Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Have You Ever Noticed That ...

After five years and two Supreme Court decisions and over eight million new people with health insurance, some Republican presidential candidates and well-paid business people are still trying to undo the Affordable Care Act.  The claims of “economic disaster” and efforts at legislative repeal continue unabated.  But have you ever noticed that most of the loudest screamers against this new service come from people already well-insured (often provided by government programs) and with easy access to services for their personal health care?

Scientists continue to document record high and low temperatures and unhealthy elements in our air.  There can be no argument about the facts that come from their politically-neutral mechanical measurement devices.  Nevertheless, many seriously concerned people are debating in good faith about how much of this adverse climate change is simply a normal cycle of nature versus a reflection of human-caused impacts.  And either way, what to do about it, if anything.  Some politicians with no scientific background whatsoever pontificate about the supposed “myth” of climate change.  But have you ever noticed that not one of these doubters is willing to put their nose up close to a running automobile’s tailpipe, or climb atop the exhaust funnel of a coal-fired electric generating plant, and breathe in very, very deeply?

We sent thousands of soldiers to war over this past decade “to defend America’s safety.”  Many of them are now home seeking our assistance with the damages inflicted upon them.  But have you ever noticed that many of the people who were most gung-ho about sending our sons and daughters into unlimited combat at an unlimited cost are the most prone to say we cannot afford to now straighten out the Veteran’s Administration and pay the full debt that is truly owed to these veterans?

Legislators in many states – mainly in the South and Midwest – have rushed to pass “concealed carry” and related laws that allow people to carry their guns into virtually any public establishment or setting.  Schools, college residences, bars and restaurants, etc.  But have you ever noticed that in not one instance have they opened up their own legislature building to such access?  The metal detection devices and security guards remain fully in place to prevent just such intrusions into their own space.

Many business people complain about “excessive government regulation” and “interference in the marketplace.”  But have you ever noticed that most of these same people are the first to seek out special exemptions and favored treatment in government procurement processes, tax laws, and agency regulations in order to defeat their competition and monopolize the marketplace?

Some people are enthusiastic about fracking to obtain more oil to run our automobiles and power our infrastructure.  This form of drilling process is said to be safe for the general public living in proximity to these well sites.  But have you ever noticed that these same people have pressured state legislators to prohibit local governments from preventing fracking in their communities, and make it a crime for any public health official or private citizen to reveal the chemicals being forced into the ground to accomplish this removal of oil?

The United States Supreme Court has made a number of significant legal decisions over the past several years.  Many of these decisions have been quite controversial, and usually decided by a narrow majority vote.  But have you ever noticed that, whether one generally has a “liberal” or a “conservative” viewpoint, whenever a decision goes in favor of one’s own personal belief the Court is “honoring its sacred duty to interpret and uphold the Constitution,” and whenever it goes against one’s belief the Court is “nine unelected judicial-activist judges dangerously intent on making new laws on their own?”

Awhile back, the Supreme Court ruled that spending unlimited money to promote one’s point of view is the equivalent of “free speech,” protected by our Bill of Rights (even when the payer is a non-person corporation).  But have you ever noticed that most of the people choosing to “speak” so freely through their money only do so through secret super-PACs who are able to hide their donor lists from being viewed by the public?  (I normally like to know who it is that is so desperate to speak to me.)

Many legislators claim that they “represent the people” and serve the public interests.  But have you ever noticed that when 90% of the people want one thing, and a handful of lobbyists and institutions with big dollars to donate want a different thing, those politicians typically turn their backs on the public 90% and vote with the couple of big-money people?

A number of federal and state legislators have mounted a concerted drive to pass laws “that ensure the integrity of the voting process” – even though virtually no proof has ever been offered that we have any problem with voting integrity.  But have you ever noticed that, if voting is such a sacred responsibility and obligation of citizenship, the net effect of these laws is to make it more difficult for fully qualified citizens to vote?

Many citizens are rightly concerned about the illegal immigration into this country that has occurred over the past 30 years.  But have you ever noticed that some of the loudest complainers about illegal immigrants are the very ones who are hiring them to work in their factories, harvest their farmlands, maintain their yards and landscapes, and build their homes and roads?

A number of people highly object to people speaking a language other than (American) English within our borders.  But have you ever noticed that when Americans go abroad, particularly to Europe, we fully expect everyone there to speak English to us even though it is not their native language?

Have you ever noticed that many small businesspeople vote for “pro-business” politicians who then enact laws that favor mega-corporations and super-rich people who are fully intent on driving these same small businesses out of business?  (Shop local.  Support your neighborhood business person.)

Some days the world makes even less sense than we ever thought possible.

©   2015   Randy Bell                         www.ThoughtsFromTheMountain.blogspot.com