Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stricken with Terminal Disease, Presidency Nears Death

by Ken Brown
Springfield, MO
The Ozark Uncle started writing this post on Wednesday, September 8, 2010--he never expected that it would be 9/11 before it was completed and published.

We are at a pivotal moment in U.S. History.  The Ozark Uncle perceives that hardships are ahead for those generations following what the 65-year old is calling his Pampered Generation--those of us born between 1935 through 1945.  We didn't have to serve in WWII, and we were later blessed with good paying union jobs and now many of us are living on funded pensions.  But our country has major internal structure problems--political, financial and even militarily.  Money to fund the Baby Boomer Generation (e.g., born in 1946 or later) retirements just isn't there.  There probably isn't a politician alive with any kind of a magic bullet to fix our fiscal problems--we need to look to self-reliance and each be willing to make some kind of sacrifice.

A dear friend in my Over 70 Club forwarded me an email that listed many suggestions for changes in our country--of course it's one of those with bold type, different colored fonts and, you guessed it, an anonymous author.  But the Ozark Uncle saw possibilities in the list and he may dissect the ideas when he has a chance.  Perhaps considered extreme now, in a couple of decades many of these suggestions will occur by default, not by any political decision.

[Insert silence: the Ozark Uncle is taking a moment to remember the victims of the 9/11 tragedy which changed our world forever.  But he's also remembering those who died at Pearl Harbor, the millions of Holocaust, Armenian and Rwandan genocide victims, plus the millions of soldiers whatever their uniform, and all the innocent civilians killed in wars].

Well, that moment of silence didn't go too well; just as I went into silence, 19-month old Skye baby asked the Ozark Uncle to put on his "Papa" hat and get her more "Wice Kispies."  That highest-priority task completed, let's get on with the heart of the matter at hand.

Honored Member of the Ozark Uncle's Over 80 Club: Code Name Miss Lillian
The Ozark Uncle has a relative who he is calling Lillian--that's not her real name.  She's in her 80s now, and she lives in the same rural southern community in which she was born.  Best I can tell, Miss Lillian raised her children as a single parent.  For many of those years, she supported her children as a medical nurse working at the side of the same doctor in a small town clinic.  She knew all the patients' personal and medical history but will take that knowledge to the grave with her.  Morals and ethics are hardwired into Miss Lillian.  And she's perhaps one of the wisest people I know.

Miss Lillian is a very private individual, and few photos exist of her.  The facsimile of an unidentified older woman to the left is not her.  Miss Lillian has no use for computers and little use for television.  If told about the Ozark Uncle's openness on Facebook and his two blogs, she'd just fold her arms, look up into his eyes and with her soft but stern rural accent, say, "Kee-un, Kee-un".  Then she'd just bow her head and shake it in disbelief.

You see, to Miss Lillian, something like Facebook should be renamed Fools Book, and to her a blog is something that happens between the house and the septic tank.  And you know, with regard to the Ozark Uncle's writings, she'd probably be right on each count!

To my knowledge, Miss Lillian doesn't watch too much television.  FOX is something to be kept out of the hen house, and for all she knows, CNN, HLN and MSNBC are random letters on an eyesight chart.  Yet, she seems to gather sufficient information that makes her quite knowledgable on what she considers is relevant to her and her rural world.  You see, the Ozark Uncle perceives that Miss Lillian does better than most at setting priorities as to what is really important in her life and that of her family.  Not every national battle is hers to fight.

Miss Lillian's front door is like a lot of other people.  It's open wide for her close friends and relatives; she can be a wonderful hostess and will serve a healthy southern meal and fresh brewed iced tea.  However, business with all others can be conducted just fine through the screen door.  Miss Lillian and the Ozark Uncle haven't discussed it--no reason to--but she probably would not be comfortable at all with Muslims, foreign speakers, or gays in her home even if they were my friends.  But, be assured if any one of them had a car wreck out in front of her house and was bleeding profusely, the nurse in Lillian would be out there doing her best to help out another human being, and she wouldn't worry about whether she had a pair of latex gloves or not.  There are no pretenses with Miss Lillian--without ever using a cuss word, she can make it real clear what should transpire around her.

Uncle Ozark, What's Your Point?
The Ozark Uncle could write for pages about his perceptions of Miss Lillian, but she's introduced here for a specific reason.  Have I already said Miss Lillian is one of the wisest people I know?  Well, the subject of respect for a sitting U.S. President came up between me and one of Miss Lillian's daughters recently.  Reportedly, Miss Lillian always quoted her own mother to her children and it's as follows: "My Mama always said you may not have voted for a President and may not even like the man, but he always deserves your respect as the President of the United States."  That piece of wisdom is today's thought for tomorrow's generation.  Unfortunately, with the death of the U.S. Presidency at hand, this point of view may only fade into the annals of history as how things used to be.  Here's an example of the Presidency's disease.

Branson Financial Center
A couple of times a month, the Ozark Uncle takes a family member to a medical appointment in Branson, 45 miles south of Springfield. (Interestingly, he'll be making that trip again later today--September 11).    The doctor's office is in the Branson Financial Center, and an immigration attorney with a Hispanic name has the adjacent suite.  Frequently, one will share the elevator with Spanish-speaking immigrants from Mexico.

Also in the BFC building are the real estate offices of Commercial One Brokers.  This summer, the partners of this firm purchased a full-sized billboard near the town of Ozark between Springfield and Branson which says: Vote for Obama?  Embarrassed Yet?  In an interview with Springfield TV station, KY3, partner Steve Critchfield acknowledged that he'd received death threats because of it, but he rather glibly moralized that "...if every one is happy with Obama, they could go out and buy billboards saying so."  The Ozark Uncle will let that statement just land on the floor and stay there.
Billboard Similar to Critchfield sign
on U.S. 65 near Ozark MO
The Ozark Uncle really doesn't have any perceptions about how Critchfield et al should use their advertising dollars--though, the real estate business must be good in Taney County, Missouri.  No doubt the partners felt that their clients and their target market (white retirees with 401k funds from my Pampered Generation) would be happy with this sign--might even help business.  If I were Critchfield, though, I'd probably avoid local restaurants for awhile after considering who might be making my omelet and exactly what could be used for seasoning.

