Divided Government or Unified Despotism?
After countless hours of incessant flag-waving and ra-ra-ras, the numbers are in. The democrats have a majority in both the house and the senate. This means that there is at least the potential for increased gridlock. This is the only potentially good thing to come of this. However, it can easily be squandered. It now becomes a question of whether or not the capital to have gridlock will be used. It becomes a question of, will the Democrats be overt pragmatists in practise and thus only marginally help matters at best? Or will they truly be a more obstructionist force? Does the calls for bipartisanship inadvertantly translate into unified support for the status quo? Only time will tell.
I actually disagree with the calls for bipartisanship in the sense that the whole point should be to have the government check itself, which requires differences, and therefore friction, between the people in the government. Bi-Partisanship is not necessarily a good thing - both parties can easily be wrong on something and act in a bi-partisan manner. Bi-Partisanship can only be a good thing when both parties are correct about something, which does not occur too often at all. Therefore, in order to minimize the damage done by the state, government must be kept as divided and decentralized as possible.
To be realistic, both parties are a sham; a false choice. The false choice is essentially between socialism (democrats) and fascism (republicans). While there are certainly differences of degree among these factions, it nonetheless is the unifying factor. What happens in reality is that the positivist and expansionist policies of both parties are generally enacted, while all reductionist and abolitionist policies are generalled aschewed. So while the victory of the democrats does create the possibility of more division within the government, it does not gaurantee it, and it must be kept in mind that the mainstream of democratic thinking is indeed socialist in nature, even if it sometimes is moderated.
Despite much of the rhetoric flying around the news and in political circles, the notion that this Democratic takeover is a radical or extremely meaningful change to the government as a whole is erroneous. Changes in party dominance do not tend to radically effect things when both or the plurality of parties generally support the status quo in practise. So it must be remembered that the mere act of voting, the mere practise of elections, does not necessarily give you control to change the status quo. The politicians can for all intents and purposes act as they please after you give them power, and thus they can completely do a 180 when compared to what they promised the voter when they were on the campaign trail.
And politicians inherently, although there are rare cases such as Ron Paul, tend to be statists. The group who controls the state still constitutes one individual group, even if they come from different parties, they constitute the "grand party", the state. The particular danger in a two-party system such as ours is when both parties act in a completely unified manner, and thus with no real objective limits on its power. Such a model simply assents to its own actions; it has no requirement to limit its actions by adhering to the constraints imposed by a diversity and separation of groups/powers. It has no disagreements among itself, and therefore it simply acts rather unilaterally in practise.
It would be an error to ignore the potential for and importance of much needed division within the government. The sole potential advantage here is the possibility of Democrats abolishing or reducing some of the Republican's positivist programs, but it must be remembered that the general principles of Democrats, just like any major political party or politicians, is generally not abolitionist or reductionist, it inevitably rests on a statist perspective of some sort. My major concern is that for every Republican initiative that Democrats may fight against there will be just as many new positivist Democratic initiatives proposed. So, on the other side of the coin, it is the duty of those Republicans with any shrapnel of principles left to resist the Democrat's expansions as well, rather then give in to phony "bipartisan" schemes that in reality are most likely the entire government uniting to support the status quo or expand the federal government.
In short, the Democrats must do everything in their power to obstruct the Republicans, and vice versa. The Democrats should seek to abolish the patriot act, pull out of Iraq, cut military spending and decentralize the intelligence agencies. On the other hand, all of the Democrat's expansionist measures proposed should be utterly rejected by the Republicans. The Democrat's proposals to increase taxes, socialize medicine, further federalize the schools, and expand already huge and insolvent social programs should all be vehemently rejected. Reality will most likely not live up to this ideal, but I can only hope that we can at least take one step in that direction through having a divided government that is more prone to reductionism.