This year I just wanted to get through the 10th anniversary of 9/11… There was a fatigue in me that I think the entire country is sharing that made me want to turn away and move on. Days like this are days of reflection. And given the state of the world our country, the environment and the economy perhaps I thought it was best not to reflect too carefully. After all, we know what we are going to see and it isn’t pretty. It is perhaps best that we pass this one by quickly and not stare at the reflection too carefully.
But I was up late last night and happened by a special on CNN with Sanjay Gupta regarding the “dust” of 9/11 and it brought home to roost many things that I find very disturbing about America.
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!
Its been a while since I posted - and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things.
Its a scary world when we get some of our best information from the likes of Comedy Central. But Jon Stewart made me aware of a bizarre amendment to the 911- First Responders Bill. Of course this twist is so bizarre - perhaps this is the most appropriate place for such a report. Apparently a late amendment to the bill forces first responders to prove they are not terrorists before receiving benefits.
The 911 First Responders Bill…
Also known as the Zadroga bill - was apparently DOA in the US Senate with faint hope that the anemic resuscitation attempts by the democrats would be successful. The bill itself seemed almost forgotten in the morass of the of the tax bill, repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, and nuclear START treaty.
Enter Jon Stewart and the Daily Show….
After his much criticized rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial - Jon Stewart did what he does best - he took on one issue - mounted the bully pulpit and shamed the republicans into action.
The bottom line was that the business interests of a robber baron economy were holding this bill hostage. How dare anyone get in the way of a corporations off-shore account? No one wants their beloved loopholes closed and since democrats are beholden to the same interests as republicans - the bill went nowhere.
The 911 First Responders Bill - A slam-dunk morphs into a nail-biter:
Well, The “911 first responders bill” finally passed the Senate. It was by no means a sure thing. How a slam-dunk piece of legislation whose purpose was to provide long term medical care for those who willingly lay their lives on line could wind up being the nail biter of the millennium will be a topic for historians to chew on for generations.
Senator Jon Kyl feels Christmas should be respected….
One explanation for leaving the “911 first responders bill” unresolved until the new year offered by Senator Jon Kyl was that asking the Senate to work over the Christmas holiday season is disrespectful to religious Christians. ( Apparently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a heathen) This caused the topic to morph from the merely bizarre to the surreal. Such rank stupidity would have been funny if it weren’t such a tragic indictment of our dysfunctional government. After a gaffe like that - what more can be said - except that this whole mess has put a spotlight on the total contempt with which some members of the Senate hold the general public. Apparently, if we can’t line their pockets with millions of dollars we don’t matter and don’t count. In other words 99% of us are irrelevant to the process of government.
Tax Cuts vs. Health Care for First Responders:
Since the republicans came roaring back into power after the mid-term elections - the 911 first responders bill is taking a back seat to tax cuts. This is nothing new. Even as a minority party republicans used the filibuster rule to stop debate on this issue several times. But to put such important legislation on the back burner to the point of deliberately holding it up until democrats give the top 2% the tax cuts they wanted is another step towards the surreal that I find hard to fathom.
How did we go from the Great Society to Social Darwinism in four decades?
As a child of a the 60s who went to college in the 1980s - the world I now find myself in seems almost surreal. When I compare the egalitarian time into which I was born to what we have today - I’m forced to ask the burning question: What the !#%$ happened to our country? Those of you old enough to remember know what I am talking about…I’m talking about the country that declared war on poverty and cancer while putting a man on the moon. The country that embraced the “Great Society” offering everyone a hand-up not a hand-out. The country that rewarded innovation as opposed to stifling it in order to maintain the status quo for special interests. The country where education was held in high regard and not derided as “book learning.” The country that challenged our best and brightest to pursue high degrees rather than deriding them as elitist. Diverse thoughts flourished and a higher education was available to all who worked for it and were smart enough to take advantage of it. Being born into the era of the Great Society - I never in a million years contemplated our fall into social Darwinian chaos where big money rules and the rest of us are played for fools.