I’ve been working from home lately. Every morning like clockwork the mind numbing drone of the leaf blower is heard throughout my neighborhood. They sound like angry hornets ready to attack. It is a most annoying noise. This morning as I walked the dogs is struck me that these ubiquitous tools are an excellent metaphor for our society.
These hand held blowers are powered by electricity or most often 2 cycle gasoline engines are designed to act like a power broom. The intent is to consolidate the debris into a convenient space and then pick it up. Unfortunately the most common practice is to move that mess somewhere else – somewhere that you don’t have to pick it up; like the street or neighbors yard. I watched as the maintenance worker swept the nozzle back and forth moving the growing pile of debris from the yard to the street, then in a fanning motion spreading this collection over the pavement: job accomplished. It’s now someone else’s problem…
This is what brought the metaphor to mind.
How incredibly convenient to just move your shit out of sight; now you can ignore it. Rather than taking the time to pick it up – deal with it – we simply move somewhere else. Now I’m no longer responsible: Out of sight, out of mind.
Several situation come to mind. Things like our $16.5 Trillion deficit, the burgeoning personal credit card debt, our foreign policy, and our personal tendencies to blame someone else for our situation. We have become professionals at moving our shit out of sight, putting it off, shifting responsibility, and letting someone else deal with it. It has become second nature, we’ve become so good at this we don’t even recognize this tendency. We simply point out a convenient person or situation and poof… It’s no longer our problem.
I’ve written about the deficit before so I won’t belabor the point. It is easy and convenient to borrow what we think we need and ignore the repercussions of this action. Our result is making payments on the interest not the amount we really owe. The balance continues to compound and we do nothing to deal with the problem. It is now our legacy for our children. It is now their problem to resolve. Rather than saying no, we go to the well again and again never thinking that someday soon that well will go dry. It’s alright it should last through our generation, our heirs can sort it out later.
We follow blindly in the misguided footsteps of our government and borrow our way into insolvency. We no longer ‘save’ to purchase what we want, that would take too long. We crave instant gratification so we charge it. We’ll have it now and pay for it later. Actually that payoff rarely ever arrives unless you make more than the minimum payment that purchase will follow you for the next thirty years… Yes… you pay longer than that product lasts… Several US cities face bankruptcy because costs of support programs our strip their revenue. It’s not the municipal support like the police or fire department that cause the problem it’s the poor choices made to invest retirement funds in Ponzi schemes or to support the massive welfare communities in these cities. They borrow retirement funds to pay these non-contributing people shifting the problem to the next generation or to future taxes cheating the retiree’s out of earned money. Robbing Peter to pay Paul… Stealing money from the rightful owner yet no one stands up and calls foul…
We expect everyone, especially our government to fix the problems we create. Take healthcare as an example. We spend trillions of dollars on care. We donate hundreds of millions of dollars to research cures for diseases that will never be cured because of the profit in that research. Cancer is being cured in several countries except the US. Here the drug companies insist that the FDA test, and retest these purported cures yet we allow over the counter (OTC) drugs that give you an erection or increase your libido to market without so much as a warning label, but curing a real disease require FDA approval. Rather than deal with the root of the problem – the business of medicine – our government creates the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) to fix the problem. Guess who advising these leaders on how to fix this problem? The people that run these healthcare provider organization – the insurance companies. Again we move the problem to the side and expect the next generation to deal with it.
Rather than confronting a person that offends us we take them to court. Not just with a judge, but the court of public opinion; the most damning court of all. Paula Dean is a perfect example. We left the media convict her before it even went to court. George Zimmermann is another example. He was guilty of racial crimes before there was even a date for the hearing. The media calls it news, but is amounts to lame attempt at entertainment. They can point an accusing finger with impunity. Mo one dare question the sources – they are protected, but when someone like Paula or George are ruined for life the media hide behind “We are just reporting the news…” The people that own these entertainment empires never state their true agenda. They color the presentation or spin the information into “facts” that fit that agenda. It no longer matters whether there is a real correlation in any situation, the “facts” can be adjusted to fit it nicely.
Lastly is our environment. We have done everything possible to destroy this planet one small plot at a time. Now we face the repercussions for our poor choices. We still dump raw sewage into streams and rivers. We still generate electricity with coal. We burn fossil fuels to provide transportation. We drive SUV’s – Stupid Useless Vehicles – instead of more efficient smaller cars. It’s all about ego, not what’s right. We face the cataclysm of global warming. The sea levels are rising, the weather patterns are changing and we pump millions of tone of CO2 and CO into the atmosphere. The next generation will pick up our mess.
In the end the day of reckoning will arrive and we’ll stand accountable for our actions. I’m not talking about facing our supreme being, I’m talking about the point when we realize that we tried to shift the responsibility for actions and they have come home. We owe far more than me make… We can never hope to payoff that student loan for college… we will never be able to fix the financial or social or moral problems we created… We tried too hard to make someone else responsible for our problems. We tried to sweep them into the street and the wind just blew them back into our yard.