ACHTUNG: The following is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
“There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it.” — The Supremes, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
“Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.” — Comedian George Carlin.
These two quotations may best describe my personal experience with retirement (excepting Georges Santayana’s iconic “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”)
I was told a long time ago that if you work hard and are frugal with your money, eventually your Golden Years will be just that. They’re not, but that’s because I feel helpless and powerless as I sit and watch everything go to hell in a handbasket. I feel like I’m rubbernecking, watching a lot of death and destruction, just like a motorist passing by a fatal traffic crash.
It is futile to speak up.
“Watch what you say, they’ll be calling you a radical…” — Supertramp. “The Logical Song,”1979.
I feel like we’ve been fiddlin’ as the world burns.
There are too many alarming developments in these perilous times:
- Climate change — I’m sick and tired of being called the equivalent of Chicken Little for insisting we collectively do something about human caused natural catastrophes that seem to keep piling up. How many more instances do we need before we act?
The West is burning, the East and Gulf Coasts are being pummeled with hurricanes, rainstorms and flooding. Even Siberia is hot.
We’re told we can’t do anything because China, India and Russia won’t. The consequences are looking more and more like the extinction of human beings.
- The Covid pandemic — Eerily similar to climate change except that we have been lucky enough to have discovered something to beat this vile virus, but too many of us refuse to use the vaccine. The naysayers say it’s their choice, their freedom, ignoring that this tiny enemy spreads among us as a result of their “choices.”
The United States has the poorest record in handling Covid-19 because too many have regarded it as a political rather than public health issue. They choose “freedom” over life.
As of July 1 this year, many of us believed we finally had this viral scourge on the run… but no!
When I was a child, I suffered through three polio vaccines administered to all in my school without any objections that we knew about. There are many more instances of vaccines wiping out or severely reducing deadly diseases.
- Assault weapons — Why anyone needs to own a gun or rifle that kills a lot of people in a very short time challenges rational thinking and arouses suspicion about the owner’s intentions.
To be sure, eradicating gun violence, which seems to dominate daily stories, even locally, is a daunting task, but I firmly believe resurrecting the assault weapons ban and implementing background checks at least would be a start.
As someone eloquently said a few years ago, the fact we collectively did nothing after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012 shows that we’re just letting it happen.
- The wealth gap — We’ve been told for the last 40 years (since the start of the Reagan Revolution) that cutting taxes on the rich will be good for our country’s economy and a rising tide lifts all boats. The last example of that thinking was the tax cut for the rich and corporations in 2017.
The results always have been the same. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Why do we collectively continue to just sit back and let it happen?
It is amazing that the poorest rural people continue to support policies that run counter to their own economic interests. They still elect these politicians who are beneficiaries of a system of legalized bribery. The wealthy have benefitted and want to keep things just the way they are. And they have the power to do so.
The reasons can be summed up in the genius of Republican Party propaganda strategy from the late 1970s — “God, guns, guts, gays and abortion.” The Culture Wars have served the GOP well as it continues to circle the drain of totalitarianism.
And here I sit in my Golden Years, only able to watch the country I don’t recognize and once loved travel down the road to perdition.
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” — John Adams