This latest exercise in creating Hysteria around the “Sequester” otherwise known as “decreasing the growth of spending” is fascinating.
Sitting on an airplane at 30,000 feet I had the luxury of listening without interruption to two individuals and a soldier talk about sequester behind me. I gather one of the women was the mother of the soldier and the other was a contractor out of San Diego who handles military contracts as a profession.
Let me explain… it is typically not my desire to spy on those who don’t deserve it, but I left my copy of Wealth of Nations with some friends when we parted ways, and I was bored. Idle hands and all…
So there I was listening to why the sequester was going to end the world. Or at least destroy the hopes and dreams of our soldiers. Seriously.
The young man sitting between the two women, after talking about some gun, and explosive, related issues that would have had him removed from the plane if it were still parked at the jet-way (I thought this was funny. I have no problem with anything he said, I only cringed slightly at what reaction he would have received had they been able to do anything to him. Too late at that point though.) went on to say how pay was being cut for the National Guard because deployment was being decreased “due to the sequester”. This is when I really took notice.
There was a time not so long ago that the deployment of the National Guard into an active combat zone was being decried as some sort of heresy. In fact, many of us had to remind those around us… and especially those on the evening news… that National Guard troops were used in combat situations as a matter of course, Vietnam being a relatively recent example. Then I realized that we are reacting to a “new norm”. A normal that says National Guard troops are active soldiers and any reduction in their deployment is a “cut” in pay, not returning to the status they are supposed to experience. Bizarre. I will offer up the detail that these two women were old enough to know this, and both should have enough experience with the military to understand this as well.
The young soldier then went on to say that “the sequester” would probably ruin his chances to get promoted and he would have to go into civilian life… even then he thought the sequester was a bad idea because he was looking forward to a job he had lined up, should he have to get out, as a contractor supplying infrastructure consulting to the Afghanistan population.
The mother of this soldier felt that sequester was a bad idea because we should “never cut defense”… “ever”. “Ever.”
The contractor said she thought we simply don’t pay our soldiers enough and all of that money should never be removed from the budget because it’s reducing the pay of our service people. (While it is profound how quickly in relative terms “entitlement” becomes the norm… even among those we respect, that’s not my point in this post. So I’m bypassing it for now.)
This behind my back conversation went on for about 30 minutes.
Never once was there a discussion about the “cuts” simply being a reduction in spending… on an already bloated area of government. Bloated exactly because of the above attitudes leaving it in a place of leisure where it never must do more with less.
Never once was there Reason inserted into the exchange of the proper function of National Guard troops and the difference between them versus active duty personnel.
Never once was the observation made that the money being “cut” had nothing to do with the rate of pay our soldiers receive.
Folks, if you don’t think that the Mass Media has an effect on the opinions of those sitting on their couches as well as those young people serving our country you are deluding yourself. As we all know, Denial is not a river in Egypt, Denial is what prevents us from getting out there and engaging these people in cogent conversation.
(As a disclaimer… I did not take my own advice here as I was directly in front of these three. Had I been in a position to gently intrude I would have, in fact, I often do.)
All of this is important because any one of these three would have the “credentials” to be held up as authoritative by ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, etc. One was a soldier… one was the mother of a soldier… and one was a military contractor. Holy Crap!
Their conversation ended as we got off the plane with the young soldier stating “I wish our politicians would just all get along and get things done.” To the nodding agreement of the other two. I just felt sad inside. Very sad. I desperately want to explain why that is exactly what they should not do… to explain Bipartisanshitt to them all, but it was time to get off the plane. Too bad.
It is these types of “points of view” which have elected people like McCain et al, and have brought us to the brink of catastrophe we now find our selves in. They are what passes for “well-educated” on The View.
It’s time to rally… and reach out. Now! before the next set of elections.
It’s exactly the opportunity that “the sequester” offers which must be used to explain where we are and what is happening to us. And most importantly the “how and why” it has happened.
I might actually have to set my beer down.