I am having a Monty Python moment – when he says, “Now, for something entirely different.” At this point in my life I can allow myself to take more risks. Even if I fall on my face, at least I have done something outside of my usual comfort zone. This is admittedly the most political blog I have ever written. I have been thinking about these things for quite awhile. Today my inner voice said, “Do it now. Write about something different – not just local politics, the Coyotes or the pond.” And so I have.

As I watch events unfold in our country concern about its future begs to be voiced. My husband and I are both retired. We are decidedly middle class and our retirement income is just enough. We were children of the 40s and 50s when America was kinder and gentler and there was still a whiff of innocence in the air we breathed.  Our front doors were never locked, we played outside without fear and a sense of patriotism was a virtue. Our parents worked hard so that we had opportunities for a better life, especially economically, than they had. There was a sense of belief, hope and optimism. All things were possible if one worked for it.

fog 2When the Great Recession of 2007-08 descended upon this nation it was as if we were traveling on a road where the fog laid thick and dank. Nothing was visible beyond the car’s headlights. Where were the road’s lane lines or markers to orient us? Was it possible to drift into oncoming traffic? All reference points were masked by the fog’s pervasiveness. It created a sense of unease and fear about the future.

As the fog recedes ever so slowly and we begin to leave it behind, large signs, billboards, become visible along the roadway. The first one says will we ever know what happened in Benghazi? Another reminds us of the federal investigations of reporters and the conspiracy charge levied against reporter James Rosen (eventually dropped). Yet another billboard depicts the Internal Revenue Service’s biased actions in determining 501-C4 status for some non-profit groups while another reveals the National Security Administration’s collection of data (some, it turns out, deliberate and unauthorized) on American citizens. The last two billboards show the government’s grant of a one year exemption for businesses from the new Healthcare legislation and a total exemption of Congressional men and women and their staffs from the requirements of this new law.

const 2These billboards are troublesome because they signify the erosion of our Constitution by the very people charged with its defense. The President continues to erode its meaning through Executive Orders while Congress is ineffectual in passing even the simplest of legislation. The stewards of our individual right to privacy with a wringing of hands and a gnashing of teeth eagerly cede bits and pieces of our foundational values in the name of security and safety.

The fog may have lifted but what happened while we were blinded by its effects? No longer do parents believe they will pass on greater opportunities to their children. Belief, hope and optimism have been replaced by divisiveness and the partisan        politicization of every important issue before us. Working hard has been replaced by who you know and what can you do for me. Our government is driving a train loaded with the cargo of political correctness and erosion of the very values we held dear for centuries.

Our familiar societal reference points have disappeared and fear and unease about the future persists not as an aberration of a difficult time in our history but as the norm. Many trust in God…but what about the federal government?

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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