You look at it, a copy of "The Scream," the famous 1893 expressionist painting by the Norwegian artist
, and you ask yourself whether this is America today, a scene that sizzles with human anxiety. There is a hand on each side
of a large, mesmerizing, petrified face, waters for drowning purposes nearby and a sunset of blood above.
No, we don't go around looking like the screamer, but there's ongoing peril in the pandemic, a distraught economy, widespread
disruption in violent riots, high racial tensions, the demolition of the family, the decline of faith, the decay of norms,
intellectualism gone awry and an election dangerous to talk about.
You are in real trouble if you point out, for instance, that President
Donald Trump has some exceptional achievements to his name, varied foreign policies far superior to those of his predecessor, for instance.
He at one point wanted to delay help to virus victims and their communities until after the election, and now wants to outspend House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi, whose political ends know no end.
She is worse than Trump, and, look, I am in trouble again because Pelosi is, after all, a hero to many, but she scares me,
given the way she plays politics with everything as she simultaneously presents herself as morally superior, outraged at anyone
saying that she does what she does. The bigger question, of course, is what happens if basement boy
Joe Biden is elected president, the House stays Democratic and the
Senate goes Democratic. In that case, given the ideological inanities of the day and the fact that freebies win votes, I expect
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We don't know for sure all that would happen, although Supreme Court packing could well occur, thereby making the court a
political plaything and just maybe a political tool. Getting rid of the
Electoral College looks likely, a way of telling large numbers of states that, well, we are sorry, but you just don't count anymore. The possible
end of the
Senate filibuster will mean democracy will count for less in the
Senate than progressive regression.
A major flaw of Trump's has been the debt, and Biden intends to hit the rich with huge tax increases still some $2 trillion
short of his spending ambitions as they put a dent in free market wealth production. Will the
Democrats be better on free trade? It doesn't look like it.
The spending will include forgiveness of some student loan debt. Understand that the federal loan program was a large part
of what caused tuition to go up so much in the first place and that the forgiveness will reward imprudence of the mostly better
off at the expense of everyone else. Medicare for all could come into being because of Biden's public option insurance evolving
sufficiently to displace other insurance because it's cheaper. The program will almost certainly be a convoluted mess costing
a fortune that we don't have.
Trump's deregulation will be replaced by regulations taking away more of our freedoms and stymying the economy. The
Democrats have long wanted to limit free speech in elections and just may move ahead on that ambition through a constitutional amendment
or a packed court. At least prior to campaign millions, they saw corporations as evil and could fix that by making them less
workable and owners and managers less in charge. Owing to ties with teacher unions, they don't like charter schools that are
also public schools if short on unions. They have proven to be a huge advantage for Black students, in research by the brilliant
For their own advantage,
Democrats want to make
Washington, D.C., and
Puerto Rico states, giving them four more Democratic senators. Many Puerto Ricans don't like the idea and it would be unconstitutional
to do that to
Washington, although tricks are at hand.
There's more, but this is enough to scream about.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.