Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Removing the Bandage: Why America Cannot Move On From its Past

 There are some things that just come with age.

One of those well-developed, hard-learned lessons is knowing when to let go of the past. It is regrettably a level of maturity that Americans have yet to attain. 

As Memorial Day begins a string of "national" holidays that will take residents into the religious season, the sad reality of these special days is that, to many, they have little or no meaning. For a country that claims the level of patriotism it does, how can its citizens not understand the significance of days that speak of its history? What is it that makes Americans avoid the good, bad and ugly of its past while expecting accountability from its government and those who had nothing to do with the events or their outcome? 

Like a wound that is allowed to fester instead of heal, America continues to pick at the scab with deliberate purpose to keep the healing process one that is slow and painful.  As long as Americans choose to nurse their wounds instead of moving past them, this land will never develop a national personality that embraces all races, religions and demographics. 

As children, each of us can remember a time when a skinned-up knee or bad cut seemed to defy healing. Bandages were decorated with colorful characters and patterns to make the reality of the damage less frightful. Even disguised by friendly images, the covering grew more dirty and sticky until the chances of infection became more dangerous than the wound itself.  This is how America deals with its history. 

In real life, bandages need to be removed every so often so that sunlight and air can allow them to heal.  That doesn't happen in this country.   What is it that keeps America from ripping off the bandage, tending to the wound so that it heals and proudly displaying the scar as a time when something was learned about life? Here the prognosis is always one of permanent damage and long and expensive recovery. 

In the same way children fight to keep the bandage on, Americans avoid learning from their past for one reason--FEAR! Fear of what might be under the bandage, fear of what it might take to treat it and fear of how big the scar might be on the face of a nation that is still young, vibrant and at the top of its game.

The difficulty in bringing this country together within a single purpose has always been the same--a population of people who came here because it appeared free of rules and oppression.  Difficult, if not impossible to manage, any country founded by those focused on individual opportunities, freedom of choice and non-conformity in thought will experience growing pains. Nowhere in the narrative of this country's "melting pot" image is a desire for individual accountability and social responsibility mentioned. Even after 230 years, America has the mindset of a teenager whose citizens have yet to learn they cannot have the benefits of adulthood and the a child-like view of responsibility at the same time.   By removing the bandage, accepting conditions as they are and letting the wound heal, Americans give up leverage over government officials who are only concerned about winning the next election.

The Founding Fathers understood that the Constitution needed to focus on the collective, not the individual. The document specifically opens with a pledge to create "a more perfect Union." It then explains the government's place in order to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty"--not for some but for all.  It would only take three and a half years for strong individuals to require the Bill of Rights be added to elevate personal freedoms over the welfare of a new country.  

Who is to blame for American reluctance to mature and move on?  The answers are many.  

First there are those who expect government to solve their problems.  They are members of every political party, race and religion. They can be found in every income bracket and age range. Some vote but some do not. Some serve their country in the military while others fight for social justice. With a mindset that claims historical events impact opportunity, people cry "foul" when they are unable to meet their goals simply and quickly. They have not yet reached a level of maturity that government's provisions for opportunity are not equivalent to insuring success.  At one time or another, all Americans have found themselves in this place if they are honest with themselves.

Leaders that focus on the Bill of Rights and not the original Constitution make up the next group.  From the President down to the most respected citizen in an unincorporated town of less than 100 people, their tendency is to take the path of least resistance. Give those who protest  what they want rather than stand up to do what is best for all.  Like a parent that is tired of dealing with a fussy child, they reward immaturity by giving in to the temper tantrums of small segments of the country. Such leadership wins votes but causes discord because the majority is left to overcome the obstacles which now make the job harder. As happens with the small child, the tantrums only get bigger and more difficult to control with the child learning a very hard lesson as it ages.

Finally, it is the rich and famous who feel it is their place to enlighten the country by explaining what should benefit the whole. Former presidents and first ladies, talk-show hosts and entertainers, and even royalty from another country feel it is within their right to tell working America what is important. They are even paid millions of dollars by advertisers or campaign donors to objectify causes and people in need.  When was the last time these people purchased clothes from a thrift store because it was a way to stay within a budget, rather than accept government assistance?  In the world of celebrity causes, there is little respect for those who live responsible, socially aware and respectful lives. Good people are pushed aside to make room for those who pick at the nation's scabs so that their wound is validated rather than cured. 

