Opinion

Americans need to get priorities straight

This summer American voters got another glimpse of Republicans’ continuous orgy occurring behind the seductive red canvas of their party’s circus tent. Republicans seem to possess a penchant for the raunchy romp. They might do an impassioned tango in Buenos Aires like the honorable governor of South Carolina. Maybe they’ll have an intense conference with the campaign manager’s wife and send a tasteful bouquet of hush money to her husband like the senator from Nevada.

Three summers ago, we learned of amorous emails sent to pubescent boys, and two summers ago we heard tell of a senator hoping to tap something other than the floor in an airport bathroom.

Of course, Democrats have their share of scandals as well. Spitzer, Edwards and Clinton each performed carnal gymnastic routines of their own.

Despite my appreciation for the farcical value of the political sex scandal, our national addiction to the trashy soap opera of our public servants puts a scarlet V on all of our chests. We’re a nation of voyeurs.

Our voyeurism could not come at a worse time.

The world is rapidly heating up with conflicts over food, water, oil and religion. It seems as if the irreparable destruction we have wreaked on the environment will be the fall that will kill us all.

I am a Democrat, yet after witnessing the feeble effort made by Obama and congressional Democrats to pass a diluted climate bill, I have absolutely no confidence in our current government to solve our most serious problems.

Meanwhile, Americans continue to buy more oil than ever, propping up Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad, financing the opposition in our “war on terror,” financially backing political systems that abuse women and setting the stage for an earth-shattering conflict with China.

Americans need a serious national discussion about climate change, which should transcend even the wisdom and rationality of the national debate on “Obamacare.” Boisterous patriots made it clear that ‘death panels’ and government interference with private institutions like Medicare would not be tolerated. We cannot wait for the “real” Americans to accept that man-made global warming is a force to be reckoned with, and is not just “God huggin’ us closer.” There is no issue more paramount than that of our environment.

Nevertheless, a recent CNN poll shows that Americans care more about illegal immigration, social security and Medicare, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their taxes far more than they care about a problem that affects billions of lives and will cost trillions of dollars. Those other issues are still worthy of concern, but our tendency to get so easily sidetracked by the governor’s call-girl and the president’s nationality will make The Day After Tomorrow one day closer.

September 30, 2009

Reporters

Josh Kornfield

Senior Columnist


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