In my Aquarius birthday week that officially marks my eligibility to be courted by AARP and planners of prepaid funerals, I join history’s old fogies, including Socrates, who’ve worried about the younger generations’ preparedness to carry on the important work of managing the world’s future.
This concern is fueled by the proposed federal budget cuts — particularly in the area of education — made necessary, we are told, because of entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, welfare queens in limousines and illegal immigrants clogging schools and hospital emergency rooms.
Bosh. Taken all together, that cost is a pittance when compared with the amount the country is forfeiting in tax revenue — particularly the fair portion too long exempted for wealthy corporations and individuals who fly unscathed through government-approved loopholes.
But before returning to my topic — my vision of the Mad Max-like world a crumbling public education system would ignite — I pause to cheer the Wisconsin teachers who I fervently hope will be the forerunners of an Egypt-scale national protest against the proposed cuts. Such cuts would relegate legions of educators to record unemployment lines and further depress the economy along with supporters of public learning throughout the nation.
The specter of the Under- and Totally Uneducated as ruled by the Obstinately Unenlightened is scarier than “Night of the Living Dead,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Quest for Fire” put together.
Any political party or politician who could sleep after voting for deep cuts in the education budget that paves the way for any productive future gets an automatic “F” in math, science, history and sanity.
Our already critically understaffed public schools are hard-pressed to meet the demands of a rapidly multiplying student population.
The decade-long horror that is our unworkable economy and unsustainable no-more-taxes-for-the-rich mandates have now led us to the brink of economic self-destruction. As a country, we seem hell-bent on decimating the very programs that once made our country unchallenged as the leader of the free world.
We are rapidly ridding ourselves of responsibility for the education of our children, for providing jobs, for producing marketable made-in-the-USA goods, of once-healthy funds established to protect the elderly. We are eliminating the safety nets of law enforcement, environmental care, stabilization of infrastructure, benefits to be gleaned from space exploration, etc.
We are rushing to take the last steps of every failed empire throughout history: Greece, Rome, China, Mongolia, Britain, Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union. If we don’t blow ourselves to bits during the rest of the century, our descendants can watch the Rise and Fall of China, Part II.
It is of the utmost urgency that sane people question our skewed priorities. Action long overdue is required to bring public attention to our love affair with the ravenously greedy pods of corporate fascism that are replacing a sleeping democracy.
This country is more politically and economically divided than during the Civil War. Our elected mad government scientists must be stopped in their extermination of the middle class and fair pay system for skilled professionals, employees and tradesmen not necessarily destined to become a chief executive of operations, lobbyist or hedge-fund Machiavelli.
Our future demands an America where education, affordable health care, job creation, law enforcement, defense and infrastructure, consumer and environmental safety are more than campaign slogans.
Let’s recapture our country and ideals, wresting them from the world’s corporate owners and their purchased political pawns. Until the brain-dead zombies actually take over the planet, we might consider the old-fashioned notion of electing public officials who will serve the public interest.
Our swift fall in the past few decades in test scores, job markets and qualified people who can fill changing employment needs and rising number of pregnant single teens are reasons enough to turn any evening into Fright Night.
We are in or on the brink of a not-so-great worldwide depression and are very close to joining the ranks of Third World nations. “Trickle down” from wealth has not trickled. Companies are creating — and not hiring — the jobless. The wealthy are not investing in America, they are hording their money in numbered off-shore bank accounts.
Americans who are not benefiting from the fallout are beginning to notice their eroding human rights, deteriorating ability to generate income to cover basic needs, ever-shrinking paychecks and benefits. People whose money once constituted a healthy tax base are realizing the Social Security system is not broken; the money has been stolen. The system was solvent before it was funneled through new laws and rules to pay for other government priorities like propping up tyrannical regimes and other projects and programs of politically connected industries, corporations and individual campaign donors.
Will we have a world where the uneducated poor are shuffled off to prisons, labor camps, workhouses while paying for government-subsidized private schools for the offspring of entitled, privileged, tax sheltered, loop-hole creative and largely exempt top percentile of this country?
