Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"We have met the enemy..." -- the Congressional debacle

Following the devastating and horrific events of September 11, 2001, our country came together to mourn, to regroup, to help pick up the pieces and clean up the unbelievable, and to begin to move forward as one country unified by a tragedy that we could never have imagined would happen on our own ground.

Ten years ago.

And look where our country is now. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

We have a Congress who cannot agree on anything and whose failure to keep the good of the country uppermost in its decisions has resulted in the first downgrade of American credit EVER, a 10 percent drop in yesterday's stock market (although a slight improvement today), and an unprecedented unhappiness with our elected Congress.

There are predictions that the already shaky economy will dip back into recession. At best it means further tightening of our collective belts -- and for many, there may not be many notches left, given what we've already been through. The S&P downgrade is significant. It is actually scary as hell, regardless of what generation you are in.

And everybody involved is blaming the other guy.

Forbes magazine columnist  Bill Singer has captured some of the outrage that most Americans feel about the latest Washington shenanigans in this post. Among other things, he says, "...Moreover, our economy remains on life support and Congress is on vacation. Seriously? On vacation? You folks don’t think that you have a ton of work to tackle? You think that you just accomplished something with the deficit reduction vote?...
What you didn’t do is forge a plan to put millions of unemployed back to work. You didn’t propose steps to unfreeze the frozen credit pipeline. You didn’t do jack to restore the confidence of antsy consumers and unsure entrepreneurs..."

Nobody gets off free in this, although in my opinion it's the Tea Partiers who resisted any compromise talk and refused to listen to leaders of even their own party who bear the bulk of the responsibility. Nonetheless, neither party gets points for this debacle.

So what can we, out here in the remote outposts, do? HuffPost's Arianna Huffington says, "...Washington has tuned out the country, and the sentiment is being reciprocated. The question becomes: what now? Well, one place to start is with ourselves. Our politicians have chosen to narrow their imaginations, but they can't narrow ours. Even if we can't control how Washington responds to our problems, we still have control over how we respond to them..."
In other words, Congressional elections are in 2012. If you don't like what we've got in Washington, work to change it. Write letters. Write blog posts. Make phone calls. Tell them how you feel, tell them your stories. Be visible. Be active. Show up. Stand up. DO. NOT. SETTLE. for what we have now. 
The whole mess reminds me quite a bit of the old Kingston Trio song, "The Merry Little Minuet," by songwriter Sheldon Harnick. Although it was written in the late 1950s, there is too much still true today, this minute. And that's just a sad commentary on where we are now, ten years after 9/11.

"They’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain,
There’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain
This whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For Man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we can be certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off…and we will all be blown away
They’re rioting in Africa, There’s strife in Iran
What Nature doesn’t do to us will be done by our Fellow Man"


mxtodis123 said...

Great post, Beth. We all have to wake up. The city here is getting bad. The clients were discussing it at lunch the other day....how the crime rates will rise, and the city will be a dangerous place to be.

Hoping you are doing well and had a great summer.

Anonymous said...

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