Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wasteland of principles
In the 200 block of SE Clay Street, a husk of building stands surrounded by a 6 foot high security fence. Rusted steel struts prop up the graffiti-splashed walls. Broken glass and debris litter the cracked concrete of the floor. Weeds sprout through the cracks.
I heard somewhere that this ruin is the remains of an electrical supply store consumed by fire over a decade ago, but I've always known it as a ruin. I surmise that the reason it has stood this way for so long is because of some petty law suit. Disputes over insurance claims or the like.
Somebody somewhere is making a stand on "principle" and the net result is that inner Southeast is saddled with a hazardous eyesore.
And doesn't this ruined building epitomize the current state of our nation?
Just yesterday, the US Senate failed to invoke cloture on a bill that required background checks for gun purchases. This bill had the support of over 90% of the public, included 70+% of NRA members. It was a bipartisan bill, put forward by two Senators, Manchin (D) of West Virginia and Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania, who, up to now, were considered "Second Ammendment proponents."
But the NRA, took a "principled" stand and put the hammer down on their Senate lackeys. They threatened them with public denunciation and a downgrade of their cherished NRA legislative ratings. In doing so, they were able to intimidate 48 US Senators (of both parties) from doing the right thing.
In order to avoid the perception of yielding even an inch, Senators cast "principled" votes that stand in contrast to common sense, to sanity.
But the gun registration bill isn't even all of the story. The long list of unfilled federal judgeships, the xenophobic obstacles put in the way of immigration reform, the obstinate refusal to authorize federal spending for infrastructure repair: all of this reveals how petty and stupid (yes, stupid) are the people of this nation. (And I'm including myself.)
Everyone wants to make a stand on "principle." No one wants to give an inch. And while we're beating our chests and shrieking at each other, our national landscape comes more and more to resemble the dilapidated husk on SE Clay.