Few dreams can compare to that of our forefathers, and yet they framed their dream in just 4543 words. By comparison, the dream of universally available health care took shape in legislation composed of over one million words.
The difference lies in the concept of incremental change. Regardless of its beneficence, it is in our nature that change is never readily accepted. Lasting change can only occur when introduced in small doses, giving us time to adjust to each step beyond the confines of the way things are.
Americans deplore massive dictates, especially when they appear to conflict with our self image. When presented with any proposed alteration to the status quo we instinctively react with Lincoln’s admonition: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
Whether the intent to fool us exists or not is not important. What matters is that we require time to consider issues one by one. Denied that opportunity the baby will inevitably go out with the bath water. The sheer enormity of legislation such as Obamacare engenders all-or-nothing thinking, which becomes its greatest liability.
Our forefathers gave us the framework in which great new ideas could evolve, not one in which government could impose alterations to the social fabric at the whim of those in power. They created the system of checks and balances to ensure that would always be so. The widely perceived ineffectiveness of the government today is but a natural product of their foresight.
When the party in control tries to institute fundamental change the opposition will be compelled to counter the change in its entirety, including elements of mutually accepted importance. The nature of political campaign has become one being driven by ever greater dreams, yet lacking any practical means of achieving those dreams. That in turn creates a government that is combative rather than co-operative.
The divisiveness in America today is not natural. Our differences are in fact our strength. Only when presented with massive change do we split into progress-stifling camps.