I am opposed absolutely to capital punishment.
That posted, could I, in anger, or grief, kill another human being, and could I do that without the first tinge of remorse? Absolutely. That and much, much worse. But that is me, acting as an individual. To borrow from the Bard’s Shylock, “ . . . And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” My act would most assuredly be vengeance acting most grotesquely, most vengefully, and it would have nothing to do with justice. I want my state to pursue justice, most especially when I don’t give a damn for it. I said pursue, for true “justice” likely can never be adequately defined, let alone realized. Plato marched a path all about the notion, only to find that when he’d come full circle, all he’d really accomplished was to have marched in a circle, leaving the matter first raised by Cephalus, and carried on by his son Polemarchus, as unanswered as at the outset.
Three recent C-SPAN programs left me emotionally worked to a lather; “lather,” as in a rabid dog.
I want to know: Where’s our storm the Bastille moment over the Bush/GOP follies of the past seven years? Where’s our Mr. Bush, meet Marie Antoinette . . . No, no, no. I’m chickening out when I proffer the late Ms. Antoinette, when my heart intended Dr. Guillotine.
The three programs illustrated, keeping the above metaphor intact, to the most exquisitely honed edge, how the needs of this country are so incredibly immense, almost, perhaps actually are, overwhelming, and how, instead of attempting to meet the beginning consonant of any of them, Bush and the GOP has tossed bundle after bundle of desperately needed billions upon hundreds of billions more into a roaring fire, with little more concern than if they were roasting marshmallows.
The programs that set my pot to boiling are yet viewable at www.c-span.org — May 9: “America 2050 Panel Discussion on National Infrastructure Improvement Plans”; May 12: “Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Panel on Social Security/Medicare Reform”; May 14: “Senate Special Aging Committee Hearing on Alzheimer’s Disease.”
One of the May 9 “Infrastructure” panelists spoke truth when he observed that Americans care little, if anything at all, about infrastructure. “Infrastructure doesn’t even show up on their list of concerns. But talk to them about roads and streets and water lines and burst sewer mains . . .”
Perhaps only those caught up in reruns that transported them to their favorite vegetative-state somnolence missed the collapse of the I-35 W Bridge in Minneapolis last August 2. That was a warning writ in billboard font that, from the Gulf to Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, as a country, we’ve played the grasshopper, playing through summer, blissfully disregarding the truth of the approach of the winter of our disrepair.
But it’s not just the physical safety of our 50, 60 and 70 year old bridges or the crater-size potholes in our roads and freeways that shred tires, throw front ends out of alignment and destroy suspension systems. It’s not only the cracked 110-year old water mains in New York and elsewhere. According to the presentation and the several studies presented as evidence, the US is trillions in the hole for the infrastructure holes we’ve never scribbled on our to-do lists.
There isn’t a single world-class airport anywhere in the country. For airports, not figuratively, literally we’re Third World. Only two seaports, LA/Long Beach and New York/New Jersey are in the Top 10. For Internet broadband access, the US is well behind the connectivity of every industrialized nation.
If you know someone who doesn’t know that we’re behind every industrialized country educationally, do a confrontation: stop by and smash their TV. The cost of all of this is not only costing every one of us for repairs, for frayed nerves . . . It’s destroying our capacity to compete in a world that is full of those who are racing to put us in their rearview mirrors. Our lack of present broadband capacity is preventing rural business folk (wheat farmers to ranchers to small business owners) from competing on the global markets. Can you spell trade deficit? That broadband deficiency could even cost you or a loved life itself; linking medical records and symptoms to the most current technologies and those with the expertise to transmit just the right diagnosis and therapy.
The May 12 panel was a replay of sorts of the reports that — the first time around — should have been a 2x4 across the front of our heads. This country is so far up the financial creek that an outboard motor — forget paddles — probably couldn’t save us; Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. In a few short years those entitlements will equal most of the federal budget. Remember before George Bush took (“took” intended as precisely that: took) office in 2001, how both Alan Greenspan and President Clinton hoped the “surplus” might be used to “fix Social Security?”
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