If we are experiencing "climate change," I
think I know why: The earth has tilted on its axis.
Watching the political shows Sunday morning,
I saw a reversal of the magnetic political field. In the past,
fiscal conservatives argued for spending and borrowing limits;
liberals snarled the question/demand "Where would you cut?"
The conservatives would try to respond in the
limited available time, knowing that any suggestion would be
considered an assault on literacy, justice and handicapped
But this week, the liberals who objected to
budget cuts/reforms were challenged by television moderators
with the question/demand "Where would YOU cut"? while
conservatives smiled (George Will) or smirked (Bill Kristol). I
myself laughed with delight - because the default assumption in
all discussions was this simple, unarguable fact: There will be
cuts, because there's no more money.
No more for the traditional annual increases
in everything, including the share automatically allowed for
waste, inefficiency, patronage, buying votes and corruption. No
more for the joy of spending at the expense of future
generations and the very near future of the economy. No more for
unaffordable pay raises and unsustainable benefits, not a cent
for tribute to the barbarian union pirates.
So it is now understood by almost everyone:
Cuts will be made. The only question is, how much right now, and
how much later? And where?
Democrat leaders argue for their agreement to
cut the rate of increase. But on this swiftly tilted planet, the
natives know that this is not a real cut, just more spending of
money that we don't have. The Democrats offer to spend at this
year's level; but the natives now realize that there is no money
for this year's level since much of this year's level of
spending came from borrowed money that we have to borrow to pay
the interest on. This is insane. And one way or another, it's
The Republicans, bolstered by the Tea Party,
will begin to stop it now with their own package of real cuts,
and a refusal to raise the national debt limit againagainagain;
or, it will be over in the very near future when it all
collapses on top of the handicapped puppies.
All across the nation, concerned Americans
are gathering to save the puppies, save vital services, save the
economy, save the country, save the parts of the world that
depend on this country's survival. They are joining the Tea
Party. They are electing governors like New Jersey's Chris
Christie and Wisconsin's Scott Walker, then backing them as they
take on the public employee union leaders who wag their
vestigial tails and howl the eternal "union-busting" into the
Listen, feel! New winds of change are
blowing, across the tilted planet plains.
Some say that we shouldn't compare our
citizen revolution here, with its relative lack of immediate
danger, with the powerful revolutions occurring in the Middle
East, but as I watched both foreign and domestic events
unfolding I thought, revolt is revolt, though it takes more raw
courage in some places.
Because of our great good fortune at being
Americans, with a very big country far removed from really
hostile nations, abundant though declining natural resources, a
citizen-protective Constitution and a tradition of freedom, we
have margin for a little bit more error before our past errors
catch up with us and cause real damage. Revolutionaries in some
other countries are risking their lives and what little they may
own to stand up to heavily armed power, which in some places
they are facing with raised shoes.
I cheer for them and relate to them, even if
they aren't really like me at all. It occurred to me recently
that my life-long assumption, that most human beings are the
same, underneath, may be illusion if not delusion. Maybe they
just want more food, better shelter, nicer shoes to throw.
Decades ago, I met young people from Soviet
eastern-bloc countries in Amsterdam's Dam Square, who just
wanted American blue jeans and rock & roll. I still believe that
this desire for our denim and our music helped drive the fall of
the Soviet Union.
Back then our Levis were made here and our
music wasn't obscenity-filled rap. I'm no longer sure that most
Americans are like me either. Is freedom their highest value?
And is life not worth living without it, except to fight for it?
Do they know there is no security without freedom, no freedom
without personal responsibility and some moral restraint?
Do most Americans understand they're not born
entitled to a free lunch? Do they borrow only for essential
major purchases and emergencies, care about their grandchildren
more than their Social Security COLAs, respect those who pay
their salaries instead of using collective bargaining to rip us
off? Vote for the best candidate regardless of his race, and pay
enough attention to know who is the best candidate? Are they
willing to stand up for what they believe?
I'm not perfect, but I'm right. And soon
we'll find out if there are enough people like me to win the
revolution, as the planet tilts.