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Friday, July 29, 2016

Despair

I am generally a positive, upbeat person. But now I despair for our world, my country in particular. 

I am not feeling optimistic about the future of our country. It isn't just one thing that concerns me, either. The political divisiveness and rancor are worse than I ever remember. The 'me first, do-anything-to-get-what I-want' attitude bothers me. The lack of civility, the disdain for the environment, the 'money/profit at all costs' mentality all make me wonder what this country will be like in a few years.

The assault on the environment, and those creatures trying to co-exist with us humans who think it is our right to pillage, plunder and pollute the Earth, frightens me.

Our legislators disregard the wishes of the 'little people' -- the voters who elect them and who pay their salaries, generous lifetime pensions and perks. They take orders from lobbyists and corporations -- whoever will give them the most money. Case in point: polls show that more than 70 percent of New Mexicans support efforts to reintroduce the very endangered Mexican gray wolf into a tiny fraction of its former range. Yet our governor stacked the Game and Fish Commission with ranchers and others who believe the only good wolf is a dead wolf. So now, trapping is allowed in wolf habitat, and the state has discontinued efforts to reintroduce the wolf into New Mexico. Even worse, the state has sued the federal government over its plans to reintroduce additional captive-born wolves.

It seems the only thing members of Congress can come up with to reduce the massive budget deficit is taking away from the little people: remove the income tax deduction for mortgage interest. Remove the deduction for gifts to charities. Cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. Close tax loopholes for owners of private jets? Not a chance. Raise the tax rate for those earning a quarter million dollars or more annually? Heavens no!

There is no middle ground, no compromise, no rational discussion. Both sides of an issue draw a line in the sand and are unwilling to budge from their positions. Any discission quickly becomes nothing more than name-calling. Republicans refuse to even consider raising taxes on the mega-rich; Democrats want to continue spending money the country doesn't have. Neither side listens to the people. The only thing that matters is raising money for their re-election coffers.

The party is paramount. It has been disgusting to watch politicians who claim they oppose the radical, hate-filled pronouncements of Donald Trump, then obediently fall in line to support his bid to become president. It is, of course, allegiance to one's political party over the good of the nation.

Incidents of terrorist acts against innocent civilians are increasing in frequency and magnitude around the world. Racial tensions in the US are increasing, resulting in loss of life and property. The US Congress wants to turn control of federal lands over to the states, some of which cannot wait to open these protected lands to the highest bidder for oil and mineral extraction and logging. The Endangered Species Act is under constant attack. The country has deep, seemingly insurmountable divides about politics, the role of religion in a secular society and racism.

The assault on the environment, and those creatures trying to co-exist with us humans who think it is our right to pillage, plunder and pollute the Earth, frightens me. The human population continues to skyrocket, leaving less and less wilderness habitat for wild animals. Our oceans are polluted, and in some cities, the air is so dirty people wear masks when they venture outside. Safe, clean drinking water is lacking in many areas.


When did we become a society of whiny, greedy, self-important people? Where is the respect for ourselves and others? Where is the common sense? What happened to 'do unto others' and the Golden Rule? Are we so short-sighted that we are unable to see what we are doing to the only home we have?

I know there are people doing good things, people who are fighting for our planet and all its inhabitants. I like to think I am one of those people. But I fear we are fighting a losing battle. We don't have the money and the influence to win this battle. Unless we as a species undergo a fundamental change in our way of thinking and viewing the world, I fear for our planet. Is polluted air, contaminated rivers, decimation of species and clear-cut forests really what we want? If we don't change our ways, and soon, I fear that is what we will have.