“In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
I am amazed when I see the Unholy Trinity of Pundits, Politicians and Preachers declare that when disaster strikes one part of the country or another that the Federal Government which represents all of us has moral or constitutional right to provide assistance to the stricken region. The latest is the unprecedented drought in Texas which has turned the state into a tinder-box that is now going up in flames. It seems that in our now poisonous political climate the some have even used natural disasters to indicate their belief that God is either sending a message or judging the country.
We have allowed our political leaders, pundits and politically minded preachers of the political Left and Right to lead us to the precipice of calamity as they use fear and loathing to deepen the division of Americans for their fellow Americans. They have been wildly successful in their efforts and we all are paying the price for their hubris.
We have seen the wealth of the nation squandered by government as well as the great financial houses and multi-national corporations that for all practical purposes own the government. Dwight Eisenhower warned us of the danger of the “military-industrial complex” but I think that the “banking-financial complex” is far more dangerous because it is far more insidiously enmeshed in every aspect of our lives as individuals and as a nation. As a result we are in dire financial straits that some say are so great that we can no longer help one another and those individual regions afflicted with disasters beyond their ability to respond to protect life, property, critical infrastructure and even business interests will have to get through disaster on their own, without assistance.
In the past couple of years we have seen many natural disasters compounded by a crippled economy devastate the lives of Americans or all political philosophies, faiths, regions and socio-economic classes. In times past these disasters would have brought us together. It would not matter if the disaster was an earthquake in California, floods in the agricultural heartlands of the Midwest, hurricanes along the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, wildfires that lay waste to lives and property in the Southwest or drought in various parts of the country, we used to be moved to provide every bit of assistance that could help. Assistance provided by individuals, churches, relief organizations, local and State governments and the Federal Government. But now because we are in deep financial constraints we see some politicians, pundits and preachers on the political right who make their living hating government are for practical purposes saying that we should leave our countrymen and women to their own devices even when overwhelmed by events that they cannot control and do not have the means to respond.
We that is the case until their neighbors are endangered or devastated, unless you are House Majority Whip Eric Cantor who told the residents of Mineral Virginia and the surrounding area that assistance would have to be matched by corresponding cuts when they were struck by the largest earthquake the region had seen since 1897 when a 5.8-6.0 temblor hit Pearisburg Virginia. We saw Ron Paul openly state that the Federal Government had no business in responding to the ravages of hurricane Irene which killed about 40 people and caused an estimated 7-10 billion dollars in damage from North Carolina to New England which places it in the top 10 hurricanes in terms of insurance losses. This is while some pundits mocked the areas affected by gloating about how Irene weakened before coming ashore and about the “over-reaction” the Federal, State and Local governments concerned with the effect of the storm on their citizens. Of course the same people deriding the “over-reaction” would be the first to use a lack of action or poor preparation and response against the very leaders that they deride for doing too much.
However the truth is that we do need each other and are interdependent on each other as states, regions and individuals in ways that our ancestors never were. It is impossible to turn back the clock as hat happens in one region does affect the rest of us. When agricultural regions are flooded, dried up by unending drought or winter weather the cost of food goes up, when a hurricane shuts down oil production in the Gulf of Mexico the price of gas and heating oil goes up, when a tsunami strikes Japan automobile factories in the U.S. have to shut down for lack of key components and the cost of cars goes up because supply goes down. The list can go on and on and on and if we do not begin to think of ourselves as one nation instead of a collection of “Red States and Blue States” we will see this grand experiment go down in flames.
The time for political, social and economic fratricide is over; we cannot endure long if we continue down this self destructive path. The multiple crises that we face demand that we come together to solve them. As President John F. Kennedy said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”