Ah, Humanity!

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, wrote that there were elements in human beings that require “a certain degree of circumspection and distrust.” Those words were penned as he advocated for the ratification of the Constitution. Mr. Madison clearly was onto something back then in the late 18th century. I mean, just look around. As in, the news of the day. That is, today’s news. The big story concerns the U.S. Congress, the legislative body of our government, which is now haggling over how much financial aid should be given to assist the millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of Americans who desperately need help as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc over their lives. **************************************** After the pandemic forced much of the country to close shop, so to speak, throwing tens of millions out of work, while being told to stay home, keep that 6 foot social distance and wash hands effectively, congress did pass a relief bill that, among other features aimed at being a pandemic palliative, sent a Treasury check for $1200 to those making less than 75K a year. Now, close to 10 months later, the pandemic is worse than ever, and that initial relief package has been long ago used up. Congress has been “negotiating” for months on end in an effort to legislate another relief bill. Earlier in the week, our congress critters finally came up with a figure of $600 to be sent out. Hmm. The pandemic is worse now than before, but instead of increasing the aid money, congress cuts it in half. Thus, the hashtag #letthemeatcake was trending on social media. ************************************ Ha! Now, it may as well be #letthemeatshit. Why? Because our petulant president demanded the amount be increased to $2000 for those eligible for the second aid bill. Not that he gives rat’s ass about anyone but himself. He is displeased with Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate majority “leader.” Why? Because Mitch finally admitted that one Joe Biden won the 2020 election. In the alternate universe of our lame-duck president, he was cheated out of a second term. Demanding that $2000 figure least he vetoes the $600 offer puts immediate pressure on McConnell, who Scrooge-like fought for that $600 figure as opposed to even the original $1200. Why? Because, James Madison was so absolutely right to invoke that opinion about “circumspection and distrust” regarding his fellow humans. ************************************* President Petulant, McConnell, and the vast majority of the elected members of congress are worthy of every once of scorn and rebuke that #letthemeatcake connotes. Isn’t the U.S. supposedly the wealthiest country in the known universe? If so, then we have a government full of Ebenezer Scrooges. After Mr. Petulant tossed that wrench into an already malfunctioning congress, McConnell and the Republican majority refused to go along with that increase. Thus, with that circumspection and distrust in mind, 2020’s Christmas gift from our government is a lump of coal (of course, coal, because according to Herr Petulant, climate change is a hoax). ************************************** We’ll have to wait until Monday when those elected officials (hey, ever hear that bit about our government working for us? You know, we’re their boss. We gave them their jobs. Right?) return from the Christmas holiday weekend to find out what comes next. My guess is it won’t be what is needed. *************************************** I’ll say it again: we get the government we deserve. Do we thus deserve this abomination of a government? Let me consult with the ghosts of ancient Greek philosophers on that one. ******************************************* In the macro-analysis of our human propensity for aggression and exploitation in the service of survival and domination, many historical tomes are yet to be written as testament to our detestable existence. Somewhere, one is being written feverishly right now. Hey, don’t look at me… ****************************************** In the micro-analysis, however, we offer quotidian antidotes to our worst characteristics. Such as, in my community’s local newspaper, dated December 6, is the front page story of how we humans sometimes just want to be kind and considerate and go to any length to demonstrate such admirable qualities. The story I refer to is of the proverbial cat caught waaay up in a tree. Yes, a cat decided to climb up and than realize it had no plan on how to get down. The locals asked the fire department if they could help. No, they couldn’t. Too much liability. The police said the same. Cold municipal reality. The County Forest Preserve (the cat was up a County tree you see…) also said no can do. ****************************************** The paper’s account of this feline ordeal included a hawk circling above the tree, apparently spotting dinner below. Then a man with a drone came by to get near the cat and nudge it back down below, where a number of locals had tarps to catch the cat if it fell. Nothing was working. Kitty. Hawk! A nail biter. Then, as frustration mounted along came Fernandez Tree Service. Word got out to this small company, and while refusing to charge a fee, the crew got the cat down with the kind of equipment and knowhow that was given impromptu attempts by strangers who decided that cat was going to be saved one way or another. ******************************************* There! Take that James Madison. If only those kind of people ran our government, eh?

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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