Saturday, October 12, 2013

America - You embarrass me

Friends, I haven't written in awhile and I'm sorry. Life has been very busy, but that's a discussion for another day. Today I want to talk a bit about politics in America.

I am a Veteran. I spent 12 years in the Air Force forecasting weather. Unlike the folks you see on TV, that meant I was responsible for warnings at my airfield that ranged from stop fueling aircraft due to thunderstorms, to close the airfield due to icing, to take cover there is a Tornado.

I am a Librarian, I've spent 12 years as a civilian working for the government. I can't tell you the details because it is an ethics violation, but I provide a valuable service that is used by over 1 million unique users daily.

I am a Patriot. "We the People, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and ensure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity...." I find that a wonderful and succinct mission statement. One that still has meaning over 200 years later.

Here comes the bad news -- I've lost faith in our system of governance. 

Here's a clip from the first episode of Newsroom:

And the quote for you to read:
"And yeah, you, sorority girl. Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there's some things you should know, and one of them is, there's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force, and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only 3 categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined. 25 of whom are allies. Now, none of this is the fault of a 20 year old college student. But you, nonetheless, are without a doubt a member of the worst period generation period ever period. So when you ask, "what makes us the greatest country in the world?" I don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Yosemite? [Pause] We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in our last election. And we didn't... we didn't scare so easy. We were able to be all these things, and to do all these things, because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. [Pause] Enough?"

I type this 11 days into a temper tantrum in Congress. They've shutdown our government by not coming to an agreement to fund it. For two years, they've been pushing the problem down the road by passing Continuing Resolution after Continuing Resolution (CR). A CR basically continues to fund the government at the existing levels while you work out your differences to create a budget. That there are differences that can't be worked out after two years is amazing. When I encountered that problem in my life, I divorced my first wife. I guess these geniuses we elected never think of the greater good, but only about their access to power. They'll never think about walking away in hopes that their constituents might find someone that is willing to compromise and elect them. 

Frankly, I wish there was a way to fire the whole lot of them. I'm not going to apportion blame. There are at least two sides to this discussion and all sides are guilty when they can't even gather to discus their differences. That is their most important job. By not doing it, they've shown that they are incompetent. 

Does anyone have any idea how I can get my faith back? Do you still have hope for this country? Why?