This current Debt Ceiling fiasco has legitimized the presence of political ego-maniacs who care not what they can do for their country but rather what they can get their country to do for them and for those who got them elected. This is who runs our country these days. Actually, I am wrong. The corporations and special interests which got them elected do our thinking for us. How else could a warm-blooded United States Citizen threaten to end Social Security or to slowly do away with what are called “Entitlement Programs” which benefit their fellow citizens? It has to be the Banks, Oil Companies or Health Insurers pulling the strings. No one person is that maniacal. Disability and Chronic Illness have given me this perspective and maybe that’s a good thing because, as so eloquently tweeted tonight by @PaulaKPorter (styled up a bit for proper presentation in this medium):
“Take a second & search the Hash Tag, #disability. Personal stories flood that Stream. Remember: It’s the only minority each of us can become a member of @ any moment.”
I just wish our Politicians would think more like this and less like the “Haves” and “Have-Nots” the United States appears to be to other countries or even to our enemies. I can call my brother any name in the book but when you start attacking him I will come to his defense in a “New York Minute.” When the chips are down, do you think Republicans and Democrats feel that way about each other? When tragedy strikes, sure, but in the normal course of everyday life and everyday business when real dollars are at stake, I think not. That saddens me. Something needs to change because Perception might soon become Reality and all of these Media Political Posturing attempts might soon make people think that just like the creative and intelligent-sounding rants of Actor Charlie Sheen, there might be some truth to the “sizzle” that is being marketed as “steak.”
When I sit down for dinner with my Mom, I watch “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and when he gives his guests the opportunity to speak and when my Mom isn’t smiling and telling me how much she loves the way Chris invites people on his Show and then HE does ALL the talking, I watch these healthy politicians play “Chicken” with Healthcare, Disability and Social Security all in the name of “Let’s Make a Deal” to alleviate our nation’s current debt limit problem. These men and women should be ashamed of themselves to leave something this important to the last minute. It is then grossly negligent and patently manipulative to scare and threaten the most vulnerable of their fellow citizens, i.e. the sick and elderly, for the purposes of posturing to either get elected come November and/or to close a “Debt Limit Deal” that should have been taken care of months ago.
How could our Representatives in Congress let the entire World in on our internal business with this Debt Limit Deal? There are enemies and terrorists who hate us so much because we are a rich and free country who may just be taking a little summer vacation from planning attacks in which they kill themselves just to inflict maximum harm on us because WE are creating that mayhem for them. We look like idiots with the sick and vulnerable having to fight the healthy and tailored politicians. Isn’t the entire World watching the BBC or CNN International wondering how the once righteous United States is becoming a divided Nation, in-between, of course, the pie-throwing at Rupert Murdoch and staring at his hot wife?
There will be a Debt Limit Deal just like there will be NFL Football this year. But by procrastinating for maximum political effect, the politicians have exposed a growing problem in the United States as we are gradually becoming a country of “Haves” and “Have-Nots.” The “Haves” think the “Ends” justifies the “Means” but we no longer live in a news cycle we can control. If you think TMZ and Deadspin.com are able to efficiently disseminate Celebrity and Sports salacious information, respectively, then can you imagine how this Dent Limit Deal fiasco is playing out in different cultures? For the first time “outsiders” are getting more than a glimpse at how dysfunctional the United States has become. In the past, we respected Politicians because we interpreted their actions as “Causes” and then their causes as “Pipelines” for the betterment of the American way of life. Remember, when Marlon Brando idealized his military-serving son Michael, as “Senator Corleone” in “The Godfather,” and it was supposed to stand for something? Not anymore. It is now just about “Winning” and sadly it probably wouldn’t matter if the United States Figurehead is Charlie Sheen, Michele Bachmann or Barack Obama. That’s what this Debt Limit fiasco has “projected” to the world. It has diluted the image of the world’s most powerful office and in the process legitimized the presence of ego-maniacs who care not what they can do for their country but rather what they can get their country to do for them and for those who get them elected. That needs to be changed ASAP.
I give President Obama a pass on this because while everyone else was procrastinating he and his staff were busy running a country fraught with so many internal and external crises of “First Impression” that to solve them took up all of his time. But President Obama also wants to “Win” only he is a classy and honorable man who’s only Leadership flaw seems to be that he wants everyone to like him. As President Obama is an avid basketball player and fan, the best way I can explain my wishes is through this true basketball metaphor. Hall-of-Fame Basketball Player Bill Russell was the same way, including, being a nice man whose talents by themselves brought he and his teammates to unprecedented championships levels of play, but not until his similarly motivated Hall-of-Fame Coach Red Auerbach told him to start “throwing some elbows” in a Nationally Televised NBA Game. The story has it that Mr. Auerbach assured Mr. Russell that if he does it in front of a national audience, while the rest of the NBA Players were watching, he’d never have to “throw elbows” again and he could then get back to focusing his finessed talents on generating superb team and individual performances. You see, Bill Russell was being bothered by bullies who would rather foul him and slow the game down than be victims of Russell’s brilliant talents which dismantled teams and shut down the best of players. By fouling Russell, these bullies mitigated his contributions to that of a mere mortal and that also slowed down the flow of the game and the success of Auerbach’s Boston Celtics.
Russell needed room to operate as he had the most complete basketball game the NBA had ever seen but it would only be effective if he were to get off the Foul Line and back into the flow of the game. He listened to Mr. Auerbach. He threw some sharp elbows and in one afternoon he developed a tough reputation to go along with his formidable talents and tenacious inner drive. No-one ever questioned his mettle after that day and if they chose to, they knew they would pay for it – with those televised sharp elbows. There was now a physical consequence to messin’ with Bill Russell and it hurt. The result was that he was pretty much left alone and The Boston Celtic Dynasty was born. Well, President Obama needs to start throwing some elbows during this Debt Ceiling fiasco because it’s not just about “Winning” anymore; it’s about how the United States is being perceived around the world.
I think President Obama is a good man and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked by everyone but I refuse to believe that we are a divided nation of “Haves” and “Have-Nots” and thus how the politicians treat each other during this Debt Limit Deal “negotiation” must be managed with a keener eye toward how we as a Nation are being perceived. We now live in a world dominated by 24/7 “Media Imprints” and I think the time is up for the politicians whose most effective, and often only, weapons are style, image and perception. The discourse needs to be about Substance. In a country where there can easily be “Haves” and “Have-Nots,” somehow everyone at the negotiating able must be reminded of the aforementioned tweet and that they:
“Take a second & search the Hash Tag, #disability. It is there where they will find an over-abundance of personal stories flood that Twitter stream. Then remember: Becoming disabled is the only minority each of us can become a member of at any moment.”
Political perception through Disability; I wonder what Chris Matthews would think? We’ll never know as he’d never let me get through my introduction. I might have to appear on his Show with my Mom as he does seem to be a push-over for beautiful women.