Latter-day plantation owners are cheered on by the media-spun and lobby-fed illusion that they are patriotic, God-fearing, philanthropic leaders who deeply care about the field-hand majority. Meanwhile, our jobs are being sent overseas. More Americans lack the money, connections, leverage and energy needed to influence those who might actually have an interest in stopping the idiocy, apathy, complacency, misdirection and outright lies readily embraced by America’s increasingly intolerant, uninformed masses.
The former silent majority is no longer silent while being courted by reelection-hungry U.S. lawmakers. These new patriots demand a return to the “original” U.S. Constitution that promised an end to tyrannical rule and the Bill of Rights that allows their access to rapid-fire, semi-automatic weapons not usually used for home protection or hunting. Unmentioned are the amendments that provide a free press, ended America’s slave trade and gave women the vote.
What remains of our once-thriving middle classes happily wave the flag and stand as the National Anthem is played before sporting events without noticing that their values and way of life are being systematically swept away.
My vision of the future is one created by history’s revisionists, a weird wonderland where spin-masters posing as journalists paint the white roses red and government leaders are a pack of cards in a rigged game where aces are automatically dealt to the highest bidder.
I’m afraid there are enough politicians tap-dancing while our country’s long-term mismanagement has put the entire world on a path of global depression that could make the 1930s version seem like a glamorous Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical.
WORST-CASE SCENARIO: An increase in unchecked street crime by people too poor to attend the corporate-, church-, community-sponsored, privatized schools that eventually replace public education. Some criminal vocations will end when their white-collar criminal counterparts create corporate-privatized prison states and labor camps. Children not in school, or in overcrowded classrooms managed by stressed-out, overworked teachers, might again be able to afford a bowl of gruel as labor laws are altered.
We will continue to see the little money made by people lucky enough to have largely digital-world, sales, marketing, collections jobs increasingly propping up “allied” repressive regimes and their U.S.-supported despots and military henchmen. The corporate powers who run the entire world will continue the well-honed practice of seeding corruption in their anointed appointed. These new tyrants will continue the patterns of the old tyrants, turning a blind eye to the suffering of their people while fattening their lucre made larger as they sell off their country’s resources. And so we will continue to incur hatred of America by the rank and file of countries and continents where the corporate fascists and their toady politician prostitutes have installed another “ally” tyrant who agree to rob his people before he turns on the vested interests that lifted him to his lofty status and funded his war chests and private Swiss bank accounts.
We have done this throughout the Middle East, South America, Southeast Asia, Europe’s Baltic and Latin states, and seem destined to reenact this ever-failing policy of establishing and supporting these despots who, in league with U.S. interests, have robbed the citizenry of these countries for more than a century.
THE CALL TO ACTION: People of the United States of America need to wake up long enough to see that their entire system and way of life and Constitution are being trampled with impunity. They won’t learn it from their corporate-owned politicians, “fair and balanced” media or in their likely-to-be-eliminated civics classes of the soon-to-be-defunct public school system.
MY SOAP-BOX FINALE WHERE I GET TO HARP ON MY ALREADY-REPETITIOUS CAUTION ALERTS JUST BECAUSE IT IS MY BLOG AND MY BIRTHDAY: People need to watch what business-allied leaders are doing in towns, cities, states, countries, the oceans. They need to wonder what happened to our spacious skies, amber waves of grain and brotherhood from sea to shining sea. In a perfect world or in classic- or horror-film style, we need to rise up as a people and declare that we are sick of the slime attacking from within our system of government of, for and by the people. Hopefully, people who have benefited from education and can lead productive lives in their workplace, community and family.
But we’ve been willingly diverted from paying attention to the forces that govern our lives. Rather than examine why our world has gotten into such bad shape, it’s easier just to turn on “Dancing with the Stars,” just as our 1930s counterparts escaped with Fred and Ginger on the silver screen.
It’s much simpler to watch evil aliens turn human brains to mush rather than take politicians to task who would eliminate public education with much the same result. We can happily watch creatures from Outer Space destroy our planet while ignoring those who truly are slicing and dicing through our inadequate defenses and will blow our arrogant and increasingly ignorant, illiterate, utterly clueless and completely useless society to smithereens.
If the future renders people too stupid to ward off an actual disaster, survivor stories would make for a really great TV reality show, doncha think?