One Small Voice: The U.S. indeed has a sick society

by Lynn Mandaville

America is a very, very sick nation.

It ought to be on life support, for all the care it’s being given on a federal level, but it’s not even in ICU.

The array of issues we face today seems far worse than at any time I can remember.

When I was just a sprout – a naïve college kid tucked away in the rural hills of Alfred, New York – the worst things we faced were the illegal conflict in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, and the burgeoning civil and women’s rights movements.

We were socially active, marching for the Equal Rights Amendment and against the war.  For voting rights and integration and against Jim Crow and the military-industrial complex.

Nixon resigned in disgrace rather than face an impeachment, encouraged by his own ashamed party, and led by the esteemed Barry Goldwater.  We became disenchanted with Washington in general, but we embraced our new President Gerald Ford, knowing he could restore honor to the office and integrity to a Congress dedicated to getting things done for the people.

Now, we are about a year and a half into Joe Biden’s new administration, an administration laden with a tanking economy and low approval ratings.

Even though we don’t have Trump in Washington any more, he still rattles cages around the country, stirring up the MAGAs and the Republicans who have stayed true to the cult that is Trump.

But a pandemic has left behind much worse things than the former president.

The economy has not bounced back from the shutdown.  Jobs go unfilled and businesses continue to flounder under reduced hours and employee shortages.

Other issues plague us as liberals and conservatives wreak havoc with their stubborn insistence that Democrats and Republicans are bitter enemies who cannot, under any circumstances, work together for the people who elected all of them.  

Among this plethora of issues are: women’s rights to dominion over their own bodies; ownership of guns that wildly surpasses reasonable standards; an economy that was revealed by the pandemic to devalue essential workers and favor the haves over the have-nots; reversal of civil rights for Blacks and brown people; a devolving of civility, or a desire to elevate personal behavior displayed by the most base human urges; a Supreme Court that is more interested in politics than interpretatiing Constitutional law; an acceptance of lying as the coin of the realm.

With so many problems to be dealt with, Washington seems unable to decide, as my Pop used to say, whether to sh*t or get off the pot.

While the people struggle to find infant formula, or a job that pays a living wage, the morons in Congress are so busy obfuscating about January 6th that we can’t get legislation approved to codify Roe v. Wade and secure women’s rights to have control over their corporeal selves.

While the Supreme Court leaks sensitive documents, the former president and his cronies are defying subpoenas while lying about things they have been caught blatantly saying on video.

While parents are frantically trying to figure out how to feed their babies, Joe Biden is failing to unite his own party to pass legislation regarding their own platform.  (Which is just a rehash of what Republicans have been doing for the past nearly twenty years with regard to affordable health care for Americans, or tax reform that would actually help the middle class.)

All these things have been preying on my mind for many months now, as I’m sure they have been on yours.

Now, this morning, Sunday, May 15, we are watching unfold the details of yet another mass shooting, this time in Buffalo, NY.  And it’s another white boy with an assault-style rifle trying to settle some perceived score against Blacks.  A boy who last year, it seems, had planned to shoot up his high school.  A boy who has been influenced by White Supremacist web groups, who would drive hundreds of miles to find a neighborhood of mostly Black people he could murder.  A boy who last year was ordered to be evaluated in a psychiatric hospital for perceived mental illness.  With which he almost certainly is afflicted.

And what will Washington do?  They will sit with their thumbs up their butts while sending meaningless thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families.

In the past I have ranted and raved about gun control.  But in the months that have passed – though full of a steady stream of mass shootings all over the country – I have come to the conclusion that the problem is so big and so multi-faceted that there is nothing that can be done without starting all over to protect the Second Amendment as it was probably intended, while enacting serious, reasonable control over firearms in this country, like we do with automobiles, driver’s licenses, dog licenses, building permits, OHSA requirements, ADA compliance, and labor laws.

The defense of the Second Amendment has become supercharged with oversimplification of the directive that all people have a God-given right to unlimited access for purchase and ownership of any number of any type of firearm and their ammunition.

It is conveniently forgotten, or omitted, that this allowance was first given in order to allow for militias to operate in a young nation that had no organized, centralized army or navy.

