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Gingrich, the beginning of the downfall.

December 2, 2018


Recently, a good friend of mine forwarded to me an article written by Newt Gingrich. My friend, a man I admire very much, had been a Marine and a true hero. He and I served in similar roles in the state government during those years in the 1960s and 70s when California passed from a rural agricultural economy to become today the 5th largest economy in the world. It was shortly after the state government changed from part-time legislators to professional staff. A time when some of California’s most notable institutions, The California Energy Commission to provide the state with reliable energy, the Williamson Act to provide the farmers relief from the ceaseless hunger of developers to tear up the rich soils for subdivisions and the California Coastal Program, one of the largest and most effective land use programs to preserve environmental resources ever attempted and many other programs.

He and I share similar political beliefs based upon the fundamental concept that asks:

Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?

To me, and I expect to him, those who are not committed to that end, even when they disagree on the means to get there is a danger to a humane and just civil society.

In the article that had gotten my friend upset Gingrich had declared that the struggle on the southern border is a war — and the safety of our country is at stake. “How,” he asks, “does anyone take this poseur seriously?” He pictures Gingrich as the robot in the old television show lost in space, lights flashing and arms flailing about saying:


I agree. Newt is an ass. A dangerous ass true but still an ass.

I believe it can reasonably be argued that the beginning of our nation’s downfall can be identified as the day Newt Gingrich was elected to the Speakership of the House of Representatives. Since then, politics have gone from a clash of ideologies to, at least in the Party that Gingrich led, the idealization of corruption. Treason has gone from unthinkable to just another political strategy.

True Nixon was corrupt, but in his case, it was simply the corruption of an insecure man seeking acceptance through power. Reagan, unknowingly, began the unraveling of the political and ideological consensus that had made the United States the greatest political and economic power the world had ever known and allowed Americans to enjoy a golden age like no other.

But with Gingrich ideology no longer represented a dispute among those with different approaches and disparate morals as to how best to achieve those goals. Corruption ceased to be a means to power or a reward for gaining it, but synonymous with it. much like it was in the days of Boss Tweed in old New York. Boundaries on what was acceptable in the pursuit of political power eroded.

Today, the American body politic is infected by the virus spread by Gingrich. He who is not by President does not represent the beginning of the unraveling of American society but the culmination of what Gingrich had begun.

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