Will the Sheep Ever Look Up..?

Across the past few months I’ve been quite intrigued, not to mention disturbed, by the ongoing miasma of miscommunications from our federal government; you know, the same one that is charged with protecting the country from all threats foreign and domestic.  Of course this administration has never been able to put forth a coherent, unified message unless it is lying but then this can be said of many of the recent administrations.  Still and all I believe the Obama administration has done the best job of torturing the truth in recent memory and there may well be a fairly straightforward reason for this observation.  Could it be this administration has sensed that the American public has finally been dumbed down to the point they are incapable of thinking for themselves when dealing with complex issues like foreign or fiscal policies?

I’m sure most of us have seen the videos of folks visiting college campuses, large cities or recreational areas and asking randomly selected people very simple and straightforward questions regarding the American government, American history and/or American leaders only to see truly epic idiocy when those questioned could even conjure up an answer.  Initially such videos were funny but very soon many people found them to be alarming; how could college students fail to know who fought in the Civil War or who lost World War II?  Given the crush of the 24 x 7 news cycle how could someone fail to identify Joe Biden as the VP or Bill Clinton as a former president?  The really sad versions of these programs then demonstrate that these same folks can name any current Hollywood member by their picture, recite the string of boyfriends and girlfriends for the same as well as their current and past acting efforts.  Somewhere something went horribly wrong with this country’s educational standards and we are now seeing the fruit of this sowing.

It is no secret the ‘higher education system’ is staffed largely by academics with strongly liberal views and these are the folks we pay exorbitant monies to educate our college enrolled children.  What has happened across the past 50 years that we now regularly churn out college graduates who are clueless regarding the basic workings of the government that controls the country of their births?  I’m sure there are a myriad of factors which play into this scenario but regardless of what the motivation the fault has to fall directly upon these institutions of ‘higher learning’ and, by default, their staffs.  Sure, it is still possible to get a quality college education but it seems as though this is now the exception rather than the rule.  Just what could be driving this inexorable flow to the mundane and ill-educated..?

Without question tenure is a major player; once attained it is virtually impossible to remove a tenured professor regardless of performance, histrionics or lack of commitment.  But I find it hard to believe a majority of the instructors in our collegiate system are sub-par in terms of teaching abilities.  So just what is happening – and has been happening for at least the past decade – that’s given us college graduates total devoid of a basic background in civics, economics and politics?  I feel that for whatever reason – and I suspect PC is at the root of this belief – maybe 40 years ago colleges began to move away from teaching critical thinking in favor of indoctrinating the students into the necessity of having a ‘world view’ and empathy towards all races and cultures.  After all, if one does think critically about ISIS any sane person will have an extremely difficult time dredging up much empathy for brutal beheadings and the raping of children all based upon the sick perversion of a theocracy.

But back to my original question:  could the current administration have decided the American public is so incapable of rational, critical thought that they can now be led about by their collective noses?  I think this is a definite possibility and I need only look at this week’s swirling direct disagreement by administration members regarding the ISIS threat to support my belief.  Earlier in the week we’ve heard Obama and Kerry (that’s the president of the US and the Secretary of State for you the clueless) both come out and tell us we are safer now than at any time in the past.  Yet following on the heels of these statements the former counterterrorism adviser at the Department of Homeland Security John Cohen said; “The West is facing the most complex and severe terrorist threat we have certainly seen since 9/11”.  Then, a few days later, the FBI’s top counterterrorism official – Assistant Director Michael Steinbach – gave this chilling assessment of America’s attempts to stop ISIS from spreading its ability to recruit new members online; “We are losing the battle”.  All this has been covered, however briefly, in the so called ‘mainstream media’ yet as of this writing there’s been little to no reaction.

How can ‘We the People’ accept such diametrically opposed evaluations of our nation’s safety?  Where is the reaction from the public demanding an honest, credible analysis of our situation?  Without question the failure by the ‘lame-stream media’ to really cover these discrepancies has contributed but this also highlights another supporting observation regarding my concerns about the American public’s inability to think for themselves; if the lame-stream media doesn’t cover it it’s not worth knowing..??  Apparently a majority of Americans cannot read this information and develop their own thoughts, evaluations and perceptions; they must have the so called ‘journalists’ – and I use this term very loosely and with the deepest disrespect – tell them what to think and believe?  If the federal government is looking to push more and more people unto its dole then seeing how clueless the public has become must really put a smile on its face.  This, coupled with the data showing 47% of ALL American households now receive some form of government assistance – and, no, this does not include social security or Medicaid – certainly backs up the suggestion that the American people are losing their ability to think and function independently of governmental support.  Is this what we want to foster in upcoming generations..?

