Bernie Madoff will go down in history as a notorious hypocrite and renown con who bilked people out of millions of dollars. Milli Vanilli the German R&B duo was also a con. A magic show might be called a con.
We can agree, not all cons are created equal. Let’s admit; there is a lot of space between Madoff and magic. The former is real; the later is make-believe. One destroys while the other entertains.
Certainly, we seldom think of America as a con. We usually, think of cons as shadowy figures, notorious sleazebags, gamblers, hucksters and hustlers who have perfected the craft of trickery and deceit.
The Great American Con
Washington, DC is a con, and its position on the con spectrum has it next to Madoff.
The passage of the 2018 omnibus bill was Congress conning America with its careful choice of words, slight of hand and secret ways of doing things.
It was Washington that conned us into believing Obamacare could solve our healthcare woes. Barack Obama was not unlike P.T. Barnum under the big tent declaring, “If you like your policy, you can keep it…if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” It’s a con job.
GOP lawmakers conned us by sending bogus, certain to be vetoed legislation to Obama calling for the repeal of the ACA. It was just another big con.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) have become this generation’s national con artists. There simply is no other conclusion we can draw from their words and actions.
While the ability to con voters has always been the primary tradecraft of skilled politicians, the production of the omnibus program by McConnell and Ryan took the craft to a whole new level. With con-like agility, speed and slight of hand, the omnibus bill was crafted, delivered, voted on and signed into law. Madoff likely blushed.
The $1,300,000,000,000 omnibus magic show was just the latest in a long line of con jobs. President Trump admitted, with a look of exasperation, “No one’s read it.” He signed it anyway while mumbling something about the need for military funding…more con. He topped it off with, “I won’t do it again.” Still, more con.
Our National Blindspots
One would think that by now we would recognize the DC con game a scheme that continues unabated and bolder than ever.
During each campaign, politicians con us with words and magic acts. We want to believe candidates are telling us the truth. We desperately want to believe rabbits can be pulled from empty hats, and that people can be cut in half and then magically reappear intact. Politicians know we want to believe them, so they shape their message around this delusional desire, and this is how they con us.
The handling of the nation’s critical issues is a protracted con job, decades in the making. An elaborate Ponzi scheme designed to keep us believing that someday our overwhelming problems will be solved by the ruling elite. Perhaps after the next election. The idea that Washington can solve our problems is a con job.
Our national debt, reckless spending, unenforced immigration law, free healthcare, and the growth and size of government are simply props being used to con the American people. The snuffing out of free markets and the lack of limitations on the size of government are going to destroy us.
I’m ready to conclude that we have been, to some degree, willing dupes in a national charade. We have, for too long, accepted the blurring of the lines between Democrats and Republicans. We believe Republicans because they declare themselves to be conservatives, even though they behave like liberal Democrats, even socialists. These declarations are themselves a con.
It is Time to Create a New Solution
There is a glimmer of hope. We recognize the con when we see and hear it, and it is time to admit two things. First, that a con, is a con, is a con. We won’t fix a con with another con. We can’t elect new political con artists to fix the cons created by the previous political con artists.
Secondly, it is time for a new principled conservative party, one that flourishes not by the art of the con, but by the personal and collective virtue of a people who live by the truth.