I’m beginning to think that we Americans have lost our critical thinking skills. Or maybe our hearts are just too broken to revive them. Or maybe we have all decided that the state of our union is so out of whack that we’ve just pulled the covers over our heads and fallen asleep muttering, “There’s nothing we can do about it anyway.”
Our Constitution begins with “We, the people,” and therein lies why I’m so mystified. This is our country. It doesn’t belong to the rich and powerful. It doesn’t belong to the government. It doesn’t belong to the politicians, even though some might think so. It belongs to us, we, the people, and we deserve to have our voices heard.
No matter what your political stripe is, it is essential that we revive our critical thinking skills before we can make any corrections. For instance, there are those who think that austerity will revive our country. But it doesn’t make logical sense to deny our citizens the basic building blocks of survival. First we have to have food, shelter, and a feeling of safety. From there, people need medical care and ultimately education. With health and an education we can and will revive those critical thinking skills. Education begets innovation and innovation begets leadership. Added together, America can thrive again.
So far what we’ve seen is this: Huge corporations limit fair pay to employees. They don’t have to worry. They have their slice of the American Dream, and their employees will get food stamps and other survival tools from the government. Who is the Government? We are. So moguls keep what we’ve earned for them, and we the people pay them a second time for misbehaving. They’re double dipping us and walking away with fat paychecks that they keep. And, no, it does not trickle down. Otherwise it would have started trickling long ago.
There are those who claim to want austerity while at the same time beating the drum for more war. Either they want austerity, or they want another costly war. Which is it? We haven’t even paid for the last war yet. I don’t see any critical thinking here.
Flat taxes? Flat taxes will just ensure that our huge economic disparity will get wider. If we all contribute to our treasury in proportion to what we can give, we’ll all thrive. Otherwise we’ll be like the lords and serfs of old: “I don’t care if you can’t afford it. Pay me my taxes.”
There are politicians who claim that they don’t want the guv’ment interfering with individual rights. If that’s true, why do they insist that they are the guardians of a woman’s right to choose? I’m even more mystified by their lack of critical thinking skills. Apparently, it’s appropriate for others to limit our role in caring for the health and welfare of our bodies, but it’s not appropriate for us to join together and care for the health and welfare of our planet, which is being systematically destroyed through pollution.
Repairing our roads and bridges would create thousands more jobs for Americans. But instead, some choose to ignore the potential threat to life and limb because it’s not “fiscally responsible.” I disagree. My critical thinking skills tell me that would be a double win. Both jobs and safety. Surely there aren’t those who don’t care about the loss of a few lives. If that were true, why would we go to war over the sad loss of more than 3,000 people in New York City on 9/11 and then avenge ourselves with the loss of thousands more lives? Not to mention the loss of treasure as well.
If your home was in disrepair would you prefer not to fix it (austerity) or would you invest what you had to improve it? Would you sell it because you couldn’t afford to fix it? If you don’t sell it and you don’t improve it and it falls down, what was your role in making the decision? Did you employ your critical thinking skills? While your home was once worth something, now it’s worth nothing because it fell down. Our government could crumble the same way unless we stop this wrong-headedness.
And all we ever had to do was to think, A is to B as B is to C. I’ll continue to be mystified until I see us all restore our critical thinking skills.
Diana Wiley is writing a book about people who remain single by choice.