Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sam's World

So I'm a daddy and stuff. Not much has changed for me. Sure, there's a lot more crying in the house. A lot less sleeping on demand. And a little more farting. But only a little, collectively speaking.
Mostly, I'm finding myself marveling at the act of creation. Here is this little guy who was not here before. Eight weeks ago, he was a lumpy knot of knees and elbows jutting out of my wife. Ten months before that, he did not exist. Not even as a clump of cells. What was he then? Perhaps nothing. Or maybe he was then what we will all become at the end.
But I'm not looking to wax on about existence. I've got more practical concerns. Making sure the kid eats and sleeps and shits and doesn't float around in his shit. He's got so much to learn. How to use his hands, for one. But then talking and walking and how to ride a bike and why listening to AM talk radio will rot his brain.
I've always wanted children. It seems an important part of living a worthwhile life. Nurturing another generation, re-living your failures, hoping to ease a path toward something better. But I can't help thinking about the world he will inherit. So much good. But so much not-so-good.

Without even wandering into the current spate of violent revolutions and genocides across the globe, I've compiled an incomplete list of a few of the things wrong with America today:
  • Income inequality
  • The complexity and basic unfairness of the tax code to meet needs
  • Rich people who bitch about taxes
  • Wall Street gamblers 
  • The primacy of short-term corporate shareholder value over long-term value creation and all other societal goals of business
  • Short-term thinking in government
  • The revolving employment door between regulators and the industries they regulate
  • Corruption and criminality in government and business
  • Debt: national and personal
  • Filibuster abuse/Congressional obstructionism/failure to even consider compromise in cynical quest for power at expense of the country's best interests
  • The Electoral College
  • Equal representation in the U.S. Senate
  • Voter suppression to advance political interests under smokescreen of battling non-existent in-person voter impersonation fraud
  • The NRA and specious arguments against reasonable gun control regulations
  • The Republican Party
  • The Democratic Party
  • But mostly the Republican Party
  • Obesity, heart disease, diabetes and their cultural and corporate influences
  • Campaign finance anarchy and opacity
  • Billionaires and corporations taking advantage of campaign finance anarchy and opacity in an attempt to swing elections almost unilaterally
  • Candidates unwilling to share standard information about themselves with the public before elections
  • The slow death of newspapers
  • Political hacks and demagogues disguised as journalists and pundits
  • The consumption of media as choices to suit pre-existing narratives and ideologies
  • The inability to agree on established, verifiable, indisputable facts
  • The rejection of science, often to advance cynical, selfish ends
  • The general ignorance, stupidity and laziness of the public
  • Intolerance of minorities, often excused through false victimhood of privileged classes
  • The absurd, ignorant belief that the only racism today is reverse racism
  • The Defense Of Marriage Act
  • Fear mongering
  • Race baiting
  • Inadequate investment in infrastructure and tomorrow's industries
  • Inadequate regulations and proper oversight of food, drugs, finance, over-fishing, pollution
  • Likely dangerous chemicals everywhere and in everything
  • Government inaction on global warming
  • Lack of universal health care
  • Exploding health care costs/ reliance on private insurance companies that consider paying for health care a liability
  • The War On Drugs
  • Drug abuse, including excessive reliance on prescription drugs
  • Excessive and often for-profit imprisonment
  • The death penalty
  • Religion in politics
  • Pedophilia and its protectors
  • Casino gambling and lotteries employed to balance state budgets
  • Excessive energy and resource use
  • Excessive defense spending
  • Unnecessary wars
  • Failure to hold American war criminals accountable for their crimes
  • Failure to hold bankers and traders accountable for their criminal responsibility in the financial meltdown
  • Blatant lies in political ads, speeches and interviews with no consequences
  • Over-structured childhoods
  • Suburban sprawl
  • Social isolation
  • Addiction to technology
  • Lack of mandatory vacation time, despite proven benefits for employees and employers
  • The emphasis and outcomes of primary and secondary education
  • The cost of primary, secondary and higher education
  • Union overreach
  • Union busting
  • Inadequate preparation to divert a possible extinction-level meteor or comet strike
  • Inadequate preparation for all other, more easily detectible and just as inevitable natural disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and pandemics
  • The Greater Israel lobby/ Inability to offer any criticism of current Israeli leadership's policy without being called an anti-Semite
  • Puppy mills, dog fighting, most non-meat animal abuse
  • Micro-managed, computer-aided partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts to cement victories
  • Oil and corn subsidies
  • Arbitrary limits on civil lawsuit awards to protect guilty corporations
  • Four or five Supreme Court justices
So there's that.

In any case, my little boy will have his work cut out for himself if he's going to navigate this new country we've created for him. There's plenty to embrace, of course. I hear the birds in Central Park are still quite nice to look at. Even though they are rapidly declining in numbers.

And maybe the Jets will be good this year...