THE GREAT DIVIDE
All of my life I have been dogged by a tendency to write things down, get my thoughts onto paper or into print, clarify my feelings, explain them, turn them from ideas into a kind of reality. Certainly seeing something on paper gives it a form, a substance, a reality that an idea just doesn't have.
But as I grow older, I realize that the world is inundated with thoughts set down on paper. We have magazines, books, newspapers and now, the Internet. There are so many diverse ideas and thoughts that the reader ends up boggled with confusion. How can people vary so much in their feelings? Shouldn't there be some basic emotions that are shared by everyone? Shouldn't there be some Common Ground that people could agree upon?
I don't know. For instance, it is well known by those who know me that I tend to have liberal feelings. Actually, most people who work in the newspaper business are liberal. I think it is because they have seen so much poverty and want in the stories they have explored. No one who has wandered among the poor Blacks in the city's ghetto areas, as I have, could fail to sympathize with their plight. My entire newspaper career seemed to involve stories about the sick, the poor and the desperate. I might also add, these stories involved politicians...and it did not take the mind of a rocket scientist to realize that most of them seemed to be far removed from reality, from horrible truths like illness without insurance, kitchens without food, people without morality, immorality born of poverty, lack of proper education and neglect.
I have little patience with people who lack feeling for others. When I hear an announcement that President Bush and his Congressional Rubber Stampers have cut funding for nursing homes, I am staggered with dismay and indignation. It seems that the richer someone gets, the more power they hold, the less sympathy they have for the downtrodden, the more heartless they become. These actions are not done openly, with reams of publicity, but seem to be tucked away in secrecy in what my Mom would have called "snuckered in."
One can say much in favor of a majority of nursing homes, because they are, at best, warehouses for the sick and the elderly. Many loving families have chosen another route, caring for their elderly at home. But, despite their faults, nursing homes are necessary, because not all families can care for their own. Not all elderly have families. Not all families can stay at home around the clock to furnish the kind of care necessary.
There are not very many of us that can afford the kind of money the nursing homes demand. There are charges for everything from laundry to basic care. The children of the elderly and sick, struggling to raise children of their own, struggling to pay bills, find or keep jobs, seldom can afford these astronomical rates. So a slash in funding for the sick and elderly is not just a heartless stab at the most vulnerable among us, but a tremendous blow to the working family.
It is hard to believe that there are people who approve these kinds of actions. There are people who resent their tax money being used to help any other human being except themselves. They want complete control of their own money, with no governmental "grab", as they call it, to spend it for them. The elderly and the sick, they feel, should be tucked into the back bedroom of a relative's home and cared for there. This is indeed wonderful, when it happens, but not so wonderful at times, because unfortunately it can lead to neglect, elderly abuse, misuse of funds, etc., the substance of nightmares of those who grow older.
However, these same people seem to have sat quietly, cheering the War in Iraq, where the useless waste of tax money is being revealed daily. It is peculiar in my mind that people would not object to looting our Treasury for a war that could not even be called necessary at the time, yet complain loudly about their tax money spent on programs like those that help fund nursing homes for the sick and the elderly.
When I attended our family reunion, I ran into a relative who seemed to think it was amusing that I have liberal tendencies. As a joke, he presented me with a sticker for the Republican Gubernatorial candidate, DeVos. Of course I laughed and told him that I would have to "key" his car if he sported such a sticker, but in truth, I feel that the advent of DeVos to the post of Michigan Governor would be a disaster, in every way.
Perhaps this is because of those huge boxes of supposedly biodegradable soap that I bought from relatives caught up in this Amway pyramid scheme, soap that cost three times what an equal box of Tide would have cost! Perhaps it is the fact that these relatives bought into this miserable scheme because it promised prosperity to them and failed to deliver it. Or perhaps it is the fact that Amway does not produce products you can readily find on our American grocery shelves, but has purportedly moved its operation to foreign lands.
It might even be the fact that DeVos reportedly hobnobbed with Abramoff and that corrupt crowd, with their lush vacations and schemes to defraud Indian tribes. Or the fact that DeVos is so rich and willing to spend his seemingly vast fortune to become Michigan's leader.
His opponent, Jennifer Granholm, doesn't have his kind of money. She doesn't have his ties to the Bush crowd. She has simply plodded along, doing her best with a deficit and the financial troubles of the Big Three auto companies. Can a woman Governor win out over the Big Money Boys? It remains to be seen.
However, I found myself resenting the amusement of my relative. Here I am, worried sick about a nuclear war bursting forth with Iran, another Shock & Awe to gobble up our tax money and necessitate the slashing of needed programs like Nursing Home Care, and this Republican soul, nicely dressed and groomed and prosperous as most Republicans are these days, treating my political affiliations as though they were an oddball form of entertainment.
Am I some eccentric old hag with a bizarre political belief, a local Cindy Sheehan who, not being as bleached and sexy as Ann Coulter, can be ridiculed and laughed about? Or am I a member of a huge majority who are as equally worried about the direction our country is taking as I am? Are there folks out there who prefer diplomacy over War, who wish that the President of the United States would simply TALK to that belligerent and obviously frightened leader of Iran and head off, hopefully, both a possible nuclear contest or thousands of guerilla suicide attacks on as many Americans as possible.
Am I alone in regretting the day the President voiced that "Axis of Evil" phrase in a State of the Union message...an open invitation for these nations to gear up and prepare for war? Am I alone in hoping for a more rational group of leaders for our country? Am I the only one sick and tired of lies, aggression and arrogance?
Am I a coward, eager to "Cut and Run"? I think not. I have faced life's challenges in every way and I can fight like a tiger in a legitimate situation that is not based on elusive goals. But war for the sake of war in a Crusade against Muslims and a grab for oil is not worth the lives lost, in my estimation. Nor is it sensible.
I stand alone, firmly in favor of battening down our country, closing those borders, taking over our own ports and planes and bridges, making it safer in every way, but halting those constant harangues on the War on Terror, aimed at frightening everyone to death, people who, even though frightened, are helpless to do a thing about it, but are urged to than vote for the person mouthing the phrases, which is the desired result. Fear should not be a political tool. A very wise president once said that we have nothing to fear but fear. I believe him. I don't need those speeches. I am frightened enough already. And I am particularly frightened by leaders who seem less than truthful, and those who seem eager for war.
This is why I fail to set my emotions onto paper. I am trying to sort them out, come to some understanding of the polarization that is taking place in our country, differences that have even reached into families and friendships. I search for answers, but I seldom find them. The fact remains that what one faction of the country calls good government, I call Chaos and Destruction. We differ, and there is no explanation for it, no logical reason for this great divide.