We are a nation in crisis, scratch that– crises, yet we choose to look inward and at local issues. The trains don’t run on time and we are vexed. This is not minor but a problem many years in the making– infrastructure neglected, and the subway system allowed to become a sweltering and sometimes frightening mess. It’s natural to want to lead our lives and not worry about the big picture. We do need to see that by ignoring the big stuff we let everything go out of control.
The big picture is trouble brewing. It will and does affect us all.
Who needs civil liberties? The rights of our citizens were hard-won. Freedom did not just emerge from the blood and sweat of the Revolutionary War in documents of federation and constitutional laws. Some Americans had many more years to struggle to see their rights recognized. Many of our privileges evolved in the amendments to our Bill of Rights over the 3 centuries since that war established a United States.
The simple single answer is we all do. Remembering, as always, that with rights come responsibilities.
Sometimes it is not possible to quell the anger, fear and hatred of a policeman who stops a citizen for a tail-light violation. Situations get out of hand. The driver is arrested.
Many of the folks incarcerated have committed only the crime of “driving while black.” Responsible parents in the Afro-American community teach their children how to mitigate the outcomes of this very serious circumstance. It is one which affects the statistic in which 14% of a county’s population are prosecuted or jailed for more than 50% of the crimes committed there.
When 14% of a county’s population in places like Mississippi, for instance, are prosecuted for more than half the crimes committed in that county, it looks like that 14% are the bad seed. Looks can be deceiving. Statistics like these are clearly skewed. They are also deceiving.
Reconstruction was the period in American history when the country sought to heal the wounds of a civil war. “Civil” war is such a deceptive phrase, really. Really? It is probably the very definition of an oxymoron.
Our Pledge of Allegiance was one of the products of reconstruction. It was used as a symbol of the nation’s unity.
During that war from 1860 to 1864, the country was divided, fighting under two separate flags, not for liberty or justice, but for the sovereign right of one part of this nation to earn its living by enslaving human beings. Since that project, slavery, slipped away, Americans turned to “taming” the west, which turned out to be a project in which it was necessary to kill off as many Indians as possible. Native American tribes stood in the way of our country’s westward progress. We couldn’t have that, and fighting them off their lands became an all-American enterprise.
The wild west was so called not because of all the nightclubbing and disco parties, but because of the untempered vunityiolence it allowed, even encouraged.
Trickle down economics has the people of Kansas suffering major cuts to rudimentary services, and the state in devastation. If the Republican budget makers have their way, similar dissolutions will effect the middle class and working poor as they attempt to cut taxes for the very rich in order to have them, the rich, that is, create wealth for the rest of us.
“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” But we may soon be….
The theory, not unfamiliar to anyone who has listened to conservatives explain it, is that when the wealthy have extra– aka, even more than they now have– money, they will use it to fund businesses. The reality is that most of the 1%ers already have money to finance an economic boom. The money never really travels downward, not even in slow drips, to the benefit of those in need of it. Instead, we are flung, as it shot from a cannon into a dyfunctional and unsustainable reality. The theory, in fact, could be called “alternative economics,” and fits in with the alt-reality and fake news into which we plunged over the past year.
Trickle down? Wha?
In fact, this kind of budget will give our administration what it seems to have wanted all along, the opportunity to shut down government institutions. Health and Human Services and the department of Housing and Urban Development, like the agency overseeing education in the United States will no longer be necessary. Some rich dude will fill in the gaps, and presumably fix the potholes.
It is not surprising that the well-to-do are enamored of this kind of economic necomancy.
It is incredible that the poor would also fall prey to its mysterious appeal.
Under such plans for our nation’s financial future, we will see an America catapulted into the dark ages. Isolated because it is isolationist when we espouse America First, this great country will lose services, safety nets and the security it enjoyed under less regressive leadership.
Are we still passionate about social justice? By “we” I refer to those of us who grew up with an avid desire to make the world better. What happened to us? How have we continued in our quest for an utopia in the midst of dystopia? Do we still believe in the goodness of our fellow man?
That last question brings to mind my mother who seemed to live with disappointment but always said that the good in humanity was the only thing in which she believed. Is that belief enough?
Are there men who wish to dismantle the fervency of our ideals? Definitely. They are the source of our present discontents. Our lives have no meaning for such people and we should stop following their lead.
There are any number of ways to interpret the word of the day, which is measure.
Let’s start with the tale of the tape. We measure in inches, most of the rest of the world in centimeters. Yards and miles vs meters and kilometers. Different strokes, as the saying goes. Note that such differences make for differences in point of view, as well. If I record my walk in kilometers, I go a bit further than when I use miles as my measure. In short, or long, we measure to quanify and compute. The unit by which we measure is a standard on our scale.
A measure can also be a legislative proceeding. Bills passed by the Congress (if that ever happens again) go into effect and require actions. The initiative gains impetus from the needs of the people. Gauging (or measuring) those needs is the duty of elected officials. The electorate sets the standard.