by Joe Shea
July 24, 2011
A COUNTRY HUNG OUT TO DRY
BRADENTON, July 24, 2011 -- I don't like getting stretched between two poles and hung out to dry, but that's what politicians do to me and my fellow Americans during these debt ceiling jams in Washington.
We are supposed to care whether the credit of the United States of America goes into the toilet or not so we engage with the issue and bite our nails until a resolution is reached - not just once, but over and over again.
Isn't this the second time this year one party or the other or both threatened to shut the government down? Didn't they just shut down Minnesota?
Is it my imagination or are the people in Washington crazier than they used to be?
Before they hung me out to dry, I was already in bad shape. I lost my $250-a-week job writing part-time for another online newspaper, and my unpaid homeowner fees hit $2,400. Four times this week I've needed to get a jump because my battery was dead. Now they may stop my $412 Social Security check because the nation can't pay its bills, either? Presumably, that would also end my food stamps.
With no job and no income, I'd be like a politician with no contributions - and much hungrier.
It gets harder and harder to focus on the debt ceiling drama when dozens of innocent kids are shot down in cold blood by a guy described as a "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" who looks like he just stepped out of an Ikea ad. It turns out the maximum possible sentence for a crime in Norway is 21 years in jail, so he'll be out when he's 53.
Meanwhile, one of the most gut-grabbing talents in the world, Amy Winehouse, has been found dead, and it's very likely due to an overdose. And oh, yeah, the Christian guy also blew up half of downtown Oslo, home of the Nobel Peace Prize.
You had a meeting and did what? Walked out?
I look at the debt ceiling issue and wonder to myself, why don't they take big, important steps to rein in energy costs with all the promising new technology out there? Do they not realize how much money it would save, how many jobs it would create, how much the world needs it? Or in these blazing hot dog days of summer, is everyone in Washington too thoughtless and lazy and distracted to think of much of anything?
But even if they don't realize, what's wrong with our media? Why aren't they all over it? The depressing fact is that they're as burned out as the folks in Washington. You can't tell them anything new unless you can show them a pile of corpses. I can't imagine what it took to get 60 Minutes producers to revisit cold fusion and find out it was working in labs all over the world.
I do have a privilege others do not. As the editor of The American Reporter, which saved the Internet from government censorship and struggled through long, penniless years to survive, I yet can write about my ideas and opinions and research and get a small audience - probably as big as the one for second-month debt ceiling stories. I feel it at least gives the world a shot, a hope, that it can be rescued in part by new forms of cheap energy.
Yet the weight of the world is on me as it is on everyone. Not only am I buried in debt, but I am also distracted by the mayhem, crises, droughts and famines that distract and depress me as surely as they do anyone else.
It may sound a little corny, but going to Mass on Sunday, sitting with "brothers and sisters" in faith throughout the world, in the same contemplation of sacrifice and redemption, singing together and praying out loud together, lifts me from the morass of the week gone by to peer from a slightly higher perspective into the week coming towards us. That is how I get through it, frankly.
I believe in President Obama, and to a degree I believe that even the Republicans want to solve our problems. There are some decent people among them, like Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming. But I know they are not trying very hard, not being very reasonable nor constructive, and have their sights set not on a prosperous American future but a one in which they are re-elected and win the White House, and billionaires everywhere dance in triumph at the victory of debt over taxes.
They are deluding themselves, but they see that as their job - to delude themselves and then us, and all at the same time. All those honest and upright conservatives of strong, hard-working stock - or folks who believe they are - are willing to suspend their contempt for people who hack into phones of dead people, bribe the police and buy off the politicians, i.e., the Fox News cartel of Rupert Murdoch.
If only all those straight and honest people would see Fox for what it is - and see themselves as the cooped-up chickens they turn out to be - much of the national division and rancor could be erased. It is instead extended and increased, with the only beneficiary being the folks in China who control Murdoch and his Big Brother, spy-in-the-sky future. It seems on some days that half the people in Congress work for the wealthy or big corporations, a quarter work for Murdoch and China, 20 percent work for themselves, some work for Israel and the rest work for us.
Without Fox, the debt ceiling would have been debated and decided long ago, but if they give voice to every right-wing windbag and jab at every move the President makes, they will elevate our debt crisis to a level that cannot be sustained. The result? China will get our debt much more cheaply, and we will pay them much more for it.
Wikileaks has 500 diplomatic notes on Rupert Murdoch in its unreleased archives, so I have to wonder when Julian Assange is going to decide it's timely, if not now.
Debt ceilings, homeowners fees, church, China - this thing is all over the place. So am I. And if your brain hasn't already been fried by that nonexistent global warming Fox News told you to ignore, maybe you are, too. We need to focus together on what we want, even as we're hung out to dry in this relentless sun.
AR Correspondent Joe Shea can be reached at email@example.com.