything you want, you’re not living in a democracy.
The bill signed into law by President Obama this morning is certainly not perfect. And nobody got everything they wanted. And that’s just plain how it is.
Liberals are unhappy.
Conservatives are unhappy.
And I have to smile, because after all of this, after all of the fiery rhetoric and stubborn obstinacy, we’ve come together in our unhappiness.
However, look around, really, look left, look right and see who you’re standing with.
Reading through the comments under the usual news sites today is enlightening:
This was no deal, democrats, got everything they wanted, and used fear, and lies, to scare the republicans, to give in!
Yeah, the democrats got everything they wanted. And those Republicans, boy, they sure folded up like a cheap card table, didn’t they? That’s why liberals are all so damned happy today. Yup. Of course, I saw half a hundred comments that said, this was no deal, the republicans got everything they wanted…
The USURPER and THIEF will NOT be happy until taxes go UP for ALL and NOT just for the rich !! Just driving the U.S.A. into the ground
This was posted under a Yahoo article quoting President Obama’s post-signing address where he emphasized that the next step was to lower taxes on the middle class. Of course, usurpers aren’t to be trusted. Birtherism, it just never goes out of style, does it?
AND WHY SHOULD I PAY MORE FOR BEING A SUCCESS TO SLIME THAT WON'T WORK????????? WELFARE LEECHES ARE KILLING OUR COUNTRY
Captain Question Mark to the rescue, and his sidekick, All CAPS Boy!
Wake up sheeple! RON PAUL is our only hope!
I’m picturing the commenter holding two cinnamon buns to the side of her head and chanting, Help me, Obi Ron, you’re our only hope!
Keep falling Dow yay down show how idiot Capitol Hill!!!
I have no idea what the hell this guy was on about, but I admire his enthusiasm.
Next up is bouncing your half-African a s s out of the White House
I guess Obama will be taking Zira and the girls on a vacation now that the debt problem is solved.
Nothing like a little racism to spice up the debate. Extra points for the Planet of the Apes ref. Well played.
This "Debt Deal" is no more than extension of the stimulus! Obama wants to spend more and tax more!
Right, because, you know, it’s not Congress who writes the budget. Excellent grasp of the issues, by the way, this guy should run for office, maybe Michelle Bachman needs a speech writer.
Obama say "Debt deal is only the beginning." Beginning of WHAT?
What indeed? FEMA death camps? New World Order? “Healthy” Happy Meals? What’s going on?
Ahhh, the left wing nuts are about to get there socialist/communist empire. Only thing left on Obama's agenda is repeal of the 22nd Amendment so he can rule over his Soviet Styled Empire!!!
I’m hoping that after Obama waves his magic wand and repeals the Constitution and the Commies take over, the new totalitarian regime will enforce strict use of the proper forms of there, they’re, and their (also, “a lot”). The Gulag, I think, is not too much for violation of the grammar laws.
Now he [Obama] wants to punish those who have made smart moves and become wealthy.
LIke Charlie Seen and Paris Hilton. Or say John Thane, you know, the guy who was CEO of Merrill Lynch and managed to ass-rape about half of America before he went out the door with a twenty million dollar golden parachute. Yeah, he’s probably suffered enough.
The anti-christ speaks.......
Question, how come the Anti-Christ gets to be president and Jesus only shows up on moldy cheese sandwiches? You ever wonder about that?
Quite simple to fix this problem now and into the future. Let people who have no job(s), no savings, are destitute, no hope for the future, are sick and a drag on the medical system, unable to adapt, all of them and types like them DIE!
We’ll call that plan B.
Run, Sara, Run!
In my head, I hear this in the Jenny voice from Forrest Gump. Followed by “I am not a smart man…”
IMPEACH THESE DICTATORS!
Impeach the dictators? Why didn’t I think of that! I didn’t even know you could impeach a dictator. Why in the hell are they fighting in Libya and Syria, why don’t they just impeach the dictator?
Why have a commilson just ask republicans what they want make it law right obama or do you need tell it gona happen then make it law
I have no idea what the hell this guy is on about, but I admire his enthusiasm.
Where's Robin Hood when you need him? Our politicians have reality #$%$backwards! When are they going to figure out that feudalism doesn't work? It didn't work in feudal Europe and it doesn't work in corporate America, which is just an extension of feudalism...
Robin Hood? Like rob from the rich and give to the poor Robin Hood? Like redistribute the wealth Robin Hood? So it’s sort of like Reaganomics then, only instead of waiting for wealth to tickle down, the poor hide in the ditch alongside the Interstate and wait for rich people to drive by? Interesting.
There’s more. Much, much more. The comments under the various Yahoo news articles number in the tens of thousands, all just like the ones above.
As I said, look around and see who you’re standing with, I sure as hell hope it’s not these chuckleheads. If you want a better democracy, you need to start with better citizens – and these people aren’t it.
Sure, none of us are happy with this deal.
Liberals are pissed at Obama for caving on the tax reform issue and for allowing some changes to entitlement programs.
Conservatives are pissed that the cuts weren’t deeper.
The Tea Party is pissed because their silly balanced budget amendment nonsense got dumped.
Everybody is afraid of what comes next.
Still, and here’s the thing, we didn’t default on our debts. Whatever comes next, we didn’t default on our debts. Try to remember that, because that was the important part.
This deal pushes the debt ceiling question out past the 2012 election, which means we don’t have this idiotic horse puckey as a distraction for the next year. Really, be grateful for small favors.
The super committee, folks there are a hell of a lot worse things that could have happened. I’m not big on the idea either, but in a highly partisan environment going into an election year, the super committee was most likely the best option. Really. This is how we finally bypassed the squabbling bullshit in congress and started getting rid of superfluous military bases after the Cold War – and that benefitted every single taxpayer in the US. If we’d gone through the normal process instead of the BRAC Commission, congress would still be arguing over it. People keep bitching about congressional gridlock. People keep talking about real debt reduction. There is no way you’re going to get five hundred and thirty three politicians, especially in an election year, to agree to anything more than they already have. You’ve got a group of extremists, and yes I’m talking about these Tea Party terrorists and Michelle Bachman can kiss my big white hairy ass, that have demonstrated a willingness to crash the government. You just saw it happen. There are damned few ways around these suicide bombers. The super committee is the only really workable solution in the current environment.
The extremists on both side are damned near apoplectic with rage. Some of them might have fatal strokes as a result. But for the rest, well, you know who they are now. You know who the uncompromising bastards are now. If nothing else, this battle has smoked them out into the open. Now, it’s up to you, vote them the hell out of office.
At the end of the day, the deal got done.
It’s not perfect. Just as the original Constitution wasn’t perfect.
There is still work to be done, just as there was back then. There’s always work to be done.
To paraphrase old Ben: There are several parts of this bill which I do not at present approve, but with some work and level headed compromise someday I might. I doubt that any other caucus could have made a better deal, for all of us.
Politics is the art of the possible and democracy is about compromise.
Ben Franklin had it right. Democracy is hard and dirty and sometimes it’s just plain downright ugly.
But it’s the best system we’ve got.
Unless you’d prefer to believe in myths.