I try to be optimistic but seeing what this administration has done across the last six years – and previous administrations since World War II – I find little to inspire hope.  In a way much of our population has come to mirror the narcissist in the White House; we have time only for our cell phones, ‘selfies’, reading ‘People’ magazine and giving no thought as to where our country is heading.  I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, the horror of ISIS might give us a rallying point but when we have a President and Secretary of State telling us we are safe and the ISIS threat is mainly something manufactured by the likes of Fox News I guess we prefer to accept that view.  And why shouldn’t we..??  After all, this is the administration that gave us ‘Fast & Furious’, Benghazi’, the ‘lead from the rear’ philosophy which worked so well in the recent Middle Eastern conflicts, the Obama Care roll out and similar; what could go wrong..?!?!  Not that I needed another reason to be pleased with my retirement to semi-rural south central Alaska but at least up here people are aware, prize individual strength and the ability to fend for one’s self.  In a way it shouldn’t be a surprise that ‘The Last Frontier’ should be one of the last states to still mirror so much of what made America great…

Smoke And Questions…

Across the past four days I’ve been reminded once again of some of the prices one pays for living in this majestic state; this time said ‘price’ is in the form of the residue from wildfires.  Last Thursday I made my every other week drive into Palmer to pick up donated food stuffs for the Upper Susitna Valley Food Pantry at which I’m a volunteer; just south of Willow (maybe 35 miles south of Talkeetna) I noticed the Talkeetna Mountains were shrouded in what appeared to be fog.  Within another five miles I knew this was not fog as I could smell the smoke from wildfires.  I knew there were two blazes burning in the Kenai (the Funny River fire and the Tyonek fire) but I was unaware the smoke from these fires had managed to make it so far to the northeast.  By the time I arrived at the warehouse in Palmer visibility was down to less than a mile and the acrid smell of wildfire was everywhere.  By the time I finished getting my own donations and assisting others with their loads my eyes felt like they’d been sandblasted; thankfully I keep Visine in my car so I could mitigate the effects of the smokey air.  It was a shock to realize I couldn’t see the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains normally so prominent in this small town just north of Anchorage; as I tuned in local radio stations I heard of the air quality warnings for the entire Anchorage Bowl.  NWS was advising people remain indoors and if outside not to indulge in any strenuous activities.   As I began my 70 mile drive north to the Pantry and home I couldn’t help but notice the thick, acrid smoke which was even blotting out the sun.  And this started me thinking…

I wondered about our four brave fallen heroes from the Benghazi mission:  Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.  I wondered if the last thing they saw as they fought for their lives and prayed for the assistance that inexcusably would never arrive was thick, acrid smoke.  I wondered if Woods and Doherty’s eyes burned with the same gritty, roughness that my own did while they heroically held off a hugely superior force for many hours.  And I hoped and prayed that none of them realized that they struggled in vain, that politics and ineptitude were coming together to ensure there would be no rescue that dark, fiery night in Benghazi.

It’s now been almost two full years yet ‘We the People’ still have no answers regarding crucial questions in this outright attack upon America.  There have been no arrests and although our lame-stream media has been able to interview the supposed perpetrators in local cafes we still do not know where our Commander In Chief was that evening or what exactly happened during those first four dreadful hours.  We do not know how the administration initially responded to this horrific news.  We do know the symbol of America in Libya, our ambassador, was slain along with another state department employee and two heroic ex-SEALs working as protective officers.  We know they begged for assistance for hours while they fought against numerically superior numbers armed with larger and more diverse weaponry.  And we know that ultimately they were abandoned and allowed to die at the hands of their aggressors.

Getting all the facts after such an event should supersede any political partisanship; there should be no question we should know the truth within a few months time and there is no question we should have left no stone unturned and no avenue untraveled to bring the perpetrators to justice.  Yet here we are, twenty months from this cowardly attack upon our country, and we have few answers and we have brought no one to justice.  Instead partisan squabbling has turned the deaths of these four proud and brave Americans into a media sideshow featuring bellicose politicians from both parties posturing for the cameras and working to get their faces and their voices on TV.  And still we do not know the real truth.  Is this what our great country has devolved into..?  And maybe more importantly are ‘We the People’ okay with brushing this horrific event under the rug especially as it has the stench of political maneuvering to cover up the truth as well as putting one man’s, and one party’s, ‘needs’ ahead of the country’s?

Maybe we are okay with just ignoring the need to find out the truth behind what transpired within our government on that sad September 11th; maybe we’d rather just tune this out while we celebrate a day off work, eat barbecue and watch baseball.  And maybe we will be okay when a leading figure in this scandal, someone whom was at the helm of the State Department that dark evening, runs for President in a couple of years.  I do not know how the American people would answer these questions but I do know something; as sure as I can once again smell smoke on this Memorial Day morning if we continue down the path we currently tread we’re doomed to become a third-rate power on the world stage bereft of dignity and honor.