America’s election

In this world, there is something called an accident. This election comes to mind.

So, lots of Republicans in Congress now, from what I hear. Big disappointment (but not entirely unexpected) for much of the educated classes, from which most of my online friends come. I don’t think they really understand what is going on, but then most of them are still young and also don’t have much time to listen to the silence. So, public service announcement here!

This election does not show that America has finally realized that Sarah Palin was sent by God to restore the World’s Greatest Nation to its former glory and purity. It is just a natural, almost mechanical, fluctuation in the voting masses to restore equilibrium. In a democratic society, people really and with a vengeance dislike one-party rule. And it hasn’t been this one-party for quite a while. With the Democrats in control of Congress, Senate, Presidency and Supreme Court, it was no wonder people got cold feet. This is simply not natural, and I mean that in the most mechanical sense.

Let me illustrate with an example from my native Norway. The political constellations are a bit different: The Supreme Court is less politically active, the King not at all. The cabinet is in practice chosen from the majority of the parliament.  The current center-left coalition came into power replacing a center-right coalition. The non-socialists had delivered 4 years of rapid personal income growth, increased economic liberty, lower taxes AND budget surplus. Despite this, they were voted out.  It makes no sense to those who think general elections are some kind of referendum on the success or failure of the government. But that is only part of the truth, you see.

The other part is the modern equivalent of the ancient Jewish tradition of laying all the sins of the people on the head of a goat and chasing it out in the wilderness – the origin of the word “scapegoat”.

With the Democrats everywhere, there was simply no chance of finding a goat elsewhere. Well, they could have started a war, but it is not really their forte. So, the sins of the people are laid on the head of the incumbent congressmen, and they are chased out in the desert.  Just like their Republicans predecessors were less than a decade ago. People seeks some deep meaning in this, but people sought some deep meaning in the goat as well, no doubt. In reality, it is an almost mechanical mass reaction in the collective psyche.

If the election results end up being as first reported, a kind of balance is restored: The Democrats can blame the goddamn idiots in Congress, and the Republican can blame the goddamn idiots in the White House and Senate. There will no doubt be further oscillations in the years to come, if any. But the important part is that everyone now has someone to blame, so can continue their dysfunctional behavior until the next goat-scaping season.