There is no room in the America of the future for pot-stirrers and co-dependents who weaken society instead of strengthening it. It is time to agree to disagree and respect the opinions and differences of others rather than profiting from them.

On this Memorial Day, every American has the ability to look at a hurtful past and deal with it on an individual level. Protestors, elected officials and those who create pod-casts as if they were sermons delivered from a pulpit cannot stop an individual from coming to terms with history.  The country that was founded on individual thought and choice is going to need to be the example for those who feel they hold influence over those who live here.  When individuals decide to come together there will be no stopping this country from becoming something that will benefit us all. 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Please Sir, Forgive the Birds!" - A Look at American Values

 With the long lock down of Covid-19 behind us for now, it was a welcome addition to a retired woman's routine to go to the local greenhouse to get seed for the garden and plants for the front porch. The trip was long overdue but the cool Spring weather had delayed it by a week or so. I had no idea that this trip would be such an eye-opening experience.

As patrons milled around the stands of herb, vegetable and flowering varieties, two men jabbered like old hens without any concern for who overheard them. There were comments about not being able to find the "right" variety and objections about how cool the weather had been. Jabs about the government and gas prices ramped up the rhetoric.  One half of the duo seemed uncomfortable with the conversation's direction and asked questions in what seemed to be an attempt to steer the dialogue into safer territory.  The louder, more animated man would have none of it.  

By now it was just my husband and I and the two men weaving through the racks. That was when I realized that America's brush with death had not been quite as earthshaking as it perhaps had needed to be. America's values were still a bit off. 

"If that was my car, I wouldn't be able to drive it until I had washed it!" came a clearly upset male voice from behind the rack of plants. "Why don't people take care of their cars? That's just a terrible way to treat a car."

Too busy to really pay much attention to the object of  the man's disgust, it was not until I returned to our car and my husband directed my attention to the bird poop, covered front hood that I made the connection. 

The target of the man's disdain had been an otherwise well-maintained, practical, twelve year old SUV that had been a recent purchase as a "retirement" upgrade.  The tires were good. The paint was in warm brown that hid most dirt. The windshield was clear and the tags up-to-date.  A half dozen large white blobs that washed off in the next rain shower, had caused someone to judge me harshly.  Nothing more. 

On our way home, my husband and I lightened the mood by creating sharp comebacks that could have been lobbed at the critic. 

"Please Sir, forgive the birds. I'll have a talk with them when I get home!" was my husband's favorite. 

As someone who uses a cane for both mobility and sight issues, my comments were a little less jovial. 

"Oh, I apologize. I will be sure to park it away from the store so customers like yourself will not have to see it. It won't take me that much longer to walk to the store."


"I just can't wash the car like I use to. My doctor is afraid I will fall. I guess I will just need to stay home until I can get it washed."

Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident. Nearly every recent venture into a public place has included some type of interaction that made me wonder if returning to society was worth it.  

Recently, a fast-food outdoor dining experience had a custodian start up conversations about politics and religion based on one simple question, "Where are your from?"  Then there have been the awkward phone calls from dental and medical offices trying to get us "back on the schedule" even during the peak of Covid-19 deaths. Were they concerned for my health or their practice? Strangest of all is the assumptions people make based on appearance or a single comment.  America is still a country of strong opinions and little room for compromise. My way or the highway seems to remain the unwritten motto of American culture.

Do any of us REALLY want to go back to NORMAL?  I will readily admit that I have a strong value system and am not afraid to express my opinion. It would be difficult to be a writer without clear insights, no one has to read what I write.  But, after years of experiencing a sense of loathing from people for minor infractions such as my voting preference or seeing a different path than the same one traveled for generations, it's time to say enough is enough. The idea that everyone except us live without some level of disrespect and prejudice is a fallacy promoted by those who benefit by dividing communities. 

Diversity does not mean being friends with everyone or giving up personal values to adopt others.  It means common civility and respect, while adopting a sense of decorum that does not put total strangers on the defensive with every spoken word.  

