Decades ago the Lovin Spoonful sang of the allure of summer in the city. An overwhelming majority of Americans now live in metropolitan clusters. The newest of these are largely in the south and west and they especially are facing daunting challenges as they mimic the density of their eastern brethren.
As the Presidential campaign takes shape those still awake will remark at the ability of the two presumptive nominees to “nuance”, “refine” and “modify” the very positions and principles that attracted interest to them in the first place. Both Senators Obama and McCain claim they are agents of change. Seems that some of that change is falling to the ground.
Income inequality is killing us — literally. The gap in wealth and income between the upper 2% of the population and the middle and lower 80% is larger today than at any time since the 1920’s. The sagging economy of today is a disaster for millions of hard working Americans. It is a distant curiosity to the few who earn as much as $3.7 billion dollars this year. Do you know who is paying that salary? You are. You are being robbed.
Often you will hear that we are a nation of laws, spoken as a matter of pride. But the truth is we are a nation of laws as a substitute for being a nation of people who live by an ethical standard. The prevailing attitude is that it is up to law enforcement to keep us in line. And if we aren’t caught it must not be wrong.
We live in an era when every little thing is blown up into a major issue, when it doesn’t rain, it is “storm watch 2008”, people aren’t voters or Americans, they are hyphenated-Americans. Candidates don’t get votes, they get “White”, “Black”, “working class”, “college educated” votes. Voices, like mine, are amplified over the internet beyond anything imaginable heretofore. We are lost in a sea of “meanings” given to us by others, mostly the mainstream media, but also by ourselves. We don’t just make it from day to day, we “live it large.” We are delusional.
Today the California Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that laws restricting the right to marry to opposite sex couples are a violation of the state’s constitution. The decision, 4-3, by a Court that is dominated by Republicans and moderate-conservatives will no doubt be controversial and will be challenged by an initiative measure.
You have to wonder what is wrong with Americans that requires so many of us to be imprisoned. It is reported that one in 100 of us is in prison on any given day, the highest ratio of any nation in the world. Are we that bad a people that we have to be locked away? Or is there something in our culture that sees punishment as the answer to everything we don’t like?
When the going gets tough, candidates get stupid. With the economy reeling and most Americans finding it difficult to keep up with their bills and expenses, Sen. McCain comes up with one of the most hare-brained ideas of the season, only to be joined in this non-solution by his alter-ego, Sen. Clinton.
This week we have descended further into the hell that passes for the campaign and are asked to compare a liar with a man who forgot to insert “some” into an otherwise accurate statement. Agreed that in the current world of diplomacy, the President of the United States of America must speak with precision so as not to give false signals. Candidates enhance their ability to speak non-communicatively during the campaign and Obama, Clinton and McCain are honing their skills in the hands of the mainstream media which throws their public and private comments in their faces.