Melted Pot?

Parochial interests; once willingly put aside in the interest of doing great things; now reign dominant, seemingly eliminating the ability to do great or necessary things.  Decades spent evolving points of separation and differentiation.  Groups and sub groups all constructing demands and justifications.  The moral center of civil debate abandoned in the interest of parochialism.  Responsibility deflected where issues exist beyond the “group”; narrow focus supplanting broad vision. 

The melting pot in jeopardy of becoming the melted pot! 

‘It’s not that I’m apathetic you see, I just don’t care”.  “Hey, miss the memo?  It’s about me; let the next generation fix it”.  Those attitudes are how we will be branded …….. by our children as we continue to accept the premise that subordinating self interest is unacceptable, even unwise.  We know it’s true; the Senate Majority Leader told us so during the Health Care debate.  “We” accept the cynicism of Ambrose Bierce; “Politics (is a) strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principals.”  Congressional approval ratings stand in support of Bierce’s premise.

We approach the red line where facts are discarded as meaningless in the context of driving an agenda. Where are we when facts don’t matter? 

Financial collapse on the horizon; even small cuts to a $14 trillion deficit bucket are met with well organized resistance.  No, no; it could hurt families or the elderly, the poor or Cowboy Poets and, of course, ‘the children’.  Apparently, a hyper inflated third world economy in America with the dollar in free fall collapse would not hurt ‘the children’; really?

77% of Americans say we’re heading in the wrong direction, (Rasmussen) and yet, a dramatic absence of common cause punctuates the political climate and political leadership.  The long knives are out over every issue and dollar.  Budget deficits are a crisis, but not so much so that we agree on the reality or consequences.  We are absent a plan that demands we all play a part and accept a measure of pain.  It’s time to pull the band-aid off.  What won’t work is citizens saying to other citizens; “Can’t afford benefits, health care and pension fund payments? Too bad for you, we want our stuff!”  “Pay more taxes!”

A majority of Americans believe we can fix our deficit with discretionary spending cuts that Democrats won’t accept.  That assumption is true, if we eliminate it all, meaning a lot of “stuff” is going to disappear which, of course, is unacceptable.   48% of Americans pay no Federal taxes, and neither does General Electric.  Tax policy so ridden with special interests its credibility as a valid system is disappearing.  Efforts to simplify taxation subjected to the long knives of influence.   

The answer is growth, so say those responsible for legislation that inhibits growth; massive health care spending generating over a thousand exemptions, inhibitions on energy production, impotent stimulus, failed legislation resurrected by faceless regulators.  These are the same folks who now look to economic growth as the answer.  In support of economic growth is, of course, more spending, more deficits!    

The social security fix is clear to all but the fix is not in.  Medicare and Medicaid are out of control and surrounded by a lack of political will.  “We’ll fix it by eliminating fraud is the answer, it has been the answer for decades; it never happens.  Attempts to control regulatory bureaucracies are met with loud resistance; it’s about the ‘children’.

The dollar is under international assault.  The manufacturing base continues to catch a slow boat to China, professional services to India; Mexico is on the verge of a civil war based not on politics but on the drug trade.  Foreign policy is incomprehensible; jobs continue to bleed away, more Americans than ever are, in some way, dependant on government largess.  We, the most significant democracy on earth; appear to no longer have a clue as to what to do with democratic movements elsewhere.

“No, no: say hundreds of interest groups; “take the pain elsewhere, take it to the ‘others’”.  There are a lot of “others” as there are a lot of interest groups, each with their own interpretation of who the “others” are.  Ends up that there are an awful lot of “others”!       

Perhaps, less time quoting and admiring the historic phrasing from President John Kennedy’s inaugural speech with more time, much more time, spent thinking about what he called us to do; “What you can do for your country”.  President Kennedy also challenged us to go to the moon; “…not because it is easy, but because it is hard.’ ….. ‘this goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills”.

The questions are simple: Is there still a WE in America, can we do hard things, can we organize and measure the best of our energies and skills?  A collective answer is demanded.