Will this crisis finally wake us up? I doubt it….


Earlier today I sent to my own e-list the link to the Sunday August 7 Face the Nation.

I added this note:

“One of the most stupid comments I have ever heard was Sen. Lindsey Graham’s on Face the Nation yesterday. You can see it ‘below the fold’…. It was cynical, arrogant, hypocritical and worse.
Of course, it played well in sound-bite land.
Of course, it plays well with a certain audience.
These are sad days for this country…and it’s not Obama’s fault.
WE are the ones who need to do the heavy lifting. No more whining.”

Reader Will Shapira commented back, almost immediately:
“I think this all is very confusing and an abstraction at best to most people who believe it cannot affect them because they don’t understand it. That would generally include me.
You or someone else needs to explain to your readers how it could affect the common folk.”

I said I’d try.

We are a society whose eyes glaze over at headlines, much less essays. If we don’t understand something we tune it out. If it’s too hard to deal with, we generally refuse to deal with it. “Let’s go out and have a big sundae. It’s a nice afternoon. Going bankrupt is a problem for another day.”

But I digress:

Among other statements, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that “in any other private sector enterprise, he [Obama] would be fired.” He added “coach” as another profession from which the President would be fired.

OK. I’m in with “coach”.

There is, indeed, a ‘trickle down’ aspect to the tragedy of years of reckless spending accompanied by tax cuts for everyone, including ourselves. (The rich weren’t the only ones who got a good deal in the George W. Bush years of a Republican majority in both House and Senate.) The national credit card was out and running up a huge balance. We are on a national drunken binge. The culprits: unfunded wars and Medicare improvements, and, primarily, big tax cuts for the already wealthy. That trifecta is basically what got us to 2011. Oh, and we got those tax cuts too….

Team America was losing the game big time. And it all happened long before Obama’s watch.

Then comes Sen. Graham on Sunday, speaking for his Republican colleagues in carefully calibrated sound bites.

Let’s take his coach analogy.

Say someone is hired as a coach of a team, and a significant part of the team decides that it’s main objective is to get the coach fired – to make him fail – even before his first day.

In the real athletic world, that mutinous part of the team would be history, suspended at minimum. But in the United States political version, the mutinous rabble would be cheered on by the fans in the stands, hoping that their own team, the home team, would be clobbered, so that their new coach would be fired, and they could go back to the good old days, whose players and coach not only cost them the championship, but virtually bankrupted the operation. Those were the days when they got free popcorn, and all sorts of other bennies.

That’s what we’re playing with here. Team members who don’t think they’re part of the team. A crowd in the stands who doesn’t think they have any responsibility other than to watch: it’s the coaches fault. Fire the coach.

As previously stated, the key part of Graham’s quote is this: “…in any other private sector enterprise, he [Obama] would be fired.” Yah, right. Watch the mutinous division head become history in any private sector corporation that has hired a new CEO.

Of course, the U.S. is not a corporation, or a football team. Rather, we show ourselves in times like this to be a disorganized rabble.

Those who think they aren’t big enough to be impacted by, or impact on, this crisis had best think again, and think very, very hard.

We citizens may be small fish, but if the small fish start to die, the bigger fish further up the food chain will die as well, and sooner or later we’ll be all dead.

Maybe that’s what we want. For our sake, I hope not.

Update Aug. 8: Janet makes a relevant point:

“Yes, but. But, we have been divided into 2 teams. Only 2 teams. Winner takes all.” Yes, but…until the present toxic days, our system seems to have been able to negotiate and compromise as though we were all interested in building a stronger union. There was rancor and division, yes, but there was negotiation and mutual respect. Those have been diminished to the point they have been all but destroyed.

Janet’s counterpoint to mine:

“Good point. I have been thinking about this for years. When I say teams, I mean like athletic teams. America is very “team” oriented, whether it be school, college or professional sports, we want our team to win. Some will want to win at all costs and that is represented in extremity by the Tea Party. Unfortunately, they don’t understand that they are representing Koch Industries and other mega-corporations interests above their own. Koch funds Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, ALEC and a host of other organizations that want to destroy all laws and regulations that might affect them. Instead, those laws could apply to the rest of us or we could live like it was the Wild Wild West in a free for all.”