Rod Miller: Will the Real “Establishment” Please Stand Up?

Columnist Rod Miller writes, "Does hot water come out of your sink faucet when you turn the handle? Yep, you guessed it...'The Establishment' again, the ones who built the infrastructure to bring to your home the blessing of indoor plumbing. The Freedom Caucus had absolutely nothing to do with that miracle."

RM
Rod Miller

February 25, 20244 min read

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Welp, it's legislative season and “The Establishment” is cussed up one side and down the other in the committees and on the floor. Following right on the heels of the session, campaign season will open, and bashing “The Establishment” will reach new heights in stem-winding stump speeches all across the Big Empty.

Okay, fine. But just who is nefarious entity, “The Establishment”? 

Are they some super secret cabal of invisible string pullers who are hell-bent on ushering in The Great Unpleasantness? Are they a grownup gang of street thugs intent on stealing our lunch money and beating us up in the alley?

They would be so much easier to differentiate from the rest of us, to identify as the scum they are, if they wore recognizable uniforms or t-shirts with a big ol’ “E” on the chest. Their anonymity makes it hard to do anything but vilify them in general terms and blame them for every disaster and broken shoelace.

They seem to have been around a long time, but they never show their faces. They never stand up and proclaim to the world, “I’m The Establishment.”

If we can’t identify them by face or by name, maybe we can identify them by what they have done, by their works. Lets try.

Every time you drive to work, or drive to the Farson Mercantile for ice cream, you are driving on the fruits of “The Establishment.” Trust me, it wasn’t anti-Establishment rebels who paved our roads.

Whenever you fly to see Grandma in Toledo and another airplane doesn’t smash into yours at cruising altitude, you can thank “The Establishment.” And when you land on a wide runway at a fancy airport, that’s “The Establishment” at work. 

Hair-on-fire politicians who campaign against “The Establishment” had nothing to do with your safe journey.

Does hot water come out of your sink faucet when you turn the handle? Yep, you guessed it...”The Establishment” again, the ones who built the infrastructure to bring to your home the blessing of indoor plumbing.

The Freedom Caucus had absolutely nothing to do with that miracle.

Are you freezing your ass off as you read this, or is your house warm and cozy in the middle of a Wyoming winter? Do your lights and electronic doo-hickies work when you flip the switch? None of that would be possible without “The Establishment.”

You get the picture. The benefits of modern life would not exist had they not been established (that’s where the name comes from) by “The Establishment.” 

Those benefits include a political system that, more or less, functions just as those ol’ timers who established our republic wanted. If you vote, then you can thank “The Establishment.”

The downside is that “The Establishment” is also responsible for wars, market crashes and other assorted painful parts of life in America. “They” are not always benign. 

So that begs the question with what sort of system will the Freedom Caucus and other political firebrands replace “The Establishment?”

Do they have an alternative in mind, or are they content merely to score easy political points by bashing something so hard to identify that every punch lands?

There is real risk in provoking “The Establishment” to stand up on its hind legs and identify itself.

Perhaps that danger was best articulated in an old comic strip (and I’ll paraphrase) when Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and it's us.” Turns out We the People are “The Establishment.”

Seen in that light, the fiery anti-Establishment rhetoric of the Freedom Caucus and their ilk takes on a disturbing new meaning.

Rod Miller can be reached at: rodsmillerwyo@yahoo.com

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Rod Miller

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