Miscellany (stuff that keeps me awake at night)

Did the Founders ever contemplate the wide disparities in population between the states of our union? They were probably not that great among the 13 originals. While there had to be compromises to protect the smaller ones (the Senate and the Electoral College) it seems unlikely that anyone could have forseen the California/Wyoming population disparity that exists today. If we have to have a Senate where each state gets two regardless of population, maybe the British House of Lords would be a more suitable role model, kind of an elite debating club without any power to influence events. Likewise, the Electoral “College”. MSNBC’s 10PM host, Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out recently that while many democracies copied parts of our founding documents, none of them included this anachronism,. Oh well, too late now……..

There seems to be a movement to declare the United States a “Christian nation”. I can’t help thinking what they really mean is a White Christian nation.What about Jews, Muslims, atheists, Black and brown folks, Asians, and indigenous people, to name a few. I am old enough to remember when Catholics were less than desired. Maybe we need to include Protestants in the definition (White Protestant Christian nation. Has a nice ring to it?). The Founders clearly never intended us to be quasi religious (separation of church and state?). WWJD – remember that saying? What would Jesus of Nazareth think of some of this nonsense?

Lest you think I’m a chronic malcontent, I fully realize that this nation is the last, best hope for humankind. Why do we have an immigration problem? Very, very few people want to leave compared with the “huddled masses yearning to be free”, and risking their lives to get here. And when they do get here, the vast majority are willing to work very hard to earn their keep. Full disclosure: both my wife and I are children of immigrants, from Italy and France, respectively. This country needs immigrants, since we appear to have a shortage of workers. There is a lot to do! We need all the help we can get.

Let the People Vote!! We’ve come a long way from the original republic where relatively few were educated. Much is made of the fact that our participation rate is lower than other democracies. On the other hand, the USSR had rates in the 90’s (you could be arrested or shot if you didn’t vote, but that’s another story). Even well predating GOP efforts to curtail voting, we make it too hard. The pandemic brought about a major increase in voting by mail, but the (GOP) powers that be are trying to roll back these reforms. We are a large nation consisting of 50+ voting units, Why should it be significantly harder to cast ballots in some states than others? We need federal standards for ballot access (sorry if this makes me seem like a Socialist). LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!

On a brighter note, wouldn’t it be nice if the people of this nation was as well off as the ones in the drug commercials? Talk about the good life! Just latch onto that (expensive) pharmaceutical. Now if we could just eliminate the voiceovers telling what really might happen. Talk to your doctor – good luck with that! Ours won’t even return phone calls trying to set up appointments.

I know that this is a rich nation, but how many bucks are wasted on political attack ads? How many hungry kids would this feed or clothe? Many are the texts and Emails I get from Democratic candidates (funny, but I never get any from Republicans) claiming they get no funding from corporate donors (dark money). I know that they need to spend $$ to get elected to clean up the mess in (fill in the blank), but, with what little money I have, I prefer to feed kids.

Finally, let me end this diatribe with an observation that we as a nation (and others) tend to reward the wrong professions. We compensate hedge fund managers (whatever that is), drug dealers (legal and otherwise), college and pro football and basketball coaches, entertainers (rock stars) and many others, at the expense of teachers, first responders, cops (please don’t defund the police), nurses, not to mention people who care for our increasingly numerous elderly population. Can’t we find more creative ways to at least partially level the playing field?

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