A sea change is an idiom for broad transformation change and the concept is taken from the song “Full fathom five" in Shakespeare's The Tempest. The lyric of the song are as follows:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
In the song, the sea change is the change that happens to a human body underwater, the bones become coral, the eyes, pearls, and the body is changed into “something rich and strange”.
Every so often in politics a combination of factors combine to bring about change that is so radical and quick that the usual methods of recording opinion and predicting direction fail and even the most involved and experience pundits are incapable of explaining the change or predicting the effect. The Reagan Revolution was such a change as his candidacy and election transformed the Republican Party. He brought in the “Reagan Republicans” and they took over the party and changed the platform.
Bill Clinton had a similar effect on the Democrat Party. Not by his election but by turning from the left toward the center after the GOP took over the House and Senate in 1996. Reagan produced a party that was further to the right than many of the old guard Republicans were comfortable with while Clinton rendered a party that was further to the middle than the “base” liked.
While sea change in politics appears to happen suddenly there are always many factors that create the environment and atmosphere that makes such change possible. In fact, when there is evidence that sea change has occured it usually produces the desire to understand what happened and why. The under lying causes that lead up to the change are often only understood and appreciated after the fact. 1968 was a sea change year in America, as was 1980 with the election of Reagan and 1996 with the Republican takeover of congress. 2008 may be viewed by history as a sea change year; we had the election of our first black president and also the first GOP woman vice presidental nominee. However, 2008 may also come to be viewed by history as the catalyze that produced a much bigger sea change in America.
In 2008 America elected a candidate for president who campaigned as a moderate and as one who would work with “both sides of the aisle” to do what was best for America. With his election the Democrat party controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. What has transpired in the less than one year of this control is a dramatic swing to the left with little restraint or concern about the will of the people or little effort or desire to reach across the asile. A radical leftist agenda has been force feed to the American people with the help of a complicit media that has provided cover and spin to the adminstration so often that their credibility has been forever diminished.
Will 2010 go down in history as a sea change year for America? Will disgust and distrust with both political parties and the media give rise to a new type of politician and media? Will either party be able to adjust and be transformed in a way that will capture this movement of will it render a third party? Will Americans come to understand that it is our job to be informed and to hold our representatives accountable to make sure that they are representing us and not just their party?
Something big is happening in America. Things are changing, institutions are falling and others are being formed. Old ways of interpreting and defining things no longer work and new ways have not been established nor accepted. The foundations of the political world are being shaken by the people. The people seem to have awakened to the fact that the power of the government is given by the people and it may be that the people are letting it be known that they want their power back and want to give it to those who will be more accountable to them.
It is much too early to predict how this will all play out in 2010 and beyond but we should all hang on and strap ourselves in. I believe it is going to be one wild ride.