The Value of Vets and Public Service

In my new book, The Evolution of a Revolution, I discuss the dysfunctional state of affairs that has slowly strangled our democracy like a snake paralyzing its prey. It has been a steady and debilitating asphyxiation that has been aided by fear, anger, frustration, uncertainty, loss of confidence, and a seemingly endless parade of clueless leaders dedicated to the proposition that public manipulation and exploitation for personal gain is a natural evolutionary byproduct of a free society. The cynicism that has fueled this development is palpable and does not reflect well upon the spirit that drove the construction of the representative democratic system.

Cynicism today is celebrated as a creative force that can be employed effectively to control, confuse and cajole the masses into actually supporting actions that are in direct contravention of their own best interests. Hence, allegiance to the new fiscal and social conservatism, an amalgam of ultra-right-wing theoretical distortions lacking any practical relevance to the real world, has precipitated the emasculation of the middle class while its refugees clamor for more severe application of the same programs and policies that are directly responsible for their dislocation.

The pervasive institutionalization of cynicism in contemporary America can be seen on any number of fronts: debate over raising the minimum wage; the historic level of income inequality; pernicious racism reflected in paralysis over immigration reform, mass incarceration, and voter suppression efforts; intergenerational slavery as future generations will be forced to live within the constraints and confines of a climactic disaster purposely ignored by the leaderless fools who currently control the reins of power; and a self-imposed political polarization that treats compromise and consensus as heresy.

The rank hypocrisy that is the inevitable byproduct of our dysfunctional miasma manifests itself in ways both large and small and is certainly not the province of any one political party or faction. The ubiquity of hypocrisy extant in our society today lends credence to the overwhelming sense of hopelessness that has so deflated our national will. Words and speech are worthless commodities to a populace screaming for fairness, justice, and the opportunity for advancement, both for themselves but particularly for their children. Actions not only speak louder than words but are invaluable and priceless commodities that are in such urgent demand today that only the most callous and cynical among us cannot hear the painful and impassioned pleas of those crying out for their execution.

Yet we collectively sit by and watch and wait as the numbing drips of inaction course through our veins and render us either resigned or defeated. In my book I offer six conceptual remedies for a reawakening that can shake us from our collective slumber. I will dwell upon the first here which is to rededicate ourselves to the notion that public service is of immeasurable value. Unless and until we instill in our elected leaders and our populace the importance of raising the value of this important goal into the sinew of our governmental and political systems we will be left grappling with half-truths and inconsequential actions or non-actions. If we do not ask the right questions we will never get the right answers. It seems quaint or maybe even simplistic, but it is the essence of the dilemma we face.

And while this concept is intended to be broad in scope, there is no more vivid example of its application than the ongoing issue facing our military veterans. The inexplicably devious ways in which we first rely upon men and women to risk the ultimate sacrifice for those of us left behind and then neglect the needs which are a direct consequence those sacrifices inflict upon them when they return home is a national disgrace and an affront to humanity. That any public servant would lack the decency to ensure that they do all in their power to correct these injustices is a reflection of the degree to which we have strayed from conviction or duty. Public servants are dedicated to the proposition that they are to serve the public, whether it is a veteran, a malnourished child, the homeless, the unemployed, the poor, or any other person who might just find themselves down on their luck. The current perversion of our duty as a compassionate society is something that must be addressed and fixed immediately.

lance-simmens-200In my book I also talk about the need to recapture the spirit of the idea that government can work. For over three decades now we have been saddled with the pitiful musings of a larger than life caricature of a President representing a society that never existed intoning that government was the problem and not the solution, a cruel and cynical repudiation of the concepts embodied in the writings of the Founding Fathers somehow clothed in patriotic garb.

Our duty to mankind is to acknowledge, confront, and ultimately fix problems that affect us all, both in the present and in the future. Lance Simmens: Unless we find our soul in the conviction that our institutions of government and governance play a major role in this quest we will find ourselves adrift in a society where increasingly it will be every person fending for themselves.
That is the ultimate betrayal of our humanity.

Lance Simmens
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