Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Loss of Inheritance

What a mess we're headed for.

The problem is the schizophrenic state of mind we Americans now find ourselves in. 2009. 233 years ago our freedom was won. America's Federal Election 2008 marks the end of the Rugged Individual as exemplified by Ayn Rand’s John Galt, and the beginning of the Universal Citizen, living in the United Nanny States of America. Election ‘08 marks the end of the American Revolution and the end of the American Ideal. Election ‘08 marks the beginning of a not so new system, but new to the American scene. The experiment in America of, what… I fear to say it… Socialism ... or is it Fascism?

The Dream....

Yet the desire to be the rugged individualists our forefathers were continues in some of our imaginations; the men and women attracted by the freedom and opportunity afforded in this then new country, without the stultifying social caste system that limited one's potential. We admire the mythical Marshal Will Kane of High Noon. A straight shooting cop whose sense of duty and honor prevailed over the easier route… to run. At the same time we want to be the social do-gooder, the "rights" advocate, to be the rich fixer of wrongs, Batman. Or we strive to be the stand-up middle-class white collar guy, Mr. Deeds, the societal fixer. We each want to be all of these characters. Bruce Wayne was good, but took the law into his own hands, a regular one man vigilante team. The way to create the change for this “good” society, within the frame-work of our Constitution and within the spirit of the American way remains blurry. Fictional characters and settings are easy. Real life is very tough, change is of necessity very risky. Our founding fathers literally “found” themselves in a changed position and had but little choice but to accept the risk presented. And they did a wonderful job. Nothing like it had ever existed, it was all like a dream, a utopia in comparison with governments the world over.

Today it‘s different. Change with desired outcome, as in a dream, may seem possible and rational. Right now we are in a sort of dream, a surreal world. In this world everyone has or should have, a nice house. Everyone is well and has the best health care. Everyone is well-fed, no one ever misses a meal. Everyone is educated. Home-life and upbringing are wonderful and the playing field of daily-life defies human behavior; at the end of the day each and everyone gets a golden trophy. In our dream there is plenty of cheap clean energy. In that dream we can even control the weather! But now we are awakening and in the cold hard light of day, the impossible in our dream is truly impossible. Our dreams, as amazing and laudable as they were, were only completely rational while we stayed asleep… and remained in the dream.

Becomes a Nightmare...

Is it possible to create a political system that allows all individuals, from the John J. Astors to the Martin Luther Kings of the world to succeed side by side? The answer is, Yes. Is it possible to build a society of 3 or 4 hundred million souls, make them all fat, rich and happy? Sorry, No.

Our forefathers had a dream. They dreamt of a country where opportunity and freedom reigned supreme - a place where one might try for the brass ring, to succeed at any human endeavor …or to fail, but then free to try again, without the hand of government on their shoulder or in their pocket. Today modern politicians seek to use political power in an attempt to achieve their dream, a different dream, as a reality. This is the most dangerous use of political power; to conjure-up an impossible world, not a chance for success…. That path crushes all in its zeal to achieve social justice through “equality.” Not equality of freedom and opportunity, but equal in the way animals in a herd or fish in a school are. To the outsider they all look alike. To use political power to create Nirvana, is not possible; the equality promised under that system leaves out the very essence of what is uniquely human: the desire to achieve happiness via individual effort and the expression of individual talent. To even attempt to create this dream world is not even reasonable. It's been tried. It does not work. Being a human being means being lots of different things, it is our individual lust for life, it is also our burden as we try to be "fair" to others, but the bottom line will always be: life is not for sissies. We are people, the most difficult animal, but as Americans, at least we are free to fail or to succeed individually. We can live the dream of our founding fathers; can we live the dream embodied in that fateful Election of ‘08?

Too Big To..... Succeed!

I think that the country has grown, not too big to fail... but too big to succeed. Local commonalities that once defined local communities, towns, cities and even our states, and ultimately America have vanished. The result? The American that made America “America” is nearly lost. The idea of an American, as envisioned by the likes of Jefferson and Franklin, is an endangered species. Federalism, Socialism, Fascism can't work here without the destruction of those basic American ideals; those ideals that allow us to identify ourselves, individually and to further identify ourselves as a group. We are stripped of each of our "American" ideals and handed in their place a script written in gobbledygook.

Where's the VALUE?

Years ago I read a book titled Something of Value by Robert Ruark. Ruark depicted a world torn apart by conflicting ideals; those of the Mau Maus' clashed with those of the British. The Western ideal could not supplant the Mau Mau one... for it lacked value recognizable to the Mau Mau, but was clearly recognizable to the colonists. Federalism attempts to replace those original old American values with those of the “International Citizen” but these ideals may not be recognizable to the individual citizen as "something of value." Not when he’s asked to give up what has thus far been the most successful human experience!

