Are We Sliding Down the Proverbial Slippery Slope of Everything Bad?

I try not to be one of those reactionary types. For the most part, I really try not to care.

You see, a few years back, I realized no one really cares what I have to say. As a former military guy, I’ve tried to interject with comments about military strategy and all things of that nature. As a former counterintelligence agent, I’ve tried to offer perspective on all things of an intelligence nature. As a professor of both political science and communication, I’ve, in the past, tried to offer incite that might help people understand why people do the things they do and why certain conversations might work better than others, like in diplomacy and international affairs. As a writer of 15 novels, I’ve tried to offer limited intellectual understanding of literature and higher level knowledge.

But no one really ever cared. We live in a civilization of people who all think they know better than everyone else, so they’ve stopped listening to other people and vomit their own opinions instead of using rational thought. And if you don’t accept that, you’re just stupid, or even worse, one of those “other guys” from the other side of the aisle, whatever that actually means, because nine out of ten times, anyone who says something like that has a very limited understanding of what actually exists on “the other side of the aisle.” Not cause they can’t understand, but because they honestly don’t care.

Which brings us to today.

For one moment, I would like you to embrace an intellectual exercise and think to yourself: If I had to completely remove all connections to government, belief, and ideology, and I had to start from scratch, is the society that you live in right this moment, with its leaders, its structure of government, and everything that goes with it…is it what you’ve always imagined it could be?

Think about that for a moment and in a sort of John Lennon-ish way, what exactly would you do if you had the opportunity to improve on the things you have imagined would be a part of your ideal society?

For me, I would make sure that a number of things happened:

  1. Education would be completely free for everyone. Not because I’m some socialist example of some, well, socialist thing or other, but because I believe that a strong society is one that has the best education, because that leads to the smartest people doing the most inventive kinds of things. Sure, we can be a civilization of Homer Simpson’s (which we’re kind of becoming) or we could have been a society made up of variations of Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Stephen Hawkins, Madame Curie, Robert Frost, Alexis Tocqueville, Shania Twain, and any other great person you’ve imagined that could be inhabiting our lands. You’re looking at me strangely cause of the Shania Twain one, aren’t you? Hey, we can all have our great people. Go ahead and choose yours.
  2. The best health care that is affordable for everyone. We keep telling ourselves that we have great health care, but then we walk into the doctor’s office, and we’re stuck with horrible, and I mean HORRIBLE, health plans that our employers have negotiated for us with extremely corrupt healthcare insurance organizations. Seriously, someone’s getting payouts for this crap. Either that, or we have the stupidest people in American history actually negotiating within this industry. Co-pays (if you have them) are at all time highs, and even after you pay them, the service is mid-level at best. Pharmaceutical benefits are awful with prices going up more and more, yet the same drugs are completely affordable in every country but ours, including third world countries that make absolutely no sense until you unpack the whole industry (an argument for a completely different article, as no one in this country is even awake enough to care). And those are just some of the surface complaints for those that HAVE coverage. If you’re not lucky enough to have at least that level of care, you’re scrounging in the gutters hoping your next Emergency Department visit will allow you to at least access the very minimum level of care.
  3. That our leaders actually represented us instead of their own interests. This could have been fixed if we would have done something about lobbyists years back when they were becoming a “thing”. Now, I doubt we’ll ever fix it because our lawmakers have to negotiate future legislation that has to pass the muster of, well, the lobbyists. And as long as lobbyists are wining and dining (and straight out just paying kickbacks to) government officials, nothing is ever going to change. Our nation, and our cities, have been corrupted at the highest levels, and each election the new people who will soon become corrupt promise to fix the corruption. But don’t. So, it just gets worse.
  4. Respect for the troops that actually means respect for the troops. Waving a flag and saying we can kick Iran’s ass isn’t respect for the troops. It’s flag waving and nationalism, both symptoms of some of the worst examples of destructive governments that our government has sacrificed troops to defend against. No, respect for the troops means making sure our soldiers have the best equipment, that we don’t send them to wars to settle disputes between egos, and that when they do return from wars that MUST BE FOUGHT, we honor them by making sure that their needs are taken care of and that they are not neglected or forgotten. It’s not a party thing, but for some reason, some parties want to make it just that, without the better parts of that support that I just discussed.
  5. I’m sorry but our current leadership is about as bad as its ever been. But it’s not their fault. Our president is a racist, an accused rapist/sexist/misogynist/choose any bad designation you choose that involves hatred towards women, a grifter, an opportunist who thinks ONLY about himself, even though he is supposed to be representing everyone but himself, a childish buffoon, and a dangerous narcissist. The interesting part of all of that condemnation is that there is a huge segment of the population that completely ignores ALL OF THAT and fills it all in with “yeah, but he’s our guy who is making America Great Again!”

Which kind of brings me to why we’re never going to solve this problem. We are so bad off as a country right now that we have moved a person with all of those problems right into the White House. But this isn’t a complaint about him, even though anyone who is a supporter of him will think it is. It’s a complaint about us because we should have done so much better, but we didn’t give ourselves better choices.

Instead, we have allowed the corrupt process to overwhelm us so that each election we do participate in ends up being yet another example of how much dysfunction the whole system is suffering. ALL of our candidates, from practically every party, including the third parties, are all products of the corruption that makes up our government, our society, and our civilization. We keep putting these people into power because we’ve stopped even paying attention to the atrocities that they are doing. We have refugees from our neighbors being kept in cages on our borders because we stopped paying attention, and we’ve stopped caring. I guarantee that the majority of people reading this article have given less than two thoughts to the stuff we’re doing on the border, unless your focus is only on what we’re doing on the border.

The biggest problem we used to suffer was one of apathy. People just don’t care. But that problem has devolved into an even worse problem, one of completely neglect. Intelligent people used to be involved in their government on every level. Today, if you asked the average “intelligent” person who is ANY of their representatives in state government, in city government, in country government, etc., they will laugh and comment that no one knows that stuff unless they’re into politics. I asked a political science class the same question, and even though they were an upper level class and almost finished with the discipline, one of them was able to tell me the name of only ONE of those representatives.

That’s where we are today. We don’t care, so we don’t pay any attention to the atrocities that are done in our name. But the people who complain about others not participating quite often aren’t even paying attention to the biggest problem, and that’s that blind obedience to people who are part of the problem isn’t a solution.

We have people in our government that have been trying to do the right things for many years, but they’re mostly ignored or laughed at as buffoons. Instead, we elect to higher power ridiculous charlatans who are only looking out for themselves with goals of grandiose power grabs, sometimes even claiming to want to do great things for all of us, but really only care about themselves or those in their own social, and financial, circles.

So, if you were waiting for a punchline or a solution, I can tell you that it’s been staring you in the face all along. You just kept ignoring it to the point that you don’t see it any more. So much that the solution may soon wither away and die, leaving us to electing jokes as instruments of power, not once realizing that the joke has been us all along.

We just weren’t paying attention to what was happening around us.

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.

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