Alex Massie, a British journalist, recently wrote an insightful column about the fact that our current government is less than competent. Far less than competent. His article was printed in the Dallas Morning News, but first appeared at ForeignPolicy.com.
Massie started his essay by mentioning the fact that pressure was put on FDR to restrict foreign screenings of Frank Capra’s film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. Joseph Kennedy apparently said that he was worried the Allies would see the government in an unfavorable light. Apparently, the Senate Majority Leader, Alben Barkley form Kentucky, was also worried about the message of the film. He called it a “grotesque distortion” of Washington politics that suggested that the senate was nothing more than an “aggregation of nincompoops.”
The next line in Massie’s essay cracked me up, “So, not much has changed in the last 70 years.”
I have mentioned this wonderful film before when writing about politics and the comedy that is our current political system. The idealist in me wishes that the film would become required viewing in every political science class across our country. Then maybe some other idealistic person would say, “Wow, what a novel idea. We should do what the people want, not what the party wants. If I go to Washington, I will make a promise to change things, and I will live up to that promise. One in office, I will no longer be representing my party. I will be representing the people.”
Then another young person would get the same idea… and another….and another.
If nothing happens to change the status quo- whether it is my idealistic dream or some other effort, we are destined to have more of the same in Washington for God knows how long.
Massie wrote that “American elections used to have consequences. Now they merely determine which party the public wants to hate next.”
How sad. Is that the legacy we want for future generations?