The recent onset of Putin’s war in Ukraine has opened my eyes to an exception to the rule where it might be advantageous for the populace to be armed against a surprise invading force by a neighboring country. It would be nice if individuals were prepared to form a resistance to invaders like Putin’s ragtag army.

However, I doubt that most Americans even know how to use the various and sundry weapons that may be lying around their homes, garages, and barns, much less how to mount a successful contrarian attack against invading hordes.

Instead, we are left with young wannabes like Kyle Rittenhouse (of the Minneapolis protests fame) and Payton Gendron, the young man who killed ten in Buffalo yesterday.  Troubled teens who play dress-up in their camouflage outfits carrying all-too deadly automatic rifles as they rail against their supposed domestic enemies.  Whites against Blacks, whites against Jews, whites against anybody who they believe are out to replace them in the “natural order” of things in America.

Mental illness is epidemic in America today.

And the inmates are running the asylum, armed to the teeth with unregulated weapons.

Twenty-six dead in Sandy Hook in 2012, sixty dead in Las Vegas in 2017, and how many all told between Columbine, CO, where 13 died in 1999, through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killings of 17 in 2018 in Parkland, FL, to today, another ten dead in Buffalo?

And Washington sits on its hands, doing nothing, caring not for dead children or their parents, shot down dead doing what people do every day of their lives – going to school, shopping for groceries, attending a concert.

It’s a bloodbath in America.

No other developed nation on planet earth has the degree of death at our own hands than does the United States of America.

With all the ills we face in this country, maybe ending the violence against ourselves would be a smart place to put our efforts, money, time, and honest concern for our nation.  Maybe it’s time to forget all the testosterone-laden posing and truly man-up, to throw lots of money at mental health in America, and to regulate in a fair and common-sense manner the firearms we buy and sell with such impunity.

We certainly can’t do any worse than we’re doing right now.


  • Believe it or not, I have shortened this response from a full page and growing, because you always spew so much hatred in your articles, there is just so much to respond to. I’ll summarize to just a few points:

    1) I could write a series of articles on the subject, but will condense it to your president is a disaster. He destroys everything he touches, and is morally corrupt. Would you say you love Biden more than you hate conservatives? How can you still blame Trump for everything with a straight face? He wasn’t perfect, but he was a heck of a lot closer. Yet, you still regularly trash his supporters. I remember a few months ago you said Carter was the president we needed? Carter, the president many historians list as one of the worst presidents? Soon you’ll have two favorites on that list. Not a good track record. Newsflash, lady: You are attacking a great deal of good, honorable Americans who love this country. Why the hate?
    2) I am a man, but that doesn’t absolve me the responsibility to speak up against wrong. Killing babies is wrong. If you are all in for women’s rights (I am, too, but I don’t think baby killing is a right), and a BLM supporter (I support black people, but the organization is straight up a scam), have you any idea how many black women are being killed in the womb? How is that justifiable in your mind? I will speak up for innocent baby women and for innocent baby black people, both of whom you fully support the institutional murder of. How does that make you, or other democrats, more loving or morally superior people? Do you see the hypocrisy there? If abortions were performed with a gun, would guns be ok?
    3) Are you really comparing Kyle Rittenhouse to a mass shooter? Kyle was attacked, and defended himself with his gun. Can you not see the difference? Are you against self-defense? That’s fascinating to me. What you call “testosterone-laden posing” is considered by many to be a protector of flower children such as yourself. Evil will always exist in this world, and people like you will always need a protector. Or you can say, in your estrogen-laden posing, that you don’t need a protector. That’s fine. Maybe you can just throw a flower at the bad guy.
    Your pictures make you look like such a nice lady. I think that’s what makes it all the more disappointing to read your constant attacks on so many good Americans. I don’t think the democratic party looks good on anybody, but I especially think you can be better than that.

    • Ralph,

      Please don’t waste your time, she has been spewing the same hatred for as long as she has been writing here. She didn’t dare speak about the border that is a total disaster and will get worse when they (the liberals) abolish title 42. Could you imagine the uproar if former President Donald Trump would have let the baby formula run out while having what was left sent to the Mexico border…….This man is insane………

  • Ralph Capone lives in his alternate facts universe fed by FoxNews and OAN commentator blather if he wants to continue to foist the myth Kyle Rittenhouse was some poor unfortunate protecting himself against unarmed protestors.

