Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Dream and the Nightmare

I was reading a book about Karl Rove and GW Bush called Bush Brain. I read that one book they passed out copies of was titled, "The Dream and the Nightmare" by Myron Magnet. I was curious to know what it said so I bought and read a copy of this one book that our President and Karl Rove found important enough to share with others.

In a nutshell, according to this author, the 60’s was the era of liberal philosophies in public policy run amuck. LBJ’s War on Poverty that was meant to help the needy actually enslaved the poor by making them dependent on government handouts. It took away their incentive to better themselves and encouraged them to become welfare mothers instead which perpetuated their plight to future generations. The mental institutions were emptied out in an effort to liberate those patients who had been institutionalized because their ideas were not the “norm” and bucked societal conventions. Many of these patients could live normal lives if given a counseling and supportive assistance. When the funds were not there to deliver the promise, the mentally ill were abandoned.

According to Myron, many of the problems we see today are the result of misguided liberal policies that had unintended consequences which is where the title of the book, “The Dream and the Nightmare” originates. In this book, Myron argues that the homeless were mentally ill patients that were once institutionalized. Maybe the conditions were harsh, but it was better for them than living under a bridge, he contends.

I think of this book when I see the homeless lady that lives on the bus stops near my home. She no doubt is mentally ill. I wonder, if she is better off living on the street than she would be if she had been locked up in one of those inhumane institutions that closed down years ago? Whose responsibility is she anyway? Is society better served by allowing the mentally ill to go free and live as they please?

There are so many worthy causes that try to get a piece of the public purse. Our national debt, as of Nov. 26 stands at 8.1 trillion dollars. That equals $27,000 per person. The Baby Boomers are starting to retire. This will increase the amount of money that's needed just to pay for Social Security and Medicare. What amazes me is that no one seems to worry about how many IOU’s we are putting into our USA Government Piggy Bank.

I see this homeless woman living on the side of the road, surrounded by the garbage she uses to keep herself warm at night. I’m thankful that I’m not in her shoes and wish there was something I could do for her, but I'm afraid to go near her. The government has overextended itself. The Republican leaders believe that if they give money to wealthy citizens it will trickle down to everyone else because they will start new business opportunities with the revenue and generate jobs. Boutiques and Service professionals that cater to the wealthier population are cropping up all over the place.

Those who have money are doing fine. Those without are trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Others are living on bus stops and under bridges and in homeless shelters across USA. The cars drive by and we seldom even notice her. I wonder which conservative tax cut will trickle down and touch her?

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