Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One Nation Divided...

Boy, it's dusty around here.

It's funny, so many times as the world has gone on, I've thought, "Oh, I wrote about that in my blog."

I was just thinking to myself:  Has the world changed much since August of 2009 when I started this little enterprise?  In some ways, it has.  Some of the faces have changed.  We've had to live with the consequences of our decisions.  We haven't come together at all; if anything people are more divided in many ways.  The latest demonstration of this has been the gun debate that erupted after the shootings in Connecticut.  It's amazing how each side thinks the other side is scheming to cause the downfall of America.

It bugged me no end that the shooting of kids in Connecticut triggered this reaction about guns but no one seemed to turn a hair about the ongoing carnage in the poor sections of cities like Chicago and Kansas City. Midtown Miscreant blew the dust off his own blog and nailed it here.  Yes, it would be great to get some of the guns off the streets of our country, but how, without disarming the law abiding only?

What else has been interesting is how everyone is talking about the second amendment.  The hotness of the topic has revealed all the doublespeak that has been going on over the years, about how it was protecting the rights of hunters and sportsmen, and how it was insuring that people could protect themselves.  Now, people are going with a more literal meaning of the short-but-dense Second Amendment.  (To refresh your memory, the amendment reads as follows:  "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.")  Now, arms for citizens are seen as protection from the government.

Now, if you start unpacking opposition to the current government, especially the POTUS, you run head long into multiple manifestations of every division that has the potential to rend this country into bits:  Class, race and culture.  It is this that most deeply concerns me as a citizen of this nation, that our unity and identity as Americans has been lost.  Now we are Black and White (even more starkly in many ways then the 1960s, since we have lost the ability to talk frankly to one another without having the scarlet letter R [for Racist] applied.), Rich and Poor, Young and Old, Tax Payer and non-Tax Payer (which is a misnomer, since we all pay some type of taxes all the time), Taker and Giver and so on.  It is going to be tough to solve problems with all our divisions.

We are in uncharted waters for our nation, in my opinion.  We have no frontier to expand to, either geographic or technological.  We are trying to compete on a global stage but under unequal rules.  Our decisions to pay fair wages, protect our workers in the workplace, and care for our environment make it hard for us to compete on a world basis with countries that don't spend money on those things.  We've lost our bank of unskilled and semiskilled jobs (manufacturing type jobs mainly)  for those who are not as gifted with intellect and/or education.  At the same time, we struggle to educate our people to the level required by technology.  We are struggling with an economy that is not making jobs at a rate needed to reduce unemployment, plus the jobs being made pay less, and are less stable then the jobs that have been lost.  This cripples our consumer economy, plus stresses low cost rather then quality or supporting local companies when people do have the resources to buy something.

We are in a tough spot for sure.  And I don't have answers, nor am I convinced that anyone else has a clue either.  I think it is that frustration that stands behind some of the bluster from both the left and the right, from both Keynesian economists and Supply Side economists. The extremes of both sides are totally convinced of their rightness.

I frankly think no one has a real clue what will really set this nation back on a positive course.

I think that this discouragement is what has kept me from blogging very much lately.  Where is the answer and can we stop screaming at each other and name calling long enough to find it?