Friday, November 15, 2013

Orchestrated Drama*

Orchestrated drama is just that:  orchestrated.  And I don’t know about the rest of my fellow citizens, but I, for one, have no time for it.

Both sides will compromise far too much to suit my personal values and not near enough to suit my practical need to get things done.

It is the real tension of politics.  Always has been, I suspect.

So I can’t hold with the tea-party folk simply because I cannot find my highest good in a fiscal responsibility that will not cut military spending.  Therein lies the lie, at least for me, of the tea-party aims.  Be willing to cut it all, even the part that hurts your felt values, and then we’ll get somewhere.  Until then, go away.

And I can’t hold much with my left-wing progressive friends either, so long as they remain unwilling to talk to the older folk about some sacrifice.  I’m just not willing to carve out one huge segment of the population and say they’re off limits.

If sacrifice is called for, it’s got to be shared, doesn’t it?

That remains my problem with AARP:  acting as if, as an old person, my only interests rest with self.  Don’t my interests also rest in the well-being of the generations?  I like to think so.

So from one citizen whiling her time away in a hospital room sitting with an elderly mother recovering from a car accident, I say, get on with it.  Put it all on the table.  And don’t any of you dare come back to us and speak of sacrifice unless it’s shared and proportional.

It is not the same for a rich man to give up $100 as for a poor man.  Do not insult us by pretending that it is.  Admit that military spending is as much about employment as it is about actual defense of the nation.  Quit trying to scare us.  There is only so safe we will ever be, no matter how many guns we possess.

Treat us like grownups.

*This was written late December, 2012, while I sat in intensive care with my mother (who has recovered amazingly well).  There was yet another looming fiscal crisis.  Now we’ve been given a few months of relative quiet on the fiscal front, as we sit in between one fiscal crisis and the next – a process of intentional delay and failure to address root causes that simply prolongs our inevitabilities.  I don’t know about the rest of the citizenry, but I grow weary of it.

I grow weary of Senators holding the floor of their body hostage to showmanship that accomplishes nothing.

I grow weary of a media that treats me like an idiot.

I grow weary of us as citizens, who apparently are willing to be treated as idiots, buying into the next crazed claim made by our respective partisan champions.

I am citizen and I grow weary.

And I ponder what I can do.  It seems like not much.  But there is one thing I can do – I can make my voice heard.  One voice isn’t much.  But many voices matter (in our time, they’re called opinion polls and we have become a nation that now governs by opinion polls, more’s the pity).

So one thing I am going to do is post to my own FB page what I, as a citizen, am willing to sacrifice in order to help get our fiscal house in order.

This is how it will read: “I am a citizen of the United States.  I am 58 years old.  In order to help resolve the fiscal crisis of my country and as one who will receive top-tier social security benefits at retirement, I am willing to have my social security benefits cut by 10% (it’s an arbitrary figure – I’d take a bigger cut if that’s what’s needed) in order to help preserve this system for those who come after me.  What are you willing to do?”

Maybe, just maybe, this way, we can come up with some good ideas and let our elected officials know by those nefarious polls that it isn’t political suicide to have sacrifice – it’s just that the sacrifice has to (1) have actual results and (2) be fair.  In other words, if you’re going to cut something like social security, you darned better well cut military spending, corporate subsidies, and other big-ticket items too.

How else do we even begin to look into the faces of folks whose SNAP (food stamp) benefits have been cut?  A woman I know has had hers cut from $16 to $15 per month; another with a family of 4 from $120 to $80.

I can afford the cut.  They can’t.  Cutting their benefits isn’t wisdom.  It’s scandal.  Enough.


  1. Cutting old folks' social security would make sense if - and only if - there would be:
    Raise taxes on the very wealthy
    End subsidies to oil companies
    End subsidies to factory farms
    End tax breaks to companies that move jobs overseas
    End tax breaks to offshore banking
    Etc etc
    Not bloody likely, huh?

    1. All true - but somebody has to go first, I'm thinking. Wish I were wiser.