INNOCENT BYSTANDERS

Lakeville Journal, 8/16/12

INNOCENT BYSTANDERS

Here we stand, open-mouthed, embarrassed, angry, defensive and not a little afraid, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We are being forced to watch two political parties yell and scream at each other, communicating nothing but contempt and falsehood not only for their opposite number, but for all of us. The inability of candidates, let alone our esteemed Congress, to deal with life-altering problems on the horizon is going force the nation into a more prolonged recession than it has already experienced and perhaps even change the very character of our nation.

Candidates first.

“I have a plan to create jobs.”

“My opponent is (pick one, or several) under investigation by the FBI, has associates who have been investigated by the FBI, has never created one single job in his/her career, is a career politician, is outspending me but I know…”

“Believes in trickle-down voodoo economics, wants to destroy women’s health, wants to spend us into default, wants to give tax cuts to billionaires, wants to destroy education, wants to do away with the work component of welfare, will alter Social Security and Medicare so that they are not only unrecognizable but no longer part of our national safety net.”

Do we hear about infrastructure? Do we hear about creating a fair tax code? Do we hear about lowering the deficit? Do we worry about the reputedly coming financial cliff?

Is a word spared for the lives of the nine (read eleven, seven, six) soldiers killed in Afghanistan “we remember in silence as soon as their photographs and details become available?”

Do we hear about reaching across the aisle, or about compromise, or about working together to save what can be saved and what is worth saving?

As for the parties involved, egads!

The lies, half-truths, disclaimers, rumors floated as fact, bogus statistics and charts: nothing but anger and disdain and secrecy pierced or destroyed.

Do we hear either side discussing their governing philosophy? Big government versus limited government? Government involvement, regulation, defense department fraud, that equitable tax code, foreign policy, international law/finance/cooperation, veterans’ health care?

What we are being given as a basis for our carefully considered vote in November is vacuous. Because the people to be wasted by the financial cliff debacle are half-afraid to hear about it, and those that aren’t are beginning to understand there is nothing they can do to prepare for it.

Could our nation prepare for it?

At this rate, we’ll never know.

The thirties gave us Hoovervilles, twenty-five per cent unemployment, real but almost silent class warfare. This time we’ll get Hoovervilles in the backs of cars, who knows what unimaginable level of unemployment, and class warfare that is increasingly feral and violent.

If industry is afraid to hire and manufacture because it senses a continuing impasse in Congress over huge personal and economic decisions, why shouldn’t we all be hunkering down and saving whatever we can against the coming storm? Both equally damage the country.

If Congress and the press are going to continue this election charade for the next five weeks and then beyond, into and including the Lame Duck session that follows whoever is chosen as president, we actually are in the sights of men and women who care not at all for our welfare but care very much indeed about shouting loudest and leaping onto the federal payroll with its perks, pensions, and healthcare.

We’re often told that the country hasn’t yet “tuned in” to the election ahead. Or that what is consuming the “pols” and press now is just white noise that will cease in October.

I don’t think that is true.

I think people are so disappointed in our process and its excesses they are literally speechless. They see no way out of the disaster ahead. Their energies are going entirely into keeping their jobs, finding a job, looking for a job. They feel that what Washington is doing increasingly has nothing to do with them. They understand that our political parties are endlessly attacking, advertising, declaring war on each other and instinctively they also know who the casualties will be.

We are all innocent and standing by helplessly, waiting.

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