With mask mandates and social distancing guidelines being dropped across the country, it will be interesting to see if Americans value their neighbors more now then they did eighteen months ago.  Unfortunately, ss long as bird poop on a car is considered a character flaw capable of strong emotional disgust, this country will never be what it claims to be. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

If Humans Were Ships: A Lesson in Positive Thinking

****Yet another post that has been waiting its turn in my draft folder.  
For several years--to be honest since the late 1960s--the US has had this mindset that if you think something will turn out in a positive way, then it will do so. Some may pray for it. Others wish on a star or do good work so karma smiles on them. Even others write in journals about all the things they want to accomplish. But, is it as simple as thinking positively? Can mankind simply float above the bad and not let it inside? More importantly, should mankind ignore and resist the bad in this world but feel comfortable allowing it to  support society as they #StayUp?
My first experience with the topic of Positive Thinking came in my teen years through a Presbyterian minister by the name of Norman Vincent Peale.  His message, written in his book: The Power of Positive Thinking, was so uplifting that, from the very conservative viewpoint of the Presbyterian Church, he was considered a "cult".  And yet, what I remember was a message of  of self-improvement and action, not blind optimism, marketed guilt or self-recrimination.
The image posted above came from Facebook and is NOT a Peale quote. It was shared by one of the few people I have accepted as a Facebook "friend". I care a great deal about this person and consider her a true friend. But what alarmed me about this quote and her use of it was the air of isolation and separation that came with it. Too often, those who regularly share such quotes miss how off-putting they can be to others who are looking for a real human connection.  Could it be that Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have replaced quality human interactions and created a population that would rather rise above injustice instead of developing relationships that remove it from the world?  
Looking at what would happen if humans were ships might be eye-opening.
Like people, each ship is unique - canoes look nothing like clippers and aircraft carriers greatly overshadow the lowly rowboat.  In the same way, each vessel has a different purpose.  The canoe is not effective on larger bodies of water and the aircraft carrier would serve little practical purpose if taken for a lazy afternoon of fishing. Maybe a bit more tongue-in-cheek of a description than called for but, people who toss out "positivity" may not always look past the emotional impact of their statements to see the flaws in them. Like boats, people come in all shapes and sizes. They also have different needs in order to be functional. 
Water is not the only thing that allows a boat to float. Before a boat can float, it has to be built. In this regard, shipbuilding and becoming an adult have many similarities.  
For thousands of years, shipbuilding with wood was an art that included attention to detail, a wise choice of materials and life-long maintenance. Positive outcomes came from hard work and concentration not positive thinking alone.  Like parents, teachers, coaches and the media who support children with little more than dreams and good feelings, boats that are built with poor materials and a lack of attention fail to perform well.  Positive thinking is not enough to keep a poorly constructed boat from taking on water. But, social media and popular culture continue to put undo pressure on the young by giving them platitudes rather than skills and strong relationships.  As any shipbuilder knows, a good design requires a vessel to have the strength to handle the pressure put upon it.  It also requires an observant captain and a supportive crew to steer it through a storm.  Does modern culture provide such support for individuals or does society opt to #stayup from what is happening while tossing out emojis, tap-n-go comments and virtual hugs as if they were life preservers?
Today, public impression dictates that news outlets, politicians and celebrities publish socially conscientious podcasts and charitable messages for those in need. In this way, those who make the news appear in-tune with those who financial support them without need for action or commitment. More often than not, their messages promote one race over another, one career as being more valuable then another, children as heroes one minute and victims the next, and mental health as something tragic but left to medication and therapy. Who really benefits from these messages?  Such a question is appropriate particularly when these news makers alienate so many in the process.

ironically, this post will end with three quotes from Normal Vincent Peale. Like so much of what is available on the Internet, many of his quotes have been abridged or handpicked to fit public discourse.  However, if one looks long enough, or has a fifty-year of hard copy of his work, it is possible to see that Peale was not into self-recrimination but advocated a pro-active lifestyle that was not based on rhetoric, protest or legislation. 


The first quote was picked to remind us that government cannot legislate positive race relations. The second is a reminder that social awareness initiatives may be sending a message of hopelessness and the last is a reminder that only in Disneyland does "Wishing on a Star" have a happy ending.  

“Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
– Norman Vincent Peale


Friday, April 30, 2021

It's Time to Use the "R" Word.

After being a news junky for the better part of the pandemic, I am finding my news feed a bit disturbing these days. After all, the pandemic is reportedly waning, right? This post has been languishing in my draft folder for more than two years. It has been one of those topics that a writer knows has value but isn't sure about the timing.  Today, it was time for it to be finished.

What do you think the "R" word is? Did you expect to see some off-the-wall rant that spewed venom against one ethnic group over another?  Did you click on the link to support or defend against what this writer had to say?  If any of these things happened then the timing of this piece is right on target. 

Two and a half years ago, the country was reflecting on the deaths of Aretha Franklin and John McCain.  An off-year election was coming in November and the rhetoric was as emotionally charged as it ever was.  

For a brief few weeks, with news agencies and events honoring these two American icons, the definition of "respect" was front and center in the minds of more than a few Americans. That is the "R" word on which this post is written.  If you are looking for a explanation as to how RACISM relates to that topic, please keep reading.

Franklin sang of R-E-S-P-E-C-T during a time when many populations felt used. At the other end of the spectrum, McCain lived a life based on his own strong sense of respect for others and the office to which he had been elected and reelected.  Franklin rallied the underprivileged. McCain called out the powerful to be responsible for all who lived in this country. Both of these people stood for the same quality by being a voice of reason. To the contrary, today's citizenry seems to have little understanding of what respect is and how it is attained.

With the Internet more inclined toward marketing ideas and products for gain than being a source of accurate and reliable information, it is understandable that there is confusion about what Civil Rights legislation is really all about.

In those days, there was a great deal of concern about how such legislation would be interpreted. Critics read that hesitancy as a desire to keep certain ethnic groups from achieving equalility. Instead of looking forward fifty or a hundred years, those in favor of the law never considered it would bring about an even wider gap in equality. 

To help understand the difference between what Civil Rights legislation says and what it does, it helps to look at how alcohol use is legislated.  

The assumption is that people are fined for "drinking" alcohol or in the cause of civil rights for being a racist.  Neither is the case.  Citizens can be fined for having an open beer bottle in a moving car or having a blood alcohol level over a set limit. They can be charged for driving erratically or causing a disturbance that impacts others. They cannot be charged with drinking alcohol, just like citizens cannot be charged with being a racist. Using the term has no legal effect.

In 1968, lawmakers knew that there was no way to legislate RESPECT but there was every way to legislate RACISM -- Yes, I said that right.  There are multiple ways to bring about RACISM and inequality through the use of legislation.  More institutionalized than actual racism, the mindset of today's younger, educated and socially conscious lawmakers have been raised on legislated custom designed racism to the point they cannot even see how it is returning this country to an ugly and disturbing time. 

Civil rights legislation, in very simple terms, only says that discrimination is illegal. It does not mandate equality, fair treatment and most of all, respect. Even the Constitution does not guarantee equality for individuals, just a place that is just, tranquil, safe and free.  Lawmakers who profess that the legislation is capable of changing human nature are guilty of gas lighting voters.

In the same way that state and local governments quickly passed statutes following the Emancipation Proclamation, special interest groups across the country used similar tactics after the passage of civil rights laws. This time it was not to restrict rights but to enhance the rights of some over others.  If the law allowed special treatment, then it was not discrimination. Soon there would be a flood of legislation giving preferential treatment to all manner of conditions.  From restoring voting rights to criminals and accommodating select physical and mental differences to sensitivity training and all kinds of financial assistance, a whole generation of people cannot understand why equal under the law does not translate into respect and acceptance by those who do not qualify for aid.

By putting every cause, every need, and every injustice in the hands of government, our country was robbed of the chance to develop long lasting, respectful relationships that crossed economic and ethnic lines.  Every legal maneuver was one more reason to avoid those who got help.  Community kindness and concern now had rules and citizens could be held accountable in the court of public opinion if they were not generous or tolerant enough. The best alternative was separation.  LIke the mother who calls out every child for bullying their child, government has unwittingly cleared the playground of those who would otherwise have welcomed the interaction.

