The swirl of the endless news cycles takes on an almost kaleidoscopic effect as we endeavor to make sense out of events and statements that simply make no sense. Is it true that Donald Trump, who became a parody of himself years ago, could be considered by some to be a serious candidate for President? Apparently the answer is a nerve jangling “yes”.
The Center for Disease Control reports that on an annual basis 76 million Americans will be sickened by food that they eat, 300,000 will be hospitalized and 5000 will die. Yet, one of the results of the budget “compromise” of a few weeks ago was that $10 million that funds food inspection will be cut from the federal budget. Clearly no sense is making sense in this parallel universe in which we find ourselves.
However, if we take a moment to consider the import and meaning of this constant flow of information we find that we have a right to feel unsettled and unbalanced. There are powerful political forces at work in this country, some marching under the banner of the G.O.Tea Party, but not all of them.
These forces are determined to carve, pare and eviscerate local, state and federal governments so that they will be able to provide only the most basic services – defense, fire and police protection and a bare modicum of education.
Expenditures on the aspects of government that define a society – healthcare, comprehensive education, social services for those in need, infrastructure, protection of the environment, preservation and support of culture and the arts – all would be severely reduced, privatized or eliminated in the brave new world proclaimed by too many already. And too often the response from centrists, progressives and the left wing of the left wing is garbled and muted at best.
The entire notion that those with wealth and privilege also have a responsibility to the greater society has been turned on its ear. Too many of the wealthy and the privileged have found their voices and their reason for being – to preserve and safeguard their wealth and privileges from the grasping and shameless hands of the poor and needy and the government that supports them.
The fact that large corporations now hire hundreds and spend millions in order to find a way to avoid paying taxes is public knowledge.
If we take a moment to ask where all of this is leading, we may not like the answer.
The fact is that this country is prepared to spend blood and treasure on an endless series of endless wars with no direct relationship to the security or safety of its citizens. Yet this same country is not prepared to invest the billions of needed dollars for education, infrastructure, environmental protection and the development of alternative energy strategies.
This stampede towards stupidity is not without consequence. This country is growing poorer and weaker and less educated and less healthy by the moment. The neglect and consequent decay of the infrastructure is ignored at great risk to future generations that the G.O.Tea Party claims to revere by reducing the budget deficit.
And I wonder how future generations will feel about receiving a bequest of antiquated railroads and airports, leaking water and sewage systems, inadequate energy supplies, collapsing highways and wretched schools.
Historians will look back on this time and wonder how it could be possible that over 300 million could collectively embraces policies that contained the seeds of their downfall. Multiple wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya with no funds for schools, bridges, airports, education or healthcare seems like a recipe for domestic disaster. And it is.
As citizens in this country we have a right to consider the entire spectrum of political thought and philosophy. However, as citizens of this country we also have the right to speak out against cruelly cynical and selfish philosophies that will eliminate even the glimmer of the promise of hope for current and future generations if they are fully implemented. And even as you read this column this edifice of idiocy is being constructed brick by stupid brick.
Slogans and sound bites have replaced serious thought. Skill at marketing ideas seems to triumph over logic and basic principles of self-preservation.
It is never too late until it is too late and it is getting late early.