Enjoy The Summer, But The Fall Is Coming

Here we are in those “lazy hazy days of summer”.  It’s a time when our minds take a break from all of those things vying for our attention, and turn to fun, family and vacations.  We have spent the year concerned with the economy, Obamacare, immigration, gun control, gay marriage, abortion rights, voting rights, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan,  the IRS non-scandal, the Benghazi non-scandal and the AP non-scandal, as well as the Snowden NSA leaks and the Zimmerman trial to name just a few of the issues.  We are entitled to take a breather and share some quality time with our family.  That is, as long as we come back after a brief interlude to the reality that these issues are not going away, and are sure to become more intense as we enter the 2014 election season.

In one of Chis Mathews’ spots on MSNBC he notes that we have been engaged in an endless civil war in this country.  On one side there are those who fight to expand access and the rights of all citizens, while the other side fights to restrict access and those rights. The battles going on in the states at this time are a clear indication that Mathews is correct.  Within state legislatures there are efforts to abridge abortion rights, reduce access to healthcare, disallow gay marriage, abridge voting rights, abridge access to quality education and ignore the reality of the causes of gun violence.  In other words, the states are setting aside both the Constitution and recent Supreme Court rulings,  despite their efforts to cling to the 2nd Amendment right to “bear arms.”  They are using the Constitution as a convenient tool to lean on when it works for them, while ignoring it when it doesn’t.  When we come back from our summer breather, beware of this hypocrisy.

As the 19 firefighters killed in the Arizona wild fire traveled in a procession through the state, thousands gathered to pay their respects.  Since 9/11 there has been a constant outpouring of respect and pride in our firemen, policemen and military.  They are acknowledged and applauded at sporting events, on TV and in the news.  Politicians have lead this wave of adoration and respect in their platitude-filled speeches and their expressions of appreciation.  Yet, when the parades and speeches are over, the first budget lines to be attacked at both the state and local level are funds for fire and police protection.  On the national level military benefits and veterans benefits have been cut.  All of these cuts are being proposed by the very GOP leaders that lead the parade of appreciation.  If that is not hypocrisy what is?  Keep that in mind as you return from your summer of fun in the sun.

Global Life Expectancy / ALL
Global Life Expectancy / ALL (Photo credit: ixycreativity)

A study that just came out lists life expectancy by state. Would it surprise anyone that Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma have life expectancies five years lower than New York, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts?  The disparity in obesity levels, healthcare access, educational levels and poverty levels are shocking and in large part account for these lost years of life.  If a government’s primary responsibility is to provide for the health and welfare of its populace, they are failing miserably.  Yet it is these very state legislatures and senators and congressmen from these and the many other lower life expectancy states that yell the loudest when it comes to asserting the need for smaller, less intrusive government.  They are living and dying by their assertions.  As you return from the beach this fall, remember the misfortune of your fellow countrymen and women.

Make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy these long, warm and relaxing days.  Rest your mind, your spirit and your body.  Renew your vigor, your compassion and your energy.  We will all need them in the battles that are brewing as we approach 2014

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