Racism is not systemic to the average America.  It is systemic in the colleges, universities, courts and governments that sanction and promote these policies which do not align with the basic tenets of the Constitution. Again, the Constitution does not guarantee opportunity or prosperity, only that government will provide a place in which it is possible.

The Federal government of the United States has a long history of taking what belongs to one group and giving it to another.  At the time of the Civil War, a largely illiterate population made it easy to hoodwink freed slaves and ravaged Southerners.  Now the Internet and social media make the process of controlling the message a touch away. Reconstruction was an "R" word that was touted as time that would be good for the country. In reality it was anything but good.  

Racism is the "R" word that is now being used to distract voters from looking a bit too close and asking a few too many questions.  Only when Respect is the "R" word that is used most often will there be a chance for the United States to finally be the country it should have been long before now.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Pharmacy Deserts: Inequality or Lifestyle Choice

 Several years ago, I was privileged to attend the 65th National FCCLA Convention (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America). As a state advisor that year, my state officer and I enjoyed a week of hard work and fun times in downtown Chicago. For many of the 5,000 or so participants, it was an exciting to see a part of the US that differed tremendously from their own home towns. Quite similar to the Country Mouse/ City Mouse fable, it was a learning experience even for those with some travel under their belts. 

All of us have adopted different habits and hobbies during the pandemic and one of mine is reading headlines.  Notice I said 'headlines' and not 'news'.  There is something telling about the author in the headline.  Is it to shock the reader into opening the link or is it just general information that might be reported by a dozen different news outlets? The headlines that cause me the most concern are the ones that claim inequality without any understanding the community they are describing. 

Certainly, our time in Chicago that year, and the years we have gone to Washington, San Diego, Orlando and Nashville have been eye opening for these young people.  But, what about all those city dwellers who have only experienced country life from the balcony of a resort hotel or ski lodge.  Just like the City Mouse and Country Mouse, journalists and bloggers who sit in their 12th story apartments have little direct knowledge of what the situation really is. 

Today, the headline that caught my eye was proclaiming great concern over "pharmacy deserts".  It made so little sense to me, I had to wonder if it was a typo.  But, alas, the term was correct at least as far as it goes.  

'Desert' has become the new descriptor for anything that is more than a few blocks away or not available on demand. When you live in a place where distance is not measured in blocks, you have a different meaning for the word - convenience.  The time has come for writers and those in communication fields to evaluate news on more than just convenience and immediacy. 

During that week in Chicago, it was a thrill to be able to have four restaurants, a shoe store, grocery store and deli and an emergency clinic all within a short jaunt.  But the vast majority of the US population does not live in such a world and to claim we are disadvantaged, disparaged or treated unequally is not a failure of the system but a failure of some who think everyone must live the same.

The reality is that, most of us choose to live in a situation where we have to wait for things. We learned long ago that if we needed and wanted it immediately, there were ways to get it and if we couldn't get it, it was probably because it wasn't available.

What those who judge do not understand, is that rural communities might not be the first on the list, but they will make quicker use of the vaccine when it arrives and have fewer snafus along the way. The state of West Virginia has already proven that with one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country. 

It has been a testament to the American spirit that while our national government continues to be divided to the extreme, people have creatively addressed the challenges of this pandemic to make it work in spite of leadership.  While some worried about naming a community that didn't have a pharmacy, nurses and doctors figured out how to transport vaccines and get them to patients in a timely fashion. All without Facebook posts and 6 o'clock news coverage. 

The people who do will make this work even if the people who lead are in the way. 


Friday, February 5, 2021

The Computer and Customer Service


For the first time in over a month, I am not worried about running out of heat.

Oh, I haven't gotten a new furnace or changed suppliers or even gotten an emergency delivery, although we did call a few days ago . I have just learned how the computer thinks.

The revelation didn't come from the company or a short blurb on the news, it came from listening to a disgruntled customer with another company in another part of the state. The computer said she needn't worry either. In her case, a delivery before being nearly empty was considered bad business.

So, I got out my manual, did some quick math and found out the computer was right, I had nothing to worry about. Well, at least until the point when the computer was wrong. Do you suppose the computer knows the dog door sticks when it is windy? Surely it understands the

upstairs storm window is broken this year and then there is the weather to consider. Hmm, maybe I will worry after all.

