The title is ironic. Now that I have your attention, can I keep it?
One of the popularly-believed reasons why Congress has not impeached president Obama is because Joe Biden would then be in charge; an unthinkable situation to everybody. This is a sad condition for our Nation to be in: a deliberately feckless vice president selected so that all the focus, the chances for "victory", reside in the president. For the last four years, Joe Biden has been the quintessence of the invisible man; when he has spoken and been noticed at all, it is by the Right, making fun of him again for the silly and inaccurate things he says. Nobody on either side wants Joe Biden to be POTUS; so Obama is assured of increased support out of a shared fear that Biden is positioned by our system to take over in the event of a catastrophe overtaking our president.
"Our system": that is the central topic I wish to address. Back in 2000, when the whole election process hung on a few hanging chads in Florida: when the outcome so annoyed the losers that they accused George W. Bush and his gang of cheating; when Al Gore was considering taking them to court (he did barely get the popular vote, after all): when the entire edifice of our democratic election process was teetering, I got the distinct impression that the whole thing had been deliberately orchestrated to sow discord among brethren and a loss of confidence in "our system". Now, twelve years later, we are hardly less vulnerable. In fact, if the Islamist extremists or other enemies of our Nation are at all competent, as we fear, they could at this very moment bring the entire system and our nation and even the world down. How could it be done?
One scenario that could work would be for the terrorists to acquire the itinerary of the presidential candidates; then position themselves within range of the ends of the runways as Air Force One or Romney's airline are either landing or taking off. A direct hit with a tactical rocket such as a Stinger would result in the deaths of both president and his opponent. Thus Joe Biden would take over. If the terrorists could take out Obama and Romney, they could surely take out Joe Biden.
With the presidential campaigns suddenly bereft of their candidates; with the Speaker of the House now in charge of the Nation, what would be the general reaction of the American People? How many of us know who the Speaker even is? Is it Nancy or Harry? (Danged if I knew until I looked it up: it's John Boehner). The point is, who knows what should happen next? The man in the street, does he know what "our system" proposes as the best course to follow? Is "our system" even set up to deal with such a sudden catastrophe? Or would Congress have to agree to disagree and then improvise? Danged if I know.
So into the mix enter the distortions, assertions, accusations and lies. The Medía tries to run it all; this is their "heaven": endless sensational news stories, so many, so thick on the ground that the reporters cannot possibly begin to cover it all.
If the climate is fearful, feckless and disunited, that is the perfect recipe for anarchy. Once the rioting begins – the pretext being outrage against the Government, the "dominant paradigm" for letting this happen to us again – it is likely this time to spread far beyond the ability of the police to prevent it. If "our system" is broken: if the man in the street does not know who is telling the truth and who is making a power grab, in fact he doesn't know anything at all about what is going on or how we are supposed to proceed: he is getting is "facts" from too many equally clamorous and finger-pointing sources at once: he is going to be very afraid. And fear turns to anger when danger erupts in his neighborhood.
The "entitled" portion of our population is the most emotional and fearful: if the Government that feeds, clothes, houses, medicates and pays them is dying, what could be more terrifying to them? They riot easily enough. Even without Mitt Romney's "47%", that is still a huge pool of terrified people. A broken system that cannot very soon fix itself will savage itself to pieces.
Once the rest of the world sees the USA in meltdown, the vacuum left by the dying super power will be filled in by every tyranny under the sun. Welcome to the new Dark Ages.
Am I fear-mongering, or am I warning? That depends on how polarized we are as a people. If the last decade has truly separated us into camps of warring ideals: if from our camps we accuse the other side of trying to cheat, to destroy the Nation, etc., and a significant portion of our people believe it, then the danger of our weakness is very real. If, however, enough of us believe that our Congress can unite to arrest the situation, before any real damage can be done during such a hypothetical hiatus in the presidential election year, then we are not going to succumb to fear no matter what the terrorists do; no matter who they take out.
My hope is that both major parties will not play election games with "our system". No more Joe Bidens. The vice presidential running mates should always be the best men or women we can find; not people that instill no confidence….
Summary: Our Nation is vulnerable during a presidential election year. If terrorists managed to take out both the incumbent president and his opponent, and possibly even the vice president, what should happen next? What is the process established to restart the presidential election? Nobody “in the street” knows; that’s the danger. If it were asserted that “our system” is broken or being hijacked would the ignorance-incited anger and fear at such a time sabotage attempts by the government to proceed with the election? If “our system” was broken how should it be fixed? If our president, vice president and the opposing party’s candidates are all dead, the Speaker of the House is supposed to be in charge. Who is that? Most of us probably don’t know. Will most of us await events, or will the sizeable portion of our population that feels “entitled” panic, grow angry in the climate of a broken system, and start rioting? The danger is very real; that ignorance and fear could create widespread destruction, which like a maelstrom would feed on itself. If the USA went into meltdown mode, the rest of the world’s tyrannies would be strengthened in the vacuum. Welcome, to the new Dark Ages….