Yesterday was the first day of Advent. It is variously observed in Christian churches; it seems especially emphasized in the Roman Catholic, my particular tradition. So, now we’re in Advent, Christmas is little more than four Sundays away.
I planned a reminiscence about a simpler time for yesterday. It is premature. Too gentle. Perhaps next week.
(click to enlarge)
The “Tax Reform” of the most smelly variety which passed the U.S. Senate early Saturday morning keeps interfering with my “Christmas Spirit”.
Even before the final version has been cobbled together, the bill is being sold as a great Christmas gift to all Americans. The reality will be that it is indeed a gift, but only to the richest Americans and the big corporations.
In the longer term, the next few years, thanks to this bill, our country will incur a huge additional financial debt, which will be paid by the poor and the middle class, and future generations. The victims of the bill will be the same people who are the fuel – “the Christmas Shoppers” – of the American economy.
If the Democrats had passed an identical bill, they would be crucified. The bill is classic “bait and switch”.
The facts are and will be available to everyone; but too few will care to learn, and act. Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
I keep thinking of a favorite hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings” by Michael Joncas. You’ll notice the title of this post misses the “s” on “wing”. That is not an error.
The song has a religious tack, but no matter. No one owns the majestic eagle.
I have for a long while compared our political system to an eagle. Twice, recently, I have included an October, 2008 photograph of a sculpture of an eagle at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum*. The photo leads this post.
It goes without saying that a functioning eagle needs all of its parts working together. A bird with only one-wing cannot fly; similarly, a bird with no wings and only a head, will not survive predators in the alien environment in which it is forced to live. Any organism in our natural world is similar, including human beings. To function, “right”, “left” and “center” must work together.
Enter the “political” sphere.
Here we are: the tip of the right wing has managed to move its agenda in Congress, to give the “head” – the President – a “win” before his first year ends. To do this it rendered the left wing powerless. “Nuts to you!” This is not a new phenomenon in American political warfare. It has been developing for years. Two single votes on Saturday night made the difference. Two votes. Iron discipline of the right wing led to its “win”.
In the real world of nature, such a creature as our current “win-lose” politics would be doomed to crash. Every part would die, including that “right wing”. I think this is our contemporary political world – a system facing certain death.
As I’ve said, there is plenty of evidence about the long term effects of this “tax reform” bill, but for the short term the politically disengaged ordinary people will be led to believe that this fraud is to their advantage. Too late will they learn the reality.
The little people – that is 99% of us – still have one weapon: our vote, in each and every election. It takes much more than that vote to change course, but a well informed vote is absolutely crucial.
If we are sloppy about our use (or misuse, or non-use) of this franchise, we have no excuses.
It’s time to get to work, and stay at work. 2018, and 2020, are not that far away.
* – The Eagle in the photo has an interesting history. I was privileged to be in attendance at its dedication by my friend Mary Lou Nelson in October, 2008, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It is still there. Here is how it is described.
Eagle’s are powerful birds, symbols of power. The sculptor called his work “hunter”, as that is what an eagle is – a hunter. Mary Lou, a wonderful peacemaker, chose to give that symbol of power a kinder and gentler descriptor: “messenger of peace”. She was speaking, if I recall correctly, about how we might improve as a nation, at that time at war in Iraq.
Even predators at the top of their food chain hunt only as much as they need. They do not wantonly kill or gorge themselves or take more territory than they need. Nature is efficient. We might be the same.
POSTNOTE: As I clicked publish on this post, into my mailbox came this post which you might take time to read on this chilly and windy and snowy (in my town) day.
POSTNOTE 2: After publishing the above, I embarked to a workshop I was to conduct about 40 miles from here. The roads were terrible. I cancelled after taking 90 minutes to drive what usually would take 15 minutes. No need for details….
I made it to a favorite restaurant in Edina, and there was one table open, and I had breakfast before attempting the drive home (which was much more normal).
At the table next to me were two young people, I gathered both were in late teens, out of high school, a young man and a young woman. Just two kids ‘catching up’. It was impossible not to eavesdrop. I was by myself. The table on the other side was occupied by another couple, but they weren’t visiting.
More than once the conversation between the “kids” veered into politics. And the one thing I would share was the comment the man made, that he had been very active politically in 2016, but he was too young to vote. The conversation went from here to there and back again. They were nice kids.
I thought to myself, these kids are the ultimate victims of what is happening in both national and state government. They just won’t realize it for a few years when things we took for granted, like Medicare and Social Security, have been strangled or otherwise diminished in favor of privatization.
And I remembered a piece on the news last night. The new tax bill will probably benefit the Donald Trump family by a billion dollars (elimination of the death tax), and perhaps save the Donald himself perhaps a million dollars.
Quite a Christmas present, indeed.
But for whom.
from Paul: the Grover Norquist plan is playing out.
from Dick, in response: Yes, it is. Norquist was promoting his plan long before those kids I mention above were born.