Boogie Online

Volume 1 #20 (September 16-22, 1998)

From the Editor: The self-destructing government


We have quite a spectacle in Washington, D.C., these days. Clinton is crashing like the Hindenburg, and apparently is bent on taking down as many Republicans with him as he can. As Clinton's vices become ever more apparent, three Republicans have admitted to affairs after being questioned by the media.

Before our very eyes we see the Republicans destroying the Democrats, and the Democrats destroying the Republicans, in a massive spin-control war gone awry. Over the rather unimportant issue of who did who in the White House, our entire national government has spun itself into the ground.

Voters are quite rightly disgusted with all politicians, and increasingly see the government as a petty, wasteful, and potentially dangerous nuisance.

Many voters have a "so what?" attitude to Clinton's actions, in effect saying we already knew that politicians are lying, cheating scumbags. Like lawyers and used car salesmen, politicians fall in the category of people we'd do without if only we could figure out how.

Has the federal government changed that much over the past few decades? I don't think so. I think we are finally seeing it as it has always been.

Past presidents' affairs make Clinton look like an underachiever. Not to mention their non-sexual vices, from methamphetamines to burglary. But it wasn't until Watergate that the press considered such things newsworthy. And it wasn't until recently, with the Internet and other technologies, that smaller news media could drive national headlines.

The result is that, for the first time, Americans have a real good look at what goes on in the halls of power. Many people only now understand that politicians are simply people, and that behind closed doors the camera smile is gone and the hair not so perfectly in place. Perhaps now we will gain a sense of the limits of government, and realize that it has no magic wand to make problems disappear. The man behind the curtain can't give us safety, prosperity, or a just society. We have to work on that ourselves.