I was talking with my friend yesterday before going to see Book of Eli (excellent film) and wondered aloud when it became commonly accepted that governments at the local, state and federal level would bleed red ink as a matter of course.
Hardly a day goes without some odoriferous official complaining about the looming shortfall in their already obscene budgets and the resulting lack of already lackluster services that will result. Our political pimps present the fait accompli of their plans as if we were idiots, incapable of understanding the shell game they are running with their partner pimps in America’s biggest companies.
I am beginning to think that a vast majority of us are in fact brain dead given the brazen zeal with which they operate their scams and the ease at which we are taken. Zombified by high-definition television, high-calorie diets and a pharmacological cornucopia of self medication that would make a Haight-Ashbury acolyte feverish with anticipation. We react with Pavlovian precision to the slightest twitch of our strings by the puppet master du jour.
“Government Bad! Corporations Bad! Other Bad! Me want Twinkie!”
Through a long history of not being able to vote or choosing not to vote, the difference between the two being nil in the final scheme of things, we have a society that is built on the foundation of predator and prey rather than one of shared prosperity and sacrifice. We got to the mountain top only to race back to the bottom because there was a sale on some shit we didn’t need and couldn’t afford but simply had to acquire before someone else beat us to the punch.
The tragedy of the situation is that throughout our political spectrum Americans would probably agree on many structural changes that need be made to the existing system even while deciding to table the remaining disagreements for a later date when the house is no longer on fire. We speak at each other and past each other without every really hearing the grievances of our fellow citizens in a way that might lead to solidarity of action rather than a conflict of ideals.
I can’t remember a time when Americans have lived up to the inherent possibilities in our system of government, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start now to facilitate a transition back toward something a little more in line with the Constitution we purport to follow. We need more state-level tactical implementation of broad federal strategies and that shift requires a fundamental change in how our taxes are levied and managed. With local implementation, it becomes easier to enforce accountability of those monies raised and spent.
We seem reluctant to conduct detailed analysis of the problems and solutions, both those we agree with and those we don’t, before forming our opinions.
Instead, our political discourse features bitter partisan rants, seeming to care more about the symptoms than the disease with predictable results for the patient. Heath care reform becomes more about regulating insurance companies or too much government control or not enough access to care rather than changing specific public policies that make us sicker as a nation. Put our exponentially widening population into any country with national health care and it would soon crumple under the weight.
America is seriously damaged in some very fundamental ways that no one seems to want to discuss outside of one-on-one encounters across the kitchen table or the back fence.
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