Mid-August in May
We were forced into a two week hiatus while moving from one home to another. The downtime actually gave us a better look than before at the chaos that reigns in our nation’s capital.
But now it’s not simply a matter of Benghazi, or the IRS, or the incursions by the Justice Department into the workings of the press.
Add to those still running features at our neighborhood movie house a new FBI scandal wherein a man questioned for ties to terrorism was reputedly shot six times and then given a coup de gras before mysteriously dying in the custody of the very same FBI doing the investigating.
Add to that side-show the brilliance of John McCain operating as a single man State Department and flying off to Libya to see what trouble he could get into on our behalf.
What the country faces now, or refuses to face, is that every single component of our national government is operating independently of the others. Individual senators and house members call committee meetings for their own purposes which seem, in the end, designed only to grab more television time and to boost their ratings on FOX or MSNBC.
We have gone ‘way past the bread and circuses entertainment stage, that which a government devises to keep its unhappy citizens calm, and settled into a pattern of inattention to what matters most to the nation at large: jobs, the economy, unemployment, the damage of the sequester and how to minimize it.
Well, some might say, it’s summer. We have baseball and the beach and vacations to consider. Certainly Congress has those things to think about. Faced with possible delay at Reagan National airport due to the cutbacks of the TSA because of the sequester, Congress immediately voted to waive that portion of the putative money-saving bill so it could fly off to its home towns to continue to do nothing but fund-raise.
In short, there is no one at the helm of this once greater nation.
Enterprising and freshly minted Republican senators and house members are using the inertia of what ordinarily takes place in August to rev up their own machines for re-election or for simple name recognition.
And what are the wondrous Democrats doing to put the train back on the tracks? Nothing.
The Democrats seem content to sit on the sidelines and watch, ever hopeful that the Republicans will somehow self-destruct and just go away. Apart from the newly enlisted governor of Rhode Island, the Democratic slate is as empty as the Republican legislation agenda. There are no risk-takers, no man or woman courageous enough to call out the obdurate opposition who, no matter what gentle means of persuasion the president tries, are determined to kick him in the teeth.
Whereas we are all horrified at the tornadoes that seem to strike daily in the center of the country, we can also be proud of how responsive local organizations and FEMA have been on the ground.
And to counter this tiny bit of good-feeling, we have the spectacle of major industrial giants operating as independent fiefdoms…Apple sheltering billions of dollars abroad, and Shell oil lying through its teeth about oil-spills and its wonderfully effective steps to minimize damage to the environment.
While the Democrats are crossing their fingers – and even occasionally getting what they wanted for Christmas last a little late, like the resignation of Michelle Bachmann from the House – they also seem perfectly content to let the immigration bill founder. Even the general public is cozened into believing an economic recovery is at hand, witness the increase in housing prices and the growing sense of consumer confidence, based more on hope than on fact. Investors are racing once more to buy homes throughout the country to hold and then to flip for greater return. This is what caused the great Housing Bubble of 2007 and 2008 to burst, but God forbid anyone remember that far back.
Plainly the nation is adrift. Even Barbara Bush realizes this is not a good time for another Bush in the White House.
What we’re left with is speculation about some man or woman who can ride to our rescue, revive our own determination and talent, and make the US of A once more a country that matters, a nation of hard-working, well-paid, far-sighted citizens who actually do believe in the rule of law and in our revered Constitution. Whose representatives can somehow be forced to do the people’s business. Who recognize the value of diversity in our history.
Folks, another “Star Trek” movie isn’t going to save us. Another dazzling display of special effects isn’t going to alter the planet’s fate.
And just to slip this item in to our catalogue of things many people may be depending on, it appears to our reading of the Constitution that Senator Ted Cruz of Texas can never become president of these United States because he was born in Canada. Period.
In the short run, which is to say right here and now, mired as we are in economic stasis, it matters not one whit whether Hillary decides to run in 2016. We as a nation cannot wait that long for remedial action and personalities and plans and legislation.
Bridges collapse, cranes hover menacingly, Wall Street is back in business in every possible way, the sequester is daily causing more and more people to look far and wide for second or third jobs, Federal furloughs are affecting plans for children to learn and grow and move on to college.
There are no white knights, or knights of any color, on the horizon to help turn the nation from frivolity, self-indulgence, misdirected anger. There is no physician who can help us heal ourselves.
The task is ours alone.