1. Failure to Repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, a law that never should have been passed. Why are there surveys being taken of people in the military today as to what they want? If there had been surveys taken of the whites in the south during the 1950s or early 1960s, would we have had a civil rights bill? Or if there had been surveys taken in the military in the 1940s, would there have been integration in the armed forces, or would we still have separate African American units? And don’t you think that racial integration was probably much more disruptive to team spirit than repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” would be? And aren’t we a country where at least the federal government should be focusing on civil rights for all citizens?
2. Continuation of the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich. The theory of course (which I don’t think anyone really believes) is that eliminating the tax cuts for those who make over $250,000 will convince these folks that there is no longer a reason to work or to hire others to work or to invest. Well, really, how dumb and insincere can you be? If this lower tax rate is so important, where are the results today that support it? We are still at 9.8% unemployment and the rich are still getting richer. This used to be a Republican thing only – now it is a Republican thing, backed by the administration. And, oh yes, what happened about worrying about the deficit? This continuation, along with the other tax breaks contained in the President’s compromise with the GOP, will cost, it is estimated, between $600 and $800 billion dollars – with only the fingers-crossed promise that it will help the economy rebound. To paraphrase Walt Kelly: President Obama has met the enemy, and it is him.
3. Failing manufacturing and failing infrastructure. How can America’s economy recover without jobs (it can’t), and how can we have a sufficient number of jobs without both a revitalized manufacturing sector and a large infrastructure/construction program (we can’t). Where is our country’s jobs program (nowhere), and where is our infrastructure program (nowhere, as well). So what will we look like ten or twenty years hence?
4. Lack of sufficient education. The latest results were published today comparing US and other countries in educating their young in reading, math and science. We are 17th in reading, 31st in math, and 23rd in science. Who are we kidding? We export blue collar and mid-level white collar jobs abroad, and in order to keep our universities, and largest private and public institutions going, we import students and employees who have been educated abroad. How long can this go on?
5. Oy, our health care. The statistics involving the health of Americans rivals the statistics involving the education of Americans. You go to Canada, where a single payer, multi-provider system has been operating for decades and talk to Canadians about the American health care system and they say what all of us should know: it makes no sense, that governments should support a sense of community which encompasses all their citizens, and that health care should be available to all. It also, of course, makes no sense economically, when our sub-par health care system (of course there are exceptions in the country, where care is tops) costs so much more per capita than do the health care programs abroad.
6. Bristol Palin. The idea that, with all of these important issues, the country focuses on Bristol Palin’s dancing (which I am happy to say I have not seen) is indicative of where we are. Indeed, the fact that we focus on Bristol Palin’s mother at all is indicative of where we are.
7. The Republicans and the Democrats. Now this is just my opinion, of course, but I believe that the Republicans have shown a remarkable degree of practical competence, combined with total ideological failure. For the country, that is obviously bad. And the Democrats have shown themselves to be politically and practically incompetent. Because of their incompetence, it really doesn’t make a difference as to whether or not Democrats are right on the issues that face the country. Or whether, as a party, they have any idea what their position is on any issues.
8. Campaign financing. The Supreme Court (where even most of the liberals are conservative) now believes that political contributions are free speech, and that corporations are people for all purposes (except, I guess, voting, but maybe that will come later), and that any amount of corporate money can be used to support political campaigns and candidates. We will see how this plays out, but it clearly ignores the real problem, which is that the American political system (with primaries in every state with their own lengthy campaigns) and then long election campaigns (with no controls over spending), is corrosive of good government, economy, and overall feelings of community and cooperation. How will we ever get beyond this box?
9. And…… I didn’t mention energy and resource depletion and global warming, foreign relations in general (or specifics), the salaries of professional athletes, gun rights and crime, drug issues, terrorism and transportation problems, and on and on.
Yes, we are in real trouble. It does not look like the Obama administration can get us out of the jam we are in. And 2012 looks like it will make things worse.
What to do? Not sure – maybe I will go to YouTube, and look for Bristol Palin, and see if I am missing a clue, and that if everyone else knows something that I just can’t see.