Rothschild: “People want leadership, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.”our society is a mess.
President Shepherd: “Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.”
recognizing this fact is easy. changing it is hard. complaining is not enough. effecting change takes people with vision, intelligence, courage.
more importantly, it takes the ability to deliver truth to a public conditioned not to hear it. today’s u.s. public refuses to hear the truth. they want government without taxes. they want war without death. they want an end to poverty and disease and suffering, but without being bothered with the messy details.
and they want politicians who will promise these things regardless of the fact that they can’t be delivered. since the reagan era we've steered hard toward social civil war—economically, philosophically and spiritually. where once we aspired to achievement, now we aspire to accumulation. where once we demonstrated for civil rights, now we reallocate to the very wealthy.
the wealthiest in our society are particularly problematic. of the well-to-do people i know, most would pay zero taxes for any purpose whatsoever, if they could arrange it. they are completely focused on sheltering every last dollar for themsleves; they have no interest in, say, housing the homeless or pre-emptively shoring up the levees in new orleans.
they want the benefits of living in a country that makes their success possible, but none of the responsibility for maintaining it. this attitude of entitlement starts at the top: the president of these “united” states says every day, in effect, that no one is responsible for sustaining this country.
President Bush didn't say the other night how he would pay for his promise to rebuild the Gulf Coast states. Allow us to explain: Every penny of aid approved by Congress so far and all subsequent aid - perhaps as much as $200 billion - will be borrowed, with most of it likely to come from Asian central banks and other foreign investors. That means additional interest of about $10 billion a year indefinitely. The bill will hit current and future taxpayers in the form of higher taxes or cuts in government programs, or both.we have gaping holes in the infrastructure of our society. government has the duty and the responsibility to fix those holes for the greater good. bush and his ilk, however, don’t share this view of government’s role. in fact, they don’t believe in government at all. government, they insist, is corrupt and incompetent. we must deprive it of the money needed to run it. no wonder, then, that the government we get is corrupt, incompetent and bankrupt.
it’s odd that people so invested in acquiring and holding power are so intent on destroying the legitimate expression of that power. but therein lies the fundamental illogic of this administration. they cut taxes, but spend more prolifically than any administration in history. they want less government, but have overseen an unprecedented expansion of bureaucracy. they speak of spreading american-style democracy while undermining democracy at home.
meanwhile the voters charged with keeping the government in check just yawn and go back to watching survivor and desperate housewives.
our society is in trouble. and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that we can save ourselves from it.