He wonders if the government is even capable of governing anymore, and he rightly noted that we both think "that there's something unsustainable about the governance of our country."
I agree that our current government and bureaucracy is unsustainable. But it's not just our governance, it's our entire culture. As Americans we eat and drink more than is healthy. We consume way more than our fair share of energy. We live in homes that are way bigger than they need to be and pay for them much more than we should (indeed, much more than we can afford). We're more interested in voting results for American Idol than for American elections.
We demand free health care, free retirement, free food and water — hell, free digital cable converter boxes — even though, in the long centuries of human existence, no people have ever dared to dream of such things.
Somehow, over the last 80 years, we've become entitled.
So when Joel asks in the title of his post, "Can anybody save us?" The short answer is, no. If something is unsustainable and can't continue, it must come to an end.
The longer answer is something Cassius hit upon when he was having a beer with his good buddy Brutus at his boss's beach house in the hit film Weekend At Caesar's:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves… Hey, what's that thing stuck in Ceasar's back?
If we're honest with ourselves, we see that Obama isn't to blame for "the state of things," nor are the Republicans, the Democrats or the Tea Party; it's not Glenn Beck or Jon Stewart or Sarah Palin or Rachel Madow or that other guy who's name I can't remember from MSNBC...
When you get right down to it, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
We voted ourselves money and spending and benefits that we don't really deserve and certainly can't afford. And really, I can understand why we did it. That unsustainable culture I mentioned earlier? That's a fun culture to be a part of. I mean, who doesn't want to rock 'n roll all night and party every day?
It beats the hell out of allowing banks to fail from their own malfeasance... dragging us all into a great depression with them. That's just… depressing.
And aren't we all more than willing to take off our shoes and allow strangers to look at our naughty bits at the airport in order to feel a little safer about flying out to Las Vegas and maxing out our credit cards on overpriced booze and glorified money-sucking video games?
But we got ourselves into this mess. And we're going to have to get ourselves out. It's not going to be easy. I suspect that it will get much, much worse before it gets better. But I also think the best place to start is in your own neighborhood, in your own town, in your own city and state.
Democrats nor Republicans nor presidents nor senators will be able to help us. Relying on the government isn't the answer. We all need to pull together. Find people who need your help. There are a lot of great organizations and churches that are dedicated to feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, trying to heal the sick.
We need to focus on our responsibilities as citizens, not our rights. Make personal changes like eating better food and less of it, maybe start using less energy (I personally have lowered my body temperature to 94 degrees).
Voting is nice. But it is more important to get out and help than it is to get out the vote.
tagged: culture, politics, Republican, Democrat, America, election, Obama