Like most of you, I have knee jerk reactions to many things I see. Someone abuses a pet, I want to take them outside for a good old fashioned visit to the barn. I have even stronger reactions as crimes become more violent or personal. I don’t like paying money to the government to see them waste it on stupid projects, on people who don’t deserve it, or on entire countries who don’t appreciate it.
But, I also know that this IS a knee jerk reaction. The adult in me says, “Wait up just a minute. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t be that jerk who screams for blood only to find out that the situation isn’t at all like it first sounded.”
America it’s time to put our adult hats on and start thinking seriously about what can honestly be done about our problems. In just a few short months we are going to be asked to choose who will run this country. Who we are going to put in charge of a country that makes TRILLIONS of dollars every year. We are going to ask them to direct those funds into our national defense, our social safety net, and our infrastructure.
Both the Republican and the Democratic primaries have revealed just how corrupt our system is becoming. We have two populist (Sanders, Trump) candidates on each side who are swaying the masses with a call for reform. We have two candidates (Clinton, Kasich) who represent their respective parties more traditional (labor, big business) interests. We have one candidate who represents a more Conservative religious right position (Cruz). We have a virtually stalemated Congress and a crippled Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, our middle class is diminishing in size, our country is exporting needed jobs overseas, major corporations legitimately and illegitimately pay less and less in taxes. The number of poor is increasing, and the wealthy see their incomes reaching into tens of BILLIONS of dollars. The disparity is mind-numbing.
Our medical system is a worldwide disgrace. We pay dozens, if not hundreds of times more for our medications than anyplace else on earth. Every civilized nation on earth has managed to work out how to fairly handle universal health care, but our complex system of competition between, doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry, and insurance companies has driven our healthcare system into a worldwide laughingstock.
Our educational system is foundering. We have some of the best universities in the world, but our best and brightest come out with a degree and so far in debt that they might as well be sold as indentured servants.
We speak of how high we hold our freedom, and yet almost HALF of the world’s prisoners are in our jails – more than any dictatorship in history.
We speak of treating everybody equally, yet, HALF of black American males will find themselves in jail at least once during their lifetime.
We have a giant statue in New York harbor which advertises us as the land which welcomes. “Send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Then we take miniscule number of refugees from the Syrian crisis and talk about closing our borders to all Muslims because they MIGHT be terrorists.
We talk about respecting the rights of sovereign nations and then we scream approval for talk about blackmailing a foreign government into building a wall that would cost them tens of billions of dollars to construct. Why? To stop illegal immigration into our country. Yet, we know that those same people are being used by OUR businesses to farm, to pick our crops, to prepare our food, to do countless thankless jobs. Who is really to blame? The immigrant desperate for money to feed a family, the company who hired him because he (or she) would work for sub-par pay? Perhaps we are also a bit to blame? We want our good and labor cheap (unless we are doing the work). We don’t push to have the companies owners penalized more heavily. We underfund the INS and the border patrols. We allow enclaves to develop where such people can hide. We allow places to develop where drugs and silence rule.
We have nation states vying to create nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missle systems to deliver them. We have a slowly re-arising cold war. We have the potential for worldwide epidemics that can spread at an alarming rate and are resistant to our best drugs.
And then there are the issues we don’t want to be true, Global warming, diminishing worldwide fresh water supply, overpopulation, species extinction.
I don’t care who you vote for. That is your right. But I do care that you think about just how fragile our world situation is. Stop looking for simple, easy solutions. There are none. This election is important – and not just at a presidential level. It is not just about one issue. It’s not about one knee jerk reaction. It’s not time to pick somebody who recognizes your personal hot button as being a real issue that they can talk about.
It’s time to look carefully at the solutions being offered by the candidates to all the issues. Are they truly realistic? Who has credibility on the world stage? Who has actually checked the math to see if their programs are actually financially doable?
Also, don’t be gulled by people on talk shows with an agenda. Right and left wing pundits get paid to make things dramatic, to exaggerate, and in many cases to outright lie. Check the claims of BOTH sides. Fact check with independent organizations.
Then make up your mind.
Stop imagining that you can pick a candidate based on one issue. The country, the world, is much more complicated than that.
It’s time to be grown-ups now.