Friday, December 26, 2014

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: It's Not Going To Be Your Older Sibling's Washington, DC

We used to say it’s not your grandfather’s world, and then we
said it’s not your parent’s world, but so much is changing so
rapidly that now we have to say it’s not your older sibling’s

This will be especially true of Washington, DC which seems
to change its “atmosphere” appreciably every four to six years
or so, about the time difference between many oldest and
youngest siblings in a family. (Of course, this doesn’t work
literally if you're the oldest sister or brother, or you have no
siblings, but you get the idea.)

I’m not just referring to the changes of the party which controls
the White House.  Since January, 2009, there has been one
president, but control of the  Congress has varied. Nevertheless,
the political atmosphere has been essentially the same, i.e., the
Democrats in control and on offense, and the Republicans not in
control and usually on defense. Public policy has constantly, if
slowly, moved to the left, i.e., toward more and more federal
controls and regulation. Stalemate has occurred.

But it’s not just political. Washington sets the tone for much
media coverage, and in the past six years, under a Hollywood/
New York City bias to President Obama’s administration, for
much cultural tone as well.

More than the conservative landslide of 2014 will change
Washington, DC. The Old Liberal Media institutions of CBS,
NBC, ABC in radio and TV, the aging patrician newspapers of
the New York Times and the Washington Post, the cable TV
networks, and establishment of left wing Hollywood movies
and personalities have been in steep decline. (The recent
SONY movie debacle is only another marker of Hollywood’s
mediocrity and declining audiences.)

This does not mean necessarily that conservative institutions
will automatically or even effectively replace the liberal
institutions. The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard,
Fox News,  Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and a growing
number of centrist and conservative commentators, are
reaching larger and larger numbers of Americans, it is true.
More and more entertainment figures are expressing openly
conservative views, but they remain in the minority.
University faculty and administration establishments remain
on the radical far left.

Outside Washington, DC, the nation is much more balanced
politically and culturally, and this coincides with something I
and others have been writing about for some time, i.e., the
movement of increasing influence to individual states, new
demographic and technological communities.

This will make the next two years a very interesting period,
with the Old Culture trying very hard to regain its dominance,
and the New Culture trying just as hard to take control. Nor
will the labels “liberal” and “conservative” suffice to describe
the competing forces. Creative individuals and groups now
considered in traditional liberal/conservative paradigms will
almost certainly break out from previous patterns. Some
liberals, it will also be true, will become more and more radical;
some conservatives will become more and more reactionary, and
although they will undoubtedly flavor the competition, and
obtain not a few sensational headlines, they will not define or
shape the new atmosphere. (Nor will the series of recent “protest”
outbreaks, excessively publicized by the Old Media, but really
representing only very tiny groups of organized and disciplined
radicals who routinely try to take advantage of sensational
incidents as a way to influence unsuspecting majority groups
both on the center left and the center right.)

The bigger question is whether or not Washington, DC will
continue its current decline, and whether the "atmosphere" in the
nation’s capital will matter as much as it dud when our fathers
and mothers regarded it as the place where the various groups,
factions, parties and opinions in the country came together to
do the nation's business, to debate and then legislate.

Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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