Distance is part of the way human minds are biased in regard to the tribal impulse. My side of town is better than that other side of town. My part of the state is better than that other part of the state. And of course my state is better than that cesspool way over there in Washington DC.

This is why politicians have learned that it is always advantageous to run against the Washington establishment. When I get to Washington I’m going to clean up….

All politicians play this distance advantage game, but Republican politicians and their right wing media cheerleaders go so far as to say that most government is downright evil and maybe it ought to be done away with, especially the Federal bureaucracy.

Fact is that before the aberrant Trump administration snuck into the national capital local corruption alway far out did national corruption. Moreover, ever since President Regan said that government isn’t the solution its part if the problem, popularizing a negative outlook toward the national government, it has caused American’s confidence in their government to dramatically plummet.

This is extremely dangerous. The first thing a would-be dictator does in trying to gain control and squash democracy is to undermine the people’s faith in their government. They start out by using the mechanisms’ of democracy to crush democracy from the inside, and. if they can, they make a concerted effort to hollow out its institutions of expertise — labeling the highly trained physical and social scientists that man the Federal institutions as nothing more than wasteful, mindless bureaucrats, when in fact these patriotic civil servants could make a heck of a lot more money working in the private sector.

Currently the United States, alas, is beset by a gang of anti government nuts who are out to prove that government really can’t do anything right (Trump’s leadership with Coronavirus comes to mind), and they certainly have the right guy leading that parade. The way of operation for the Donald has always been a system of chaos, not a hallmark of great leadership as his civilian track record has proven — squandered his father’s fortune, bankrupted countless businesses, ruined his domestic credit and finally sold his sole for bailout money from foreign mobsters.

This is for sure one example where far away really is bad. Perhaps the bottom line here just maybe that the national political divide in America is between those who believe in a nation government and want to improve it and those who hate the idea of a national government and want to destroy it, the latter based on some twisted notion of personal freedom, seeing the Federal Government as far far away.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store