One of the cornerstones of our founding father's government was representation. Today, as many as 640,000 citizen/residents have only a single US Representative. Only two US Senators represent over 30,000,000 folks (California). Think about that for a minute.... how many "ideals" do you think two-thirds of a million people, for the most part unrelated, of every: culture, race, religion and nationality, and sexual orientation on earth, share? What kind of representation is that? 545 men and women, Congress, President, and Supreme Court, are too few to rule so many people, when fascism is the rule of the land and if fair representation is the goal. What this thin representation allows is essentially a free-hand to the elected Federal politician who has finally become a kind of Feudal Master, rich, above the laws he has made himself exempt from. This new master and his special interest cronies, have finally brought us to the brink. Thin representation at the Federal level can work; only when the power of that government is limited to original Constitutional Power. That power extended to international trade and national defense. 545 people, whose sole job was the defense of the Constitution. 545 Rulers of… our daily lives…..

It's Broken...

The Federal government is broken in so many ways. Morally, Financially. The tax base shrunken. The Federal Government has set aside the Constitution and now seeks to rule, as opposed to protect. The “new dream,” that not of our fathers’ but of our rulers can not work… that dream is doomed to be a nightmare. There is not enough wealth to accomplish the dreamer’s goal. America’s rich but weak class is in the dreamers’ sights. Watch the dreamers attempt to steal the accumulated wealth of the "Greatest Generation" and their offspring.... today’s Senior Citizen. First by grabbing the half trillion dollars in the Medicare Trust Fund. Then by shrinking paid-for benefits, next by squeezing that population of its hard earned wealth. Watch the dreamers seize more of Corporate America… not possible? The dreamers have our banks, our largest manufacturer, GM, our largest Insurance Co., AIG and now the Federal Reserve. Cap and Trade… and The Entire Energy Industry is on the agenda…. And right now, 20% of the entire economy... The Health Care Industry.

Watch the Chavez model as it speeds toward America.

Inherit.... The Wind!

We are a country all about inheritance. We have inherited our freedom. We have inherited our land. We have inherited our values. Inheritance…. Dreamt of and Invented by the risk and hard work of the founder, enjoyed by the son, squandered by the grandson…. Is this where America is?

Cheers, Mel


  1. I find your latest blog quite thought provoking Mel. You’re pointing to a fundamental flaw in where the country is headed in its quest (presumably) to make life better for its citizens. It’s kind of like when we ask the wrong questions or miss the point and therefore go astray down our path.

    You’ve pointed out the fact that real representation is dubious at best with our present legislative structure. You’ve pointed out the self serving dynamic that comes into play with our politicians, preventing them from doing their jobs with integrity. You’ve pointed out that this potentially pre-fascist state of the Union takes us down a road that simply cannot work.

    These and many more points you make lead us to a realization that legislation (such as it is especially) alone cannot fix things. You cannot legislate right action. Government should support the will of the people. Not direct or dictate the will of the people. Government should support and nurture an environment that allows us “the pursuit of happiness”. Not dictate what happiness is going to be. Government should not take on the task of deciding what form that happiness should be nor define what happiness is for us, like everyone being of equal wealth for instance. That is the wrong question, the wrong path, the wrong task, and obviously impossible to do.

    Government instead should develop infrastructure, meeting the needs of the nation, defend its citizens from aggressors, from within and without. Beyond that, we the people need to take responsibility for our lives, for our pursuit of happiness, and yes for the welfare of our friends and neighbors on a grass roots personal community level. This includes a concerted effort along the lines of transforming ourselves into better human beings, free of the root causes of greed, hatred, ignorance, and all the rest of it. Not because we have to. But because we see the wisdom of it, the real necessity of it. We need to discover our internal fears, insecurities, attachments of all kinds and shed them, release them to see things with clear eyes unfiltered by unhelpful desires and ambitions. This is not easy but it IS possible and it can lead us into a better state of our Union.

    This is not an “either/or” affair. Action is needed on many fronts, certainly. But let’s not forget to one front that makes success possible. That front lies right here within myself. How I live my life day to day. Am I living with integrity? Am I ruled by fear? Am I finding compassion for those I meet? Let’s do the other stuff that’s needed but let’s also focus on the core, the foundational task at hand upon which all else is built.


  2. You said
    "We are a country all about inheritance. We have inherited our freedom. We have inherited our land. We have inherited our values......"

    Interesting take..... but it seems like you inherited a butt load of money..... could be your perspective is tainted by that fact........

