Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Friday, November 15, 2013
Nothing Is Happening
Republicans aren't letting anything get done, and so nothing is happening. Given the Republican commitment to absolute obstruction it will only be through Democrats retaining control of the Senate and regaining control of the House that anything useful or even new can possibly happen for years and years. If they do, problems will get solved, if they don't nothing will happen and problems will persist while approval grinds away in the single digits. The ACA and lgbt civil rights victories aren't such a bad legacy for President Obama, and that's baked in the cake now. Otherwise, nothing is happening. Certainly, this is not a "Presidential Crisis." Republican obstruction is an ongoing, indeed, neverending crisis of sorts, but it is boring to say that over and over again every day even if it is always true day after day. Nothing is happening. Nothing is happening. President Obama has a press conference in which he talks about what it feels like to get racially profiled, President Obama has a press conference in which he soothes a horrified nation in the aftermath of yet another needless mass shooting, President Obama has a press conference in which he apologizes because a small fraction of people are losing healthcare plans they think they want because they are too stupid to grasp that crappy plans aren't worth wanting, but no legislation is happening to connect any real problems to any real problem-solving, nothing real is happening. Nothing is happening. People are going through the motions of being in motion, symbolic and ceremonial motions are making emotions slosh massively about. People are polled about this or that mirage they are crawling toward. But nothing is happening. Nothing is happening. Pundits are talking about all this nothing that is happening with same the energy with which they talk about something when it is happening, and so it is superficially easy to confuse this nothing that is happening with something happening. But it is nothing, not something. Nothing is happening, I tell you. Nothing is happening. The Republican "fix" of the latest trumped up healthcare non-problem is just another ritual repeal vote that won't go anywhere, the healthcare.gov website is already working incomparably better while obstructionists and ignoramuses continue to talk as though that isn't true while more and more Americans enroll and the law is implemented more and more. Diplomatic breakthroughs may take place, but probably not, executive orders may regulate greenhouse gasses, but not as effectively as legislation would manage and, anyway, the details of the diplomacy will exceed mass-mediated attention spans and be treated to roughly the same sort of misleading or entirely symbolic interpretations (as witness, Benghazi, Syria) and few of the real regulatory actors involved with executive orders will be the protagonists of the narratives the media tells about these regulations. Legislators will wave their hands and bark their slogans, but they will have nothing to do with anything that is happening if anything happens to happen, which is unlikely in any case. Nothing new is happening. Nothing is going to happen while the Republicans have the authority to stop anything from happening. Nothing is happening. That's what's happening.