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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Temporary Insanity



If I had a nickel for every time someone remarked to me that they think the whole country is going crazy… I’d have a small handful of nickels. Probably not enough for a cup of coffee, but maybe I could buy a guitar pick or two. Note, this is unsolicited conjecture – it’s not like I go around asking for this kind of thing.

Anyway, I disagree. You might be going crazy, but the whole country isn’t.

While you’re putting on the hip waders, let me say happy Veteran’s Day, and if you are a current or former service member, please accept my sincere gratitude. 

Last week’s midterm elections, wherein all US Representative and 1/3 of all Senate seats, along with many state Governorships, were voted upon in our 50 (at last count) states, the Republican Party made substantial gains. Probably the most significant was retaking the majority in the Senate, which means that, starting next year, Republicans can appoint the Senate Majority Leader and Chairpeople and majority membership of all of the committees (the committees are where the real power is, but that’s a bigger topic than I want to get into here).

The media talking heads have interpreted and analyzed the results in all sorts of ways, so I won’t add to the confusion other than to say, it happened. When a similar turnover of power occurred in 1994, nobody saw it coming, but this time it was a surprise to pretty much nobody who was paying attention. I will say this though – the American people did not all of a sudden become Republican, and there was no good reason to vote “for” them. There was no “Contract with America” or any other discernable conservative principles put forth. No, this was a repudiation of the current administration’s policies and performance. To name a few:

Iraq: we pulled out, left a power vacuum, and it was summarily filled by a more powerful and pernicious terror group than the one we previously dispatched. And they’re fighting with our old weapons.
 
Russia: they got Ukraine.

Iran: everything about Iran.

The Economy: the unemployment numbers are total fiction. Only the ultra-wealthy are enjoying the “recovery,” and it’s mostly with our tax dollars. Meanwhile we’re saddled with an unpayable debt to China and young people are pretty much bereft of opportunity outside of government dependence.

Obamacare: the more people learn about it, and the more it gets implemented, the less they like it.

The IRS Scandal: the use of our taxing authority to suppress political opposition, and the complete lack of accountability for it, make Zimbabwe look downright democratic.

Values Issues: most Americans oppose “same-sex marriage” and other facets of the homosexual agenda, late-term abortion, Honey Boo Boo, reality TV, etc.

These are just a few of the more public failures and signs of cultural decline; I’m sure you could add a few – Benghazi, Mexican gun-running, the various green energy scams, declining race relations, etc., etc. If this was all you saw, then I’d have to agree that the entire country’s gone crazy.

Here are two reasons why I say it’s not: (1) last Tuesday’s elections, and (2) the all-volunteer armed forces.

To me, the message of Tuesday’s elections was that, despite the relentless drumbeat of pro-administration propaganda from the news media and pop culture, we’ve managed to break the hypnotic spell. Those of us who voted for “hope and change,” well, I admire and appreciate your optimism and idealism, but I think we’ve all come to realize that it was an open mandate, and maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to put it in the hands of a neophyte with no relevant experience or discernable background, and an ambiguous national origin. Lest you read this as an anti-0bama screed, let me just say that he didn’t do all this alone; in fact he couldn’t have, while taking about four times as many vacations as us working stiffs, and playing more rounds of golf in the past six years than I’ve played in my entire life. At any rate, it’s time to sober up; the party didn’t turn out quite like we planned, the football team came and trashed the place and ran off with your girlfriend, and mom and dad are coming home in a few hours.

Meanwhile, while we’re not doing so hot on the political and diplomatic front, we do still have the strongest and best-trained armed forces in the world. This is our ace in the hole. And the encouraging thing is, it’s comprised entirely of volunteers. We haven’t had a draft since the Vietnam era, and despite the known deprivation, discomfort, and risks, we still have no shortage of qualified young adults who sign up to serve, knowing that it may even require the ultimate sacrifice. 

My old Aunt Hazel (OAH), a reliable font of non-sequiturs, once offered a pertinent observation: “It’s not the world that’s going crazy, it’s the people in it.” With that, happy Veteran’s Day and please give me a hand cleaning the place up – we don’t have much time!

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