    The "dreamers" have the banks because they screwed up. As an old teacher I gotta say that if I give you a job and you screw it up that badly (with the advice and consent of the Republican - no oversight allowed, party) I will take that job away from you to protect others.

    You talk about representation and numbers but the reality is that whether an elected official represents 1000 or 100,000.... it's all an illusion..... the elected official represents big business... look at the money trail. Special interest groups pay huge sums of money to have our elected officials' ears. ....

    My son, by virtue of an illness diagnosed at age four is UNINSURABLE in this country, which was sort of a problem when he was the victim of a hit and run a few months ago. He cannot pay the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills he ran up.......
    and to hear you tell it............his lack of ability is due to
    Lack of education? (he's educated)
    Lack of hard work? (he's been working since age 11)
    He doesn't want much..... he just wants to be "equal" to those elected officials you talk about......
    he wants their health insurance.......or yours.....

    You mention equality as if it were a bad word. I mention equality as it was noted in the constitution..... all men are created equal.
    Except they are NOT.

    Try being born in a bad part of town in the south..... no public transportation, no grocery store within five miles... no jobs in the area, poorly funded schools, no health insurance for you or your parents..... unable to pay for a car which MIGHT get you to a job interview.......

    these are the kids I teach..........

    These kids are not asking to be EQUAL... they are asking for crumbs..... they are asking to be treated as humans..... they are not expecting to have the life you were given..... they are just asking for the right to:
    an education
    a grocery story with fresh food
    the right NOT to be stopped by the police every time they walk down the street
    meds for their grandmother
    ....their mother
    a BUS STOP to get across town
    You mentioned "special interest" groups........
    the thing you really DON'T get is that NO ONE has a "special" interest in these folks.........
    Special interest folks are especially interested in rich white folks with money.... like you.

    Honestly..... you can't speak to this until you've lived this!

  3. Whoa! Old teacher, are you a racist? I hope the crap you're spewing out here isn't what you've been teaching our kids. If it is, shame on you.

    As a teacher, you're looked up to as a role model, a mentor, especially if there isn't a role model at home. Rather than teach kids to be envious and jealous, and after reading your comments, hateful, you should be teaching them that an education is the way out of their situation. Education is the great equalizer.

    It reminds me of a story about a black kid, born to an alcoholic father that deserted him and his mother. A single mom, living in a foreign country, she couldn't afford to send her son to a private American school. So she sent him to a local public school. Then for his own good, she sent him to the states to live with his grandparents who ended up raising him. They did a pretty good job and this kid took advantage of getting an education. Something offered freely to every citizen in this country. Lo and behold, Barack Obama is now the President of the United States. It sounds like he could have been one of the kids you teach. Michael Steele is the leader of the Republican party. Two black men leading the two major political parties. What do you say to that?

    Your arguments are old and worn out. You should listen to Bill Cosby more often. He knows what the problems are and he knows why they still exist. It's not the rich white folks. That's BS and you know it. It's the leaders of the black community. It's the irresponsible parents of the black kids. It's teachers like you that continually whine, claiming inequality.

    Quit blaming everyone else. These kids need guidance and role models, direction and discipline, good teachers, not slackers. God knows we've thrown enough money at the problems, especially education. Obviously more and more and more money isn't the answer. Responsibility is. Again, don't take it from me. Take it from Bill Cosby, Barack Obama, Michael Steele and other good and strong black leaders. Not the Jesse Jacksons and Reverend Wrights.

    The best thing that ever happened to welfare recipients in this country is when President Clinton cut the welfare rolls by 66%. That forced people to be responsible for themselves. btw...it worked!!

    I'm very sorry to hear about your son and I sincerely wish him well. However, let me ask you this: If your son is uninsurable as you mention, how does he get medical care? Who pays for it? I'm assuming he was covered under your insurance until he reached adulthood. Then what?

    btw....if you're wondering about my background, I was born in Newark, NJ, voted the most undesireable city in the country to live in. Talk about being born on the wrong side of the tracks, I grew up in an integrated neighborhood and sold my fist house to a black family. I'm a disabled veteran of the Vietnam war, married shortly after leaving the military. I used my veterans benefits to help me get an education. We were on food stamps while attending college. We both obtained partial scholarships and it took us 10 years to pay off our school loans. My wife has been teaching at a Title I (one) middle school for nearly 20 years. My son is a relatively new teacher and has been teaching at a Title I middle school for 4 years. For those of you reading this and do not know what a Title I schools is, something like 60-70% of the kids receive free lunch. Every kid gets free breakfast. Basically the same kids "old teacher" teaches. We're not rich by any stretch of the imagination. We don't whine about it either. We keep working hard to achieve the American dream. No excuses.