Is the perfect truly the enemy of the good? Pardon me if I don't feel inclined to bow down before this mind-squashing bit of sophistry. First of all, I take issue with that loaded word, "perfect." Its employment here targets all opposition by casting it per se as unreasonable. If you don't accede to a given compromise, you are holding out for some outrageous fantasy, beyond anything potentially achievable.
Is it hewing to perfection to critique a particular compromise as not a compromise but a capitulation? Apparently. Today's press brings news of a pending government shutdown. President Obama whines that, having done the Republicans' bidding in protecting massive tax breaks (GE paid $0 in taxes last year), having taken an axe to programs that serve all Americans, having in fact compromised for what he and they see as "the good," Speaker of the House John Boehner comes back, demanding more cuts. Well, doh! It's been shown that the President and Democratic lawmakers either lack gristle from neck to hindquarters, or they're simply lackeys for the handful of Americans who will benefit from these measures. Hell, I'd come back for more too. And you know what? The Republicans will get it all, every last greedy measure they seek to stave off raids on their treasure--oops, I mean, Treasury, of course,
Wisconsin public workers bailed on an agreement that not only cut wages and hiked up their healthcare costs but slashed their right to collective bargaining. The workers had agreed to substantial pay cuts and reduced contributions from government to their overpriced health insurance, but balked at giving up the right to have a say in their own working conditions. Having that say was fought and died for a hundred years ago by workers who understood perfectly what happened when a wage slave looked to his or her boss for fair treatment. Wisconsin public servants found themselves slandered as "greedy", even by some union workers who had succumbed to propaganda from Fox News. The New York Times ran a front-page bit of hackery, declaring, on the basis of a couple of interviews with unionized workers, that civil servants had no support at all from those who ought to root for their victory. Meanwhile, tax breaks for the rich and corporate America continue to suck the country dry while the average US citizen turns her attention to terrorist threats, immigrants stealing all the best jobs, welfare bums, and overpaid public employees.
Former Senator Alan Simpson blasts the elderly as American's "greediest generation". http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/26/deficit-commission-chair-seniors-greediest-generation/ This comes from a man who spent most of his working life on the public dole, receiving excellent healthcare benefits and a tidy income representing the interests of wealthy Americans. Perhaps he'd like to see older Americans hoisted onto one of those disappearing ice floes, drifting out to sea rather than sucking up more of his tax dollars. In fact, many of those who want to eradicate Medicare and throw out “Obamacare” (meaning government subsidies to the insurance industry, which really really needs them) don’t object to feeding at the public trough when it comes to their own needs:
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act that Congress passed earlier this year are criticizing U.S. Rep.-elect Andy Harris as a hypocrite for asking why there was a delay in his government-funded health insurance coverage for him and his family when he campaigned on rolling back the legislation.
Politico reported on Nov. 15 reported that, during an orientation meeting for newly-elected representatives and staff members, Harris asked why he had to wait almost a month for health insurance coverage to begin for himself and his family after he is sworn in.
The compromise well-heeled Americans want to see goes like this: Poorer Americans give up Social Security, all public services, healthcare, good roads, public schools that aren't cesspools, and any protection of their environment. In exchange, the rich get to hold onto their taxes. Otherwise, poorer Americans are blasted as avaricious pursuers of "the perfect", thumbing their noses at the country's greater good.
How is it that American voters fall meekly for this twisted drivel? Why don't the majority of citizens see that ads for so-called "wealth management," drizzled across billboards throughout the land, ought really to advertise "poverty management"? Only 400 American families require wealth management. The rest of us house, feed, and medicate ourselves to a greater or lesser extent at the mercy of those 400 clans.
Back to the so-called perfect. Substantive changes have always been achieved through the rigidity of those characterized as completely unreasonable. And contrary to the brainwashing touted as "American history class", none of those gains originated with our lawmakers. Social Security was the compromise made with a restive working class, energized by the Wobblies (IWW). To the extent that any oversight of collegiate sports exists today, that was wrought largely through the fanaticism of a man who never met a compromise he liked: Harry Edwards. In the 1960s, civil rights workers risking their lives--to end racial discrimination as well as state terror that kept black voters away from the polls--heard nothing but "be patient" from the nation's leadership. Even the revered Abraham Lincoln dragged his feet on issuing the Emancipation Proclamation so that William Seward observed on its passage that it had been a fact since the first gun fired at Fort Sumter, one the Administration was the very last to hear. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/magazine/mag-03CivilWar-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&sq=Butler%20runaway%20slaves&st=cse&scp=1
Our leaders have always been wet fingers in the wind, following wherever the strongest forces will lead them. Right now, apart from the fascistic right, the people are all but silent.
As the song goes, "When will they ever learn?"