    Like the Buffalo shooter, Rittenhouse wanted to play soldier without serving so he left his Northeastern Illinois home armed with a semi-automatic rifle to “protect Kenosha WI”. After shooting the kid some want to portray as a hero promptly drive back to Illinois and hid at mom and dad’s house.

    Rittenhouse is part of the new breed of cowardly wannabe soldiers who love carry guns, dress up like soldiers and want to play victim. The shooter in Buffalo just turned the violence dial another notch.

    There’s a lot of bad things going on. We have an ex-President insisting his re-election loss was manufactured and his minions perpetuating the Big Lie. Look no further than who is seeking the GOP nominations to represent Allegan County in Congress. All perpetuating the Big Lie and trying to convince voters that former President Trump likes them better than their opponents, regardless of the elected offices they are seeking. According to the current GOP elections are fraudulent unless their candidates win.

    We have the world’s richest authoritarian invading Ukraine while rattling the nuclear threat if independent EU nations Sweden and Finland join NATO. It seems like more of a threat to WWIII than anything I’ve ever experienced.

    Baby formula shortage was cause by a confluence of COVID pandemic; a shortage of truckers to move raw product to formula plants and completed product to warehouses; a lack of inspections and plant hygiene that resulted in a shutdown of Abbots biggest formula plant in Sturgis MI and finally the long American tradition of hoarding exacerbated by opportunists buying up available product to resell at inflated prices.

    A majority of the Supreme Court seemed ready to reverse Roe v Wade from moment the last two associate justices were sworn in after being approved in lightening speed by the GOP majority Senate. ( After stalling Merritt Garland nomination for a year because it was too close to an election, 12 months).

    What’s next? Ban on morning after pills? Ban on birth control pills? No exceptions for rape or incest? I’m waiting to see the angry Right to Lifers to be just as angry about the lack of funding for social safety nets for the parents and children who arrive if Roe v Wade is overturned.

    I’m certain the views expressed resonate with some readers. The snide anti-female estrogen remarks; handwringing about the unborn; a desire for US theocracy with God based government; seeking control over women with whom they disagree; embracing a brand of “conservatism” that appeals to people promoting doubts about election integrity with The Big Lie and supporting armed self-appointed militia. Looks like a desire for an American Taliban to me.

    • 2030,

      What did the courts say about Kyle Rittenhouse? So it wasn’t the outcome that CNN led you to believe…..

      Are you still satisfied with the job President Biden has done with securing the border? That’s probably Putins fault as well……….Along with fuel prices………54 Billion to Ukraine good idea as well?


  • Sure, Ralph, we don’t have a gun problem in the US. And sure, of course, women shouldn’t be able to choose what decisions they select in regard to their their bodies. And sure, Lynn, Lynn’s a hater.

  • Lynn I have always enjoyed ( for many years) reading your commentary. Doesn’t matter if I agree or not. Filtering out the emotional rehash of by-lines and partisan spew can be challenging but there are good points made in there.
    One thing that caught my attention was this “…women’s rights to dominion over their own bodies…”.
    And, “…Washington sits on its hands, doing nothing, caring not for dead children …..”
    These are human rights issues correct? That’s what it boils down to.

    So what about my yet to be born granddaughter?
    She’s a woman. Doesn’t she have rights over her body and an expectation of protection of those rights via her government?

    • Jake, I hear you are in education. I hope it is just teaching folks how to throw a ball. Good Day.

        • I must say, I find it amusing that you so often quote Monty Python. That comedic group so loved to poke fun at many groups that you seem to champion. Have you actually watched their television shows or movies? I know my family loved them. Many thanks to my Dad for introducing me to this comedic troupe; we shared lots of laughs together watching the VHS tapes when I was a much younger concerned citizen.
          And I agree with David, I hope Mr Gless has much success teaching kids to throw balls.

  • Thank you, Lynn. These delusional undereducated guys here in the comments can’t handle having their delusions uncovered. Reality is a threat to them. They’re threatened by and they’re jealous of your character and temerity.

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