The Gods Must Be Crazy

In 1980, a South African film called “The Gods Must be Crazy” directed by Jamie Uys garnered a cult-like following. In essence, the film is a compilation of three stories, the main one of which is about a Bushman who desires to rid his tribe of a Coke bottle that fell from the sky. This new-found property caused envy, jealousy and unrest to a tribe that had everything they needed to live peacefully and well. On his journey he witnesses the less sane remainder of the world. To me the title is about his bemusement over the rest of the world, yet others may interpret different meaning.

I use this movie as an example as it helps in trying to decipher the many contradictions by our political candidates, parties and followers that back them. On occasion, I will venture outside the US, but we have enough inanity in our country to entertain us for years to come. So, as your read on keep thinking “The Gods Must Be Crazy.”

Let me begin with something I have mentioned in early post. God gave us a brain and we do not choose to use it to the fullest extent. We have candidates and their followers who are skeptical of science and believe that religion and science are mutually exclusive. They are not. The evidence is pretty clear that life has been on this planet for quite a long time and to try to teach an alternative that the earth is 6,000 years old is asinine. To ignore the evidence we have is an insult to the brain God gave us.

To this point, God wants us to be good stewards of the our planet. Yet, we have a limited group of people who continue to deny overwhelming evidence that global warming is occurring. We better have a long term plan to address the issues. Within this plan, we need also to address the toxicity of our environment and future water supply. Otherwise, we may witness the apocalyptic games and movies which show earth when it is less livable. In this case, the apocalypse won’t be due to a nuclear disaster but will be due to a gradually overheated planet with limited water and toxic areas to avoid. I jest only in part.

We know the planet cannot sustain a population much larger than we are today. And, if others consume resources in the future like we do in North America, some studies show we have 5 billion people too many already. Data also shows that poverty is more prevalent in larger families. Yet, we have a group of people who are against groups like Planned Parenthood whose purpose is to help parents have manageable families. Planned Parenthood and their sister organizations around the globe due wondrous things. I believe we should support them to the fullest extent possible.

We have a group of people who are against abortion. I understand where they are coming from. While I support choice for women, I personally would not advocate for an abortion. Yet, it is not my body, so I respect the rights of women and would argue for education and informed choice. I do not condone “holier than thou people” infringing upon someone’s right to choose. I presume the choice is hard enough for the woman. Yet, the irony to me is how can people who are against abortion also be blindly in favor of the NRA and against the EPA? They are not thinking about what they are advocating. To create an environment for more gun deaths of children and to expose children unknowingly to toxic chemicals is hypocritical. Another way of saying the above is this group will support a child in the womb, but after the child is born, he is on his own.

We have 50 million Americans who do not have health are insurance.  The US is ranked 38th in health care quality by the World Economic Forum and World Health Organization. Yet, we are ranked number #1 in cost around the globe. That is not a good return on investment. Health Care Reform is far from perfect, yet it is a step in the right direction. The irony is it is a Republican idea from the 1990’s and a variation of the plan the likely GOP candidate put in place in Massachusetts. Yet, because President Obama set it in motion it is a horrible idea. It should be noted about 2 million adult children under 26 have been able to stay on their parents’ plans since part of the law went into play. I will reiterate it is not perfect, but nothing ever is. Yet, many who are adamantly against it could not articulate tangible reasons why, other than they were told to hate it.

We have a huge economic disparity in this country that is an embarrassment to America. Lack of education is a key part, but the perpetuation of poverty by minimum wage jobs is another. The disparity became far more visible post 1980 when the tax rates on the high-end were brought down. The rich did get richer. People say the President is dividing America with his rhetoric. I have news. America is divided. The rich people won. The rich people are the New York Yankees. The GOP says lower taxes on the rich will create jobs. The tax rate is at its lowest point in over 50 years – where are the jobs now? David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s economic advisor, said “trickle down economics” doesn’t work.  We have to address the economic disparity with better education for the masses, better wages, tax structure and job sharing.

We have a huge deficit, but we do not want to address the issues in a mature, holistic manner. We need all ideas on the table including increased revenue. We cannot cut our way out of this problem. I harp on starting from the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Plan. Let’s embrace and advocate not changing ideas therein unless we have a good reason. I would gather Obama, Boehner, McConnell, Reid and Pelosi in a room and say make it work and supportable over the long term. I don’t want your political party BS getting in the way of developing a workable plan. And, if you cannot improve upon Bowles-Simpson, don’t change it and make it work. The Gang of Six which had no support was at least trying to move it forward.

While we are on the subject, other countries have to do the same. We live in an aging environment. Some countries are getting older faster and they cannot support the retirement schemes with people retiring early. The working population cannot support them. I hate to say this, but it will actually get worse if nothing is done now. I do agree austerity has to be done in a thoughtful way, so growth is not inhibited. Yet, when leaders make agreements with lenders, they need to be good stewards with those agreements. Otherwise, you will not see future money. 70% – 80% of Greeks do not favor leaving the Euro Zone. They are right as it would be disaster. So, they need to make it work. And, US if you don’t get your act together this could be you.

The last two sections could be “now that you have danced to the music, it is time to pay the fiddler.” We need very thoughtful discussions and planning. We need less grandstanding and partisanship in the US, Greece and elsewhere. We need collaborative thinking to get to the most elegant solutions. The saddest irony is the peacemakers and collaborators are being the thrown out of office. I can assure you no political party has ownership of all the answers. As an US independent, I can look at the GOP party and say they don’t have many good answers to begin with. Many of us in the states are frustrated by debates over so-called values issues. It detracts away from the clear identification of our problems and recognition of our successes. The other party has to claim “total failure” on any effort by an incumbent. Total failure – that is absurd, but that is what wins elections.

“The Gods Must Be Crazy.” We talk around our problems and not about them. We don’t see the contradictions in our public discourse. We need to highlight our successes, discuss our problems openly and endeavor to solve them. Maybe the Gods will become more sane as will we.

 

 

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