Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Density (of Thought) = Necessity (of Clear Thinking)

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New theory, gang! I thought of it while I was watching an interview with some short-sighted celebrity whose opinion I used to respect until I heard her talk. She was insisting she absolutely would not, under any circumstance, vote for Hillary in the general election if it turns out her man Bernie doesn't win the nomination.

It's not important who this celebrity is, except for the fact there are undoubtedly other short-sighted voters who still respect her opinion. And she's not the only Bernie booster I've heard say that. For far too many of them, it's Bernie or nothing.

It will come as no surprise that, in my opinion, this is a very childish and petulant attitude, and I trust that once this hellish campaign is over, a lot of Americans will come to their senses and realize they've said some astoundingly stupid things over the course of it. Yet it was this very stupid thing coming from this actress' mouth that led to my new theory, and I must thank her for the inspiration. It is highly unlikely this theory will lead to any resolutions to any of our problems, but I believe it is a way of grasping why many of those problems exist in the first place.

Here it is: In an overly-populated, overly-hyperbolized, overly-ideologicalized atmosphere, the level of intransigent resistance to any political compromise position rises in exact proportion to the pressing need for political compromise.

In other words, in a crisis of governance, when complex thinking and intelligent problem solving are required, we see an opposite reaction of simplistic sophistry and sheer stupidity that, in scope and volume, matches the urgency of the need for resolution.



Said yet another way: In an environment where we absolutely must have political solutions if we have any hope of settling our many troublesome issues—and the more obvious it is that not everyone is going to get everything they want out of a political process (an election, a piece of legislation, a party platform, a nominating convention, etc.)—the more participants there will be who stomp around like angry little snot babies, threatening to go full-tilt idiot, tip the whole shebang over and not play any more.

In recent years, it's a phenomenon we have come to expect more from the Republican side than the Democrats. It is how we got the federal government shutting down like a collapsed lung, thanks to Ted Cruz and his Tea Party tantrums. It is why we probably won't be getting a ninth Supreme Court justice for at least 10 more months, thanks to Mitch McConnell's tantrums. It is why the entire GOP could very possibly go KABOOM! come this summer's convention, thanks to the entire GOP's tantrums.

But since Sanders' campaign has taken hold of the imagination of so many progressives, particularly among the younger progressives, we have seen it emerge at the Democratic end of the spectrum, too—particularly among those naive enough to think pure politics is the same as good politics.

It's not, boys and girls. Getting virtually anything accomplished in a world where virtually everyone wants a share in both the process and the outcome will never happen when any one faction from the myriad of opposing factions demands that their rules must be obeyed and its stipulations must be met. There may be a place for purists in this world, but it is not in politics—not if we expect any result but gridlock, inertia and impotence.

Good politics, effective politics, by definition, is rejecting purity for the sake of getting things done. And it will be ever-more true the more elaborate this society becomes, as any nation of 320 million individuals is bound to be. (Not to mention the 7 billion souls who live elsewhere.) Out of the five remaining candidates in this race, there is only one with both the intelligence—which leaves out you-know-who—plus the subtlety and flexibility of vision to make her qualified for the position. Those Bernie-ites who would scorn her for her impurities are not only risking the nightmare of another conservative regime, they are tipping the scale of political dynamics with the weight of their own variety of stupidity to a point from which we may never regain our balance again.