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What kind of people are we?

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Today is Memorial Day and most of us seek to honor those who gave everything for our nation. The men and women to whom this day is dedicated sacrificed their lives on our behalf. They went off to serve their country and left behind parents, spouses, siblings, and children… some of whom would never get the opportunity to know their fathers or mothers. There is no greater sacrifice than that of those who lost their lives fighting our wars.

This piece is not about our fallen heroes. It is about the rest of us. We know what kind of people we lost in military action. What kind of people are we, the civilians? For what do we stand? What are we sacrificing? To what do we believe we are entitled? Who do we believe is responsible to provide us that which we believe is our due?

If you are reading this with any expectation of an uplifting message, you are in for a disappointment. There is nothing at all uplifting about the state of our society or its inhabitants as a whole. Sure, there are individuals who give of themselves and make sacrifices. Sure there are those who do not seek to benefit from the government taking from others. There are indeed those who offer selfless acts. The individuals cannot overcome the collective and the collective is a sad one.

We did not create all the world’s problems. We are not wholly to blame for the state of our nation and our society. Prior generations made the snowball and then the snowman, most with no malice toward their descendants. Today, we continue to pack snow on what has become some terrible monster… and we show nothing other than an intention to see it grow! I think I can give the answer as to what it is we are sacrificing. We are sacrificing our children and their children. Aren’t we wonderful?

We send men and women to the state and federal capitols to enrich themselves and perhaps grant us favors for votes and campaign contributions. We do not concern ourselves with the knowledge that any favor granted by government, such as your OFS Act, John Shimkus, must come at the expense of someone else! If we are fortunate enough for these elected officials to ever step away from their pedestals, we then get to enjoy the privilege of paying them outlandish pensions for their remaining years… as a reward for their “service.”

We have come to such a twisted web of government and daily life interaction that there can be no escape short of some miraculous mass epiphany in which a majority of citizens decide they must only support politicians who will dismantle the welfare (corporate and otherwise) state for the sake of our children. I know the despicable liberal (Democrat or Republican) will claim that the things they take and the intrusions they reinforce are for the children. Of course, they will only give lip service to the reality that they are stealing from those children and generations yet to be born.

I do not intend to give the impression that the problem lies solely with the opportunistic politicians who enjoy the trappings of power and personal enrichment on the backs of those who they offer for votes and contributions. The common citizen is at least equally to blame. We continue to send the same politicians to the capitols. We continue to seek favors and benefits from them. We abuse the systems that were either put in place to encourage abuse and therefore entrap society in dependance or were foolishly put in place with noble but grotesquely naive intentions.

Take for example, grandma. How many grandmas have signed their assets over to a child or some younger relative in order to avoid having those assets being used to provide care for her should she enter a nursing home? The state of Illinois always seems behind on payments to these facilities. Staff turnover, inadequate pay, and inadequate staffing combine to make the care an elderly resident might expect to receive subsequently inadequate. Who is to blame? If you find yourself in the situation where you have taken your loved one’s assets and he or she is receiving sub-par care at the expense of the taxpayers, you can find the answer in the nearest mirror. This is our culture.

“What should we do, turn grandma out onto the street, you greedy, heartless, conservative bastard?” Uhm, no. What we should do (but won’t do) is on an individual family basis care for our own. I know that the notion of having grandparents live with their families is so old fashioned, but perhaps when it is possible for a family to care for its elderly members, that care might be more loving than the care received in an under-funded nursing home. “What if grandma doesn’t want to be a burden on her family?” Really? Would she rather be a burden on the children of others? Ever consider that a part of the problem might be that our society views the notion of family caring for family as a burden and something that should instead be passed to the state (taxpayers)? Maybe, just maybe, a return to tighter multi-generational family holes would be a positive thing.

Our culture also includes Social Security and public pensions, all of which could never, ever be expected to work. Governments will not leave assets untouched or hold them in trust to fulfill obligations. Favors and power can be purchased with the contributions. Our culture invites illegal invaders onto our public dole in order to provide further power to the politicians, all in the name of humanitarian behavior, naturally. We “do the right thing” by encouraging maximum utilization of programs such as Medicaid by turning a blind eye to cash-based “under-the-table” employment and of course employment of the illegal invaders.

We are a society of takers and we elect Republicans and Democrats who perpetuate the taking. We have meaningless designations such as “Statutory Debt Limit,” which of course, everyone knows is just a meaningless combination of three words. We do get requisite blowing of hot air from politicians like Speaker Boehner who talk tough about promised spending cuts (which won’t happen) amounting to more than any increase in the debt limit. What happens when those spending cuts don’t materialize, Mr. Speaker? Let me guess, it will provide you fodder for your next campaign.

Can we borrow in perpetuity? What if the debt comes due? What should we care, our children and grandchildren owe us the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed, do they not?

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