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Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Torn Fabric

I am ready to pack it all up and leave the United States.

I am a proud American citizen. I was born here. My father and uncles fought for this country during World War II. I love America.

But I am so fed up with the current state of affairs that for the first time in my life I am ready to emigrate to another country. I have many reasons for feeling this way.

Let's start with the current political situation. The two major political parties are poised to nominate presidential candidates disliked by the majority of Americans. One is a bully and a blowhard. The other is of very questionable integrity. Really, America, is that the best we can come up with?

Congress is so far up the ass of the National Rifle Association that it refuses to pass even modest attempts to keep assault rifles out of the hands of would-be terrorists and those who present a threat to others. Apparently the ongoing mass slaughter of innocent people in the US is just fine with these so-called elected 'leaders.'

And why won't elected officials deal with the major problems facing this country -- poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, a looming Social Security shortfall, a huge national debt, etc. -- rather than worrying about made-up issues such as which bathroom a transgender person should be allowed to use

I also am very disheartened by the vitriol and rancor among much of the populace. A well-reasoned political discourse is nearly impossible without one or both participants resorting to name-calling. One party claims to want a smaller government, yet its adherents insist on trying to cram their religious beliefs down the throats of everybody else. Can we say h-y-p-o-c-r-a-c-y? 

Our judicial system is a farce, with a convicted rapist being sentenced to a mere six months in county jail because the judge felt that a harsher sentence would have too much of an impact on the criminal. What about the victim, who will feel the impact of her attacker's actions for the rest of her life? 

And what's going on with the police? How many unarmed people (many of them black) have to be murdered by police before something is done? I know the police have dangerous, thankless jobs. There are those who target them and take whatever opportunity they can find to kill police sitting in a patrol car. But there have been far too many officer-involved shootings to not warrant a close look at police procedures.

Let's not forget the 'patriot' movement in the western states that wants the federal government to hand over control of public lands so these states can sell or lease them to the highest bidder for oil and mineral extraction. What is it about public lands these people don't get? Public doesn't mean the lands are available for sale. And what is even more frightening is that some Republican members of Congress, in addition to some state legislators, support this move. 

Taxpayer-funded Wildlife Services (now there's a misnomer) with its $121 million budget kills millions of 'nuisance' wildlife, many of them predators that the cattle ranchers want exterminated. So of course, Wildlife Services does their bidding. The 2014 kill reports shows that this out-of-control organization killed 2.7 MILLION animals, including 322 gray wolves, 61,702 coyotes, 580 black bears, 305 mountain lions, 796 bobcats, 454 river otters, 2,930 foxes, three bald eagles, five golden eagles and 22,496 beavers. The program also killed 15,698 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 33,309 prairie dog dens.

I believe the moral fabric of our nation is torn and may well be irreparable. Yes, there are good people who help others, volunteer, donate money, etc. Perhaps the news media simply don't cover acts of kindness as often as they cover stories of hatred and killing and greed. But it seems that mass killings and road rage are becoming the norm. Stories of abuse of children and animals far outnumber stories about good people doing good things. Corporate greed is endemic. It's all about money, regardless of the toll on people or the environment. Politicians no longer 'represent' the people who elected them, but instead do whatever their corporate owners want them to do. No one listens to us 'little people.' Our voices, our wishes, our welfare, are ignored. So right now, a move to either Costa Rica, Nicaragua or Botswana is looking very good.