The desire for infinite power has destroyed characters in fiction many times. There is Ahab in Moby Dick, there is Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. You probably remember others in examples from literature that go back centuries from Shakespeare to ancient Greek plays. Megalomania ends badly for most everyone who is drawn into the appetites of a power-hungry person who can’t be satisfied. The endless hunger and reckless pursuit of coveted power ends badly.
When the Nixon era happened there was a concerted effort to undermine Nixon’s power base in press coverage both on television and in newspapers. Press coverage was unrelenting for months. I wondered at the disparagement of Nixon. Some said that Nixon was a power hungry and paranoid person and we Americans were all better off without him. Some said that opening China to trade and political negotiation was important and beneficial to foreign policy. Some liked Nixon’s War on Cancer using federal dollars. Some said that Nixon wasn’t worse than most other politicians that gradually had started using audio tape to record themselves and others. I was just a kid so I couldn’t understand much about it.
Later, as an adult, I noticed the Clarence Thomas controversy. During the Clarence Thomas hearings, I thought Anita Hill believed what she testified. But I wondered if she was overly sensitive and overly imaginative about events that she described. Recently we’ve seen Judge Kavanagh and Donald Trump attacked with invented stories dramatized by emotion. There is a pattern here. At this point, I can’t help but view Trump controversies as an artifact of the power hungry neoliberal era. It’s an example of Congress vs. the President.
Neoliberal American politicians and bureaucrats are aspiring to evade the real work of good governance. They have become corrupted by the increased power that the American government embraced and sanctioned after WWII in a response to global trade and political networks in the age of atomic weapons.
In today’s American government we see megalomania. We recognize players in the Military Industrial Complex who have the goal of exercising global military hegemony at huge cost and with terrible consequences. They seem to want military exercises to never end. Global economic and political negotiations are being backed up with military force. But this isn’t a solution to political and economic malfeasance. We see abuses of the U.S. monetary system leading to insolvency and inflation. We see monopolies abusing the public. We see disasters of deregulation in banking, communications, energy and transportation. We hear cheering for the computer information technology disruption of our economy, an economy that is measurably less prosperous. We observe a disastrous deconstruction of American small businesses in buy-outs leading to fewer jobs. There are lies being told about the success of self driving cars and the existence of artificial intelligence. There are absurd stories that suggest that American companies should replace people with expensive robots. There’s 23 trillion dollars of government debt and plans and promises to create more debt. Regulations such as the ACA make running a new business more expensive, forestalling small business formation. Algorithms are keeping people out of work.
There’s a bad moon rising and more trouble’s on the way.
Our neoliberal politics is so aggressive that each side is trying to have the other side arrested. Meanwhile, Congress doesn’t address problems facing most of us in America. If you look in the American Constitution the power of the executive and Congress are spelled out and so is how we elect them. That’s your power. You and I elect a president every 4 years, the House of Representatives members are elected every 2 years and Senate members are elected every 6 years. If everyone would agree to do it, we could sweep this disfunctional Congress right out of office by voting them out.
It would only take six years to vote out all the incumbents in Congress and it might gradually lead to better governance. Think how voting would be simpler if we voted out of office all congressional incumbents every election for as long as it takes to get rid of government malfeasance like what we see today. At least we could stop Congress members from negotiating for their own profit for years on end without caring about 90% of their American constituency.
We need a functional Congress with appropriate powers. Not a disfunctional Congress with bloated powers and aspirations that lead to corruption and mismanagement of our country. If you want to learn about ideological periods in American history, or changes in American politics that affect you buy a copy of Political Catsup with Economy Fries available at Amazon.com.