Point of View Columns

In the Land of the Blind……

There is an old saying –“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. These days it seems that too many Americans are blindly following leaders with very limited vision when it comes to what is best for this country. Issues like the debt ceiling and gun control are currently elbowing for position on the front pages, but the more fundamental issue of where this country is going is worth examining too.

While it is absolutely possible for there to be intelligent, non-absolutist debate about gun control, it is very difficult to see how there can be any resolution to America’s gun addiction and predilection for using them to kill people as long as right wing political leaders and gun manufacturers maintain that there should be no limit on the ownership of weapons or even the type of weapons that should be owned by civilians.

It has been patently clear for years that the National Rifle Association is the lobbying arm of the gun manufacturing industry and the members of the NRA are just the lipstick on this particular pig. Yet millions of Americans have been persuaded that it is a critical, constitutionally-protected right to own entire arsenals of military weapons and that any control, scrutiny or limitations on this ownership is the first step towards tyranny that has not been seen in this country since the reign of King George III.

But for all of its posturing, the NRA is simply silent on the fact that 11,000 Americans die every year as the result of gun murder. The fact is that since the Newtown massacre last month over 600 Americans have been killed by guns and the chances are that someone else will have been killed by the time you finish reading this article.

This country’s passionate embrace of guns is encouraged and fueled by the right wing of the right wing even as their own constituents and their children are fall to gunfire. The logical extension of the right wing gun policy would have millions more Americans who will be better armed than most police officers and small nations – with no control, training and oversight. The imminent catastrophe can be seen even through the gun smoke.

Meanwhile, the debate over the debt ceiling has spilled over to the debate about how to assist the millions of Americans, primarily in New York and New Jersey, who have suffered greatly as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Incredibly, there are right wing G.O.Tea Party zealots seemingly without compassion or memory, who are opposing the levels of assistance that are requested as part of their opposition to increased spending.

In what can only be describing as hypocritical acrobatics, many of the congressmen opposing this aid come from places like California (earthquakes), Louisiana (hurricanes and floods), Texas (forest fires and tornadoes), Florida (hurricanes) and South Carolina (more hurricanes) that have received billions upon billions of federal assistance when calamities have hit their districts and communities.

It would appear that no one has told these members of Congress that the War Between the States ended in April of 1865. To engage in regional fiscal combat while American men, women and children are suffering is despicable and shameful. And everyone knows that when the next disaster inevitably hits Texas or Louisiana that the right wing zealots will somehow try to explain how the misery of their neighbors is different from that currently being endured in New York and New Jersey.

It is this kind of small-minded and myopic mindset that will doom this country in the near future unless the blind cease being led by the blinded. The right wing of the right wing mindset would never have financed the construction of the Hoover Dam or the Rural Electrification Act or the Tennessee Valley Authority, three projects that literally transformed the lives of tens of millions of Americans and truly brought this country into the 20th century.

The current G.O.Teapublican mindset would never have supported the G.I. Bill after World War II which empowered and enabled millions of veterans to go to college and create the modern American middle class. And the irony is that most, if not all of the Teapublican zealots can thank the federal programs just named for some aspect of the prosperity and comfort that they now enjoy and would deny to present and future Americans.

We continue to hope that the blind who are being led by the one-eyed blinded leaders on the right will open their eyes before it is too late.