The shift to computer directed efficiency is not a bad one. The disconnect is when staff cannot step into a customer's shoes and explain how it works. Unfortunately, such breakdowns in customer service are commonplace in many computer dependent businesses.

My love affair with computers started in the late 1970s and I have owned one for all of those 40+ years. Computers are not the issue here. Somewhere along the line, we started to believe the myth. Computers cannot think, resolve customer complaints or put business policy into simple language. Moreover, blaming human inefficiency on a computer is like blaming the hammer for hitting your thumb.

It's time to remember that a computer is merely a tool. It cannot correct our mistakes or create customer loyalty – only knowledgeable human communication can do that. Perhaps businesses need to sacrifice efficiency and think like a customer instead of the other way around. Expecting customers to do the sacrificing has never seemed like a good business plan.

Friday, January 1, 2021

COVID Relief: An Average Americans Take

A week or so ago, Congress passed an annual funding bill to which approximately $900 billion in COVID relief was attached.  President Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but not before demanding a larger $2000 stimulus payment. On December 31, many Americans found a $600 payment added to their bank accounts whether they needed the money or not.
What was driving this 11th hour spending spree during the waning days of a presidential administration?

With the pandemic came a fear that few of us had seen, not just for our health but for our standard of living. The Great Recession has not been in the rear view mirror long enough to forget how tax cuts and hastily crafted funding for large corporations left thousands unemployed and failed to save countless families from losing their home.  But here we were, government was not just repeating this move once but twice and the new administration was promising a third round of payments. 

There is no doubt in my mind that countless citizens on both sides of the aisle have contacted their representatives requesting caution.  Certainly, this is not a good time for people in need, but there is never a good time for people in need. Why is this time creating such an emotional response from our elected officials?

For more than forty years, US leaders have bounce back and forth between economic growth and healthcare as political priorities. Now, they have come together to create a monster of rapid spending that has cost the country billions of dollars in fraud. 

Respectfully, who do they think they are kidding? Bipartisan or not, there are surely better ways of handling this money and whatever funds will follow in the future.

The American people deserve better. I am just one of millions of Americans who have survived decades of economic fluctuations and personal trials. We have owned businesses and farms. We have lost our savings, struck it rich but mostly just gotten by. We have been professionals, laborers and yes, sometimes been unemployed and destitute. Mother Nature has seen us burned out, flooded, damaged by wind and baked by drought. We have educated ourselves and our children while becoming homeowners, saving for retirement, and paying more for health insurance than we did for food. We are Republicans, Democrats and the Undecided.  We are young and old and as diverse a group as one can be in this country. We have lived in the real world and, for the most part, solved our problems without government help.

All of this makes us uniquely qualified to advise government on what it needs to do. Unfortunately our opinion doesn't matter. 

Our portrayal as a deeply divided country is perpetuated by marketing specialists whose data comes from Twitter feeds and polls that pop up during Solitaire games.  Ironically, this data supports a government which then uses it to steer America into debt and poverty.  

It is not COVID-19 that is our greatest danger. America will survive. There will be a cost and like every time before, it will be citizens that pay that price, not our leaders. 

As a country, we are not waiting for COVID to end or a vaccine to save us. We support our local restaurants and service providers. We buy tickets to virtual concerts and ‘run' in virtual fundraisers.  We give to churches and charities and, unlike government, we know which ones work and which ones don’t.  

We have walked this road before and will walk it again. We are the experts here, not the ones who try to predict the future as something dark and unforgiving.  We support our community silently and behind the scenes without Facebook or Twitter recognition. There is a job to be done and we are doing it.

COVID gave this country the opportunity to change a 40-year path that resembles a Hunger Games spinoff. Government takes from the easiest targets, gives it to those who make promises of better times, and then makes us fight each other to get it back - not something to be proud of. Is it?

The sad part is that our leaders  have worked so hard to maintain a system which has not worked for the average American for a long, long time.   Additionally, each time, it puts this country closer and closer to the brink of being financial unable to serve anyone.

In the end, it will not really matter. Americans will feed their families, go to work, raise their children and bury their dead whether our country is on solid ground or not.  Maybe that is what makes America truly great.