Monthly Archives: July 2017

It ain’t the heat, it’s the Hume-idity

I just can’t get this series of statements from Brit Hume out of my head:

Hume’s comment: “Obamacare was designed to help the poorest and sickest citizens out there. However, as noble as that sounds, the consequence of such logic is the fact that it neglects the core ethic values that were embedded in our constitution.”

He goes on to define that core value as the responsibility of every American to take care of themselves without burdening others. He says: “If you’re at a point where you’re both poor and you get sick, it’s your own fault.”

As I try to wrap my mind around that arrogant and ignorant analysis, there is something being said here that illuminates a question dividing the left and the right in America: What are our American values?

The Hume/Trump/half of America-side defines our preeminent value as hard work, not burdening others, and thereby reaping the reward of the American Dream; which is ostensibly unlimited success.

The rest of us live in reality. The enduring myth that hard work and rugged individualism will result in prosperity is part of our national fabric, and does, in fact, inspire us, but it is only a chapter in our story. A chapter that is supported by rags to riches evidence, but that evidence is from a narrative written exclusively by those who won. It ignores a larger reality. The reality that contains stories of misfortune with myriad consequences that betray Hume’s “responsibility of every American to take care of themselves.”

No one asks for mental illness, a lost parent from a car accident, cancer, disabilities, or even whooping cough. No one asks to be part of corporate downsizing or to have stagnant wages. No one asked to be born into poverty or for poverty to befall them and the hurdles and challenges of environment, hunger, and limited access to education and healthcare that result.

The reality of oppression from a King, and from amongst ourselves, is what actually created the Constitution and it is embedded in our true American value; to sustain a country of, for and by the people. That is a plural concept, not a singular proposition. The “general welfare” in the Preamble was born from the understood value of the “common good.” Our government was created to support that society, from which individualism and hard work have a clearer path to success, but one cannot divorce themselves from the foundation of the community, large and small, in order to fulfill that dream.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are America’s core values as eloquently expressed in our Declaration of Independence. Not margins, profit and diversified portfolios. To many Americans, today, affluence is the most important measure of success, but the spirit of rebellion that caused colonists to defy a King at the risk of treason, was born from a bigger dream than material wealth; it was the inalienable right to freedom predicated on equal justice.

Or is that just another “spiritual” pleasantry to Mr. Hume and not a real American value?

The End Of The World As We Know It!

zombie-apocalypse-from-overclockersYou know those apocalyptic movies where the world is near extinction because we are being overrun by Zombies?  They became Zombi-fied from a virus that is circumnavigating the world at an exponential rate.

The movie will go back in time, briefly, to show us the unnoticed, seemingly insignificant, event that first sent monkeybrainthe virus airborne into a lethal chain reaction.  It’s usually something as benign as a pet chimp sneezing into their new owner’s cereal bowl.  The intent is to suggest that it’s something so unforeseeable that it could be happening as we sit in this very theater.

What if we are at the beginning of one of those sequences of events right now?  Could we implode from a cacophony of conflicting nuances, divergent political agendas, contradictory rules, extended punishments, threats, insults, and misunderstandings?

I’m not an alarmist, by nature, but my interest in politics compels me to look for patterns in current events.  As a writer, I translate those observations into common analogies to grasp what is going on.  Make sense?  No?

Well…. in America, our solutions to problems, historically, are comparable to an antiquated idea Punished Boy --- Image by © Roy Morsch/CORBISof child rearing.  If there is a behavior that alarms us, punish the culprit and the problem will go away because no one likes to be punished.

So we castigate, eliminate, or incarcerate everything and everyone that had anything to do with anything or anyone who might have said, done, or listened to anything or anyone that might have misconstrued, misjudged, misappropriated or misbehaved.

What happens in reality, however, is the behavior is simply displaced and moves somewhere else or is transposed into a different, but equally poor, behavior.

We have come to a very precarious place where many people think that banishment, chastisement, punishment, censorship and walls can replace education, understanding, compassion, diplomacy and bridges; silence the protest and we eliminate the problem.  Censor the protester, politician, pundit, satirist, musician, writer, parent, teacher, or student…and the conflict is corrected.

In reality, however, we create a more frightened and more fragile society.  And I’m concerned.  We cannot silence of voices who hold our leaders accountable because they are the narrators of our story.  They are the ones who can illuminate that sequence of events before it’s too late.

Can you excuse me for a moment?  My chimpanzee has a cold.