Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
“Above the comforts of Base Camp, the expedition in fact became an almost Calvinistic undertaking. The ratio of misery to pleasure was greater by an order of magnitude than any mountain I'd been on; I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain. And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking above all else, something like a state of grace.”
-Jon Krakhauer, Into Thin Air
I am not sure the country is seeking a state of grace but we are surely seeking something of a much higher order than we are getting. Congress adjourns, the President spends twenty million dollars of our money flying off to vacation in Hawaii and we peer over the edge of a monetary cliff of our own making because we have elected people that have all of the leadership skills of some Grinch that is stealing our Christmas because we let him. Ultimately it is us you know, “We the People,” and perhaps it is our two party system of government that has failed us because we put people in power who know how to run for election and re-election but who somehow have no idea how to govern the nation. It is pathos, absurdity and frankly a tragedy that we face a financial calamity, and it is just that, and our elected leaders head off on vacation.
"Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us."
-William Shakespeare, Henry IV
It may not be fiddling while Rome is burning but it isn’t that far off that course. In the end, I suspect, we will pass the deadlines and find ourselves in trouble. I say this because to date all we are discussing is who to tax and we have not made one serious effort to confront the social programs that have elected people but which the country cannot afford. It is not that complicated at its core; we cannot afford the entitlements that we have legislated and so the nation must, like any household, man up to what we can and cannot afford and get on with it. No use pretending that we are as rich as we once were and so we must first cut-back and then get down to the serious business of how we can increase our revenues. Households, corporations or governments; the fundamental issues apply and while different themes may apply for the fix; America’s economic condition must be fixed.
"The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority."
-Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
I have suggested we place hard limits for our social programs and entitlements and work backwards and I believe this would be the prudent course but somehow prudence does not seem to be part of the thinking in Washington these days. If we said that 25 million Americans could be on food stamps or that only so much can be afforded for Medicare or Social Security then we could start from that point and make the necessary adjustments in terms of who qualified for what or raise the age qualification or allow people in gradually as a result of the limits that were set. Common sense, while never very popular in our nation’s capital, must have been banned in the fine print of some legislative act of which none of us are aware.
“Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things. Every day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature is winning.”
The awful truth is that WE are responsible. We elected these people. We condone a two party system where we end up with a choice between the mediocre and the inferior. We are left to choose between the fool and the idiot and the men of character, the people of intellect and those focused on the health of the nation are left behind either because they will not participate or because they cannot survive the taunts and tricks of those that have no other interest besides their own ego and their own self-interests. I make no apologies. This is our fault and until and unless WE start demanding a government that represents our interests and values and morals that sets-aside America from other nations; we have no one to blame but ourselves. That is the sad truth of it which is why going off our present fiscal cliff may be the best thing that could happen to the United States. We might just wake up!
“Without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”
-Frank Herbert, Dune