Monday, July 25, 2011

Wake Up!

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” Thomas Jefferson

As you may recall, dear readers, I recently alerted some of the case managers here at Skid Row Housing Trust, of the current deadlock in Congress involving the nation's debt ceiling, or the amount of money the United States can borrow in order to pay it's financial obligations, such as social security payments, medicare, veteran's benefits, federal contractors, the armed services, treasury bonds, etc. That situation has not changed. As a matter of fact it has gotten worse, and will continue to get worse as the August 2nd deadline approaches. On that date, supposedly, I'll have more money in my penny jar than does the United States government.
The problem stems from the newly elected "tea bagger" faction of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, which we've discussed here:
My lovely ex-case manager Erin's response is what interests me today:
"What?!?!?!?!! Rick I don’t know anything about the news without you in my everyday life anymore! Please keep me updated."
Now I happen to know Erin fairly well, and know she enjoys a very active social life and rarely involves herself in current events, the political process, global warming... anything that does not involve her immediate social circumstances (although I do know that she has been active in monitoring known, possible, locations involved in sex trafficking through her church, church activities in general (also part of her social network), and of course the current campaign to Save the Frogs: (I'm not criticizing Erin. I can't because she will hurt me if I do (she may be small, but she's wiry). Besides, when I was her age current events and government affairs were usually the furthest thing from my mind).
Now I'm used to keeping Erin informed on matters that she may be interested in, and it was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to teach her a little about the voting process, and hopefully she will be more engaged in that activity in the future.
What interests me, and frightens me about her statement above is this part: "...I don’t know anything about the news..."
I wonder, how prevalent is this predilection toward ignorance (albeit not wilfully) concerning vital matters of government that concern those very individuals who seem not to care.
As related, I also informed my own case manager, Robert, and asked that he get together with SRHT management to alert them to the situation (if indeed they were ignorant of it), and ask what contingencies they offered to those who due to the inability of Congress to do their job, may not receive their benefits from the social security administration, which they rely on to pay their bills, rent for instance.
Hey, guess what! I have yet to receive any reply to this valid inquiry. Apparently SRHT management is so confident in Congress's ability to pull through their quagmire of stubbornness of doctrine and ideology (especially the Republicans insistence that there be no revenue increases to their masters; the 2% of the richest Americans, and huge, profitable corporations (what John Boehner keeps calling "the American people"), and the tea bagger faction, the 87, or so new tea bagger Congress people, who think it will be fun to watch the country go into default, and crash and burn. These people are fanatics, and reinforce each others blind belief in some kind of unreal world of no government interference in the lives of everyday citizens, (including lower personal and corporate taxes, slashing social services for the majority of Americans, and deregulation of... well everything, especially matters concerning the environment). A basic libertarian world view on steroids. For this "fundamentalist" faction ensconced in our halls of power, we can thank the likes of David and Charles Koch, Glen Beck, Michelle Bachman, Fox News, and many others)
SRHT management, like a goodly percentage of the population, seem to be unwilling to break out of the routine of their daily existence, blindly going along through the days and weeks confident that things like global warming, water scarcity, over population, over fishing of our oceans, and the government actually doing the job it was elected to do, is either to far in the future to bother about, or it doesn't affect them directly, so why worry about it?
I understand that in this day and age there are many things to think about other than what the federal government is up to. The economy sucks, those that are working, like the folks over at the SRHT head office, are lucky to be working at such a time when real unemployment in this country is at approximately 16 to 20 percent. Paying off mortgages, and credit card and car loans... these are matters of real importance to the average middle class citizen (this list neglects other real distractions for the American populace, such as the latest Harry Potter film, super hero movie, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," or Oprah).
But all of the concerns listed above, and many others, are the direct result of Republican malfeasance. The economy sucks because George Bush ran it into the ground with his tax cuts, two unnecessary wars, and deregulation, which led directly to the financial crisis of 2007/2008, which inturn has led to today's high unemployment (a valid argument could be made that the policies of the present Obama administration are exacerbating the unemployment problem in this country, rather than alleviating it, which of course should be something the general public should be very aware of as well). The mortgage crisis and the huge incidence of home forclosures are a direct result of the Bush administration's belief the housing bubble would continuously grow without bursting, a decidedly lackadaisical view of reality. Consumer protection regarding the banking industry, credit cards and predatory loans... under the Republicans... was virtually non-existent (yes, I'm a "Blame Bush" person. I'm funny that way... I tend to blame those that are actually responsible for the problem, rather than some other convenient scapegoat. Whenever George wanted to deflect blame from himself, such as after Hurricane Katrina, he liked to jabber, "I'm not going to play the Blame Game..." and I always thought to myself, well then, okay, let's play the Responsibility Game instead), Their attitude can be evidenced by the House's current attempts to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Yet the American populace elected the Republicans back into power last year, and they now are the majority in the House of Representatives, which has control of the countries purse strings. Not only that, the country has allowed a wild card faction within the Republican party into Congress, in significant numbers, the tea baggers, who adhere to no one but themselves, and a highly restricted view of the mission of government that has now become apparent with the current debt ceiling crisis. Like the religious fundamentalists of the middle east and elsewhere (America, for example), these people are not only willing to blow themselves up in order to further their own sense of their own reality and beliefs, but the rest of the country, you and me, as well.
Perhaps, if the country does go into default after August 2nd, those over at the main office of SRHT, and the country as a whole, will finally wake up and take notice to what is happening to them, and all around them, and maybe, just maybe, do something about it.
We began this post with a quote from Thomas Jefferson. Let's end with one:

"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights."

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