Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, U.S. of A.

Since we're expecting a sunny, 100-degree Fourth of July today, I'm going to be celebrating our nation's birthday in air-conditioned bliss, with a sugar-free, fat-free, flavor-free, low-calorie salad. In honor of the day I'll stick a candle in the middle, scrunch up my face like a three-year-old and make a few wishes for this 231st birthday. (Thank goodness I don't have to worry about how these wishes come true...the practicalities are up to the birthday fairy.)
  • I wish Congress, holding true to the self-serving spirit in which it always operates, would declare a four-year holiday for each member and then just go home. We need a break from their (as mom would have said) shenanigans. They are legislators, and certainly we have reached the saturation point on the number of laws that can be levied, the number of investigations that are held and the self-aggrandizing bombast we can endure. Taking a liberty or two with Macbeath:
    Congress is but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets its hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
  • I wish the scientific community would, without coercion, exercise their considerable intellectual power and come up with definitive proof that global warming is indeed a fact, either a natural occurrence in Earth's cycle or one that's exacerbated by technopollution, or a combination of both. Despite being the darling of the media and the favorite catchphrase of every liberal on the planet, the jury is not in on this critical question. Heavyweights in the field stand opposed to the popular consensus, yet legitimate dissenters are rarely heard. "To pretend that this is settled is bizarre." says Richard S. Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology Massachusetts. Here is one example of the contrarian's viewpoint -- which you would never, ever see in the mainstream media.
  • In communications from the Administration, I wish truth held a higher priority than spin. I find it insulting and demeaning that what we're told from every official source is carefully crafted with words they think we want to hear (through polls, focus groups, yada, yada, yada). We're adults, many of us can think and form opinions, and most of us pay taxes that fund the Washington circus -- please, we deserve the truth every time, all the time.
  • Oh, before Congress takes it's four-year vacation, I wish it would pass serious reforms that would diminish or eliminate lobbyists' access and power, institute a line-item veto, require a balanced budget, enact serious gun control laws AND incorporate a greatly simplified tax code. (Hey, these are my wishes... I can type whatever I want.)
  • I wish life in America were a little harder for many of us. It's a truism that only adversity forges character, that discipline and hardship make one strong. Yes, the country is stratified economically and we have seriously disadvantaged poor.... but you have to admit that many millions of Americans have things just too damn easy. While we may struggle in our personal lives, overall we've lost the grit and the strengthening that have built our nation's character in the past. It's said that to find where one's heart is, look at where one's money is spent. Maybe our priorities need tweaking... Here's just one example of prosperity run amok: ABC News reports: According to MarketResearch.com, sales of pet products other than food reached $8.5 billion last year. That's more than the $6.2 billion spent on babycare products. Bob Vetere, Amer. Pet Products Manufacturers Assoc.: "In fact, if you see a trend in a human product you can almost guarantee that there will be the similar trend for pet products." An old friend said once that America had become "fat, dumb and happy" and that it would result in our eventual downfall. I'm not sure she was wrong.
  • I wish the military and military families who have given so much -- the ultimate in too many cases -- would understand that those of us who oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq do not in any way denigrate their sacrifice or efforts. Bringing home every person alive, intact, is the best "support" that I can think of and the most positive way to honor our military.
  • I wish that we could harness our American innovation and imagination and devise real solutions to the immigration and health care problems we face. Other countries seem to have both of these issues well under control -- maybe we could drop our arrogance just for a time and do some comparison shopping? The financial costs and the human costs of each issue are staggering. In my opinion, it's both defeatist and ridiculous to think we have to continue with the status quo.
  • Finally, I wish the political differences between Democrat and Republican, which have become a chasm preventing, it seems, any solution to any problem, be dissolved in the realization (quoting The West Wing) that the things that unite us are greater than those that divide us. I wish and hope that we will nominate two candidates of great moral and intellectual stature, each with the experience, creativity, humility and humanity necessary to lead a unified nation to the greatness that its beginnings promised 231 years ago.
  • Happy Birthday, United States Of America!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I completely agree! I just discovered there is still a law in Iowa (my old home state) that allows politicians to resolve disputes through duels. Maybe that would help? hehe.

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