But, hey, the Ozark Uncle is cool.  He's all for the First Amendment.  Yet Gainesville, Florida's Pastor Terry Jones and his 50 followers who intended to burn Muslim holy books today (9/11) are really testing the amendment's limits relative to the public's common good.  (Since this posting was started on Wednesday, Pastor Terry Jones has been granted prime time coverage of his every move.  What a country--another religious figure with the surname Jones [like Jim and Bob] will become a household name.

Now back to Critchfield's billboard question.  [Note: the Ozark Uncle's little postings are intended for today's adults but, over time, will also serve as an archive for his grandchildren and their children as to how their Grandpa Brown perceived issues during this historically troublesome time].

Disappointment?  Sometimes.  Embarrassment? Never.
The Ozark Uncle struggles with the concept that anyone in America should be embarrassed about a vote--it doesn't make sense to him.  Oh, perhaps failing to vote at all might be a cause for some guilt.  While his ancestors had to cast their ballots with the little information printed in their weekly newspapers and talk around the wood stove at the General Store, the Ozark Uncle's era isn't too much better off.  Technology, mass media and advertising make it almost impossible to make an informed decision before voting.  Lies, falsehoods and misstatements litter the political landscape.  Candidates can't really come out and express their true thoughts--they are chained to specific positions and code words like "Pro-Choice" or "Pro-Life" lest they be deserted by some political base critical to their election.

Some voters don't look at the candidates' names but only for the (R) or (D) behind them and vote accordingly.  Others of us form some impression and cast a vote.  What follows is the Ozark Uncle's recollection of his Presidential votes over the past 20 years of voting.  It may not be totally accurate because many a time he went into the voting booth terribly undecided.  For today's readers, it illustrates a typical American's attempt to vote responsibly.  For his descendants, it leaves a little trail to show that he just didn't vote for all the (R)s or all the (D)s.

1992 -- Bush 1 versus CLINTON (D) versus Perot (I).  The Ozark Uncle distinctly remembers voting for Ross Perot.  He didn't know enough about Clinton, and he still felt that Bush 1 had not been forthcoming on the Iran-Contra scandal hung over from his Reagan era Vice-Presidency.

1996 -- Dole (R) versus CLINTON (D).  A real fan of Sen. Bob Dole (R), the Ozark Uncle considered voting for him.  Still he wasn't packaged right by his campaign staff.  Also the Ozark Uncle, while disturbed by Clinton's sexual scandals, sensed that powerful people were in the background waking up every morning determined to that particular President's day was a living Hell.  From the Ozark Uncle's perspective, the U.S. Presidency contracted its fatal disease under Clinton.  A lively debate can be had as to whether the disease was from internal (Clinton's own fault) or external sources.

2000 -- BUSH 2 (R) versus Gore (D).  The Ozark Uncle was a reluctant voter this year.  Right along here, he saw futility in being tied to either party and he became an independent and sees no reason to change the rest of his life.  In 2000, at 55 years of aged and about to take early retirement on a public education pension, the Ozark Uncle had become a real fan of a Vietnam hero by the name of John McCain.  Then the Bush campaign people played the "race card" on my hero, John, and his dark-skinned adopted daughter during the South Carolina primary, and the rest is history.  (By the way, in recent years, the Ozark Uncle has expressed a point of view that America missed a great opportunity when John McCain was not made President in 2000 instead of George Bush.  Hindsight is 20-20 they say but the Ozark Uncle perceives that President McCain might have had the magic bullet needed to eradicate the Presidency's fatal disease).

2004 -- BUSH 2 (R) versus Kerry (D).  Although forever thoughtful, Ozark Uncle can be more naive than many people, and he bought then Secretary of State Colin Powell's WMD speech to the United Nations, and he supported the Iraq war during Bush's first term.  By 2004, however, both the Ozark Uncle and Powell realized they had been duped.  Still the Ozark Uncle voted for Bush because he really felt that the Bush-Cheney alliance got us into the mess, and they should be given a chance to get us out.

2008 -- McCain (R) versus OBAMA (D).   The 2008 campaign was very hard on the Ozark Uncle.  His close relatives were quite divided, and lots of discussions led to family disunity.  Eventually everyone figured out that it was best not to talk about it.  The Ozark Uncle went ahead and voted for Barack Hussein Obama after his hero,  John McCain, selected the unknown "Mama Grizzly", Sarah Palin, as his running mate.  Some of my intelligent Christian friends applied incredible contortions to common sense attempting to convince me she was ready for the co-pilot's seat of a great nation.  I found my own intellect being insulted on every corner, and I abandoned my buddy, John McCain, once I got into the voting booth. [Note: since that time, the Ozark Uncle has become much more impressed with Ms. Palin and would give her due consideration in 2012.  It would be nice, however, if her so-called "grizzly" skin could toughen a little bit--she seems to fight every unfavorable mention of her].

Ozark Uncle Has had Many Embarrassing Moments But Not from a Vote
There you have it, Grandchildren, and any other interested parties--my voting record for what it is over the past 20 years.  Am I embarrassed by any of those votes?  No, and it's really a silly question.  Were some of the votes misguided or dumb votes?  Probably some and maybe all but who's to say--voters are accountable only to themselves, no one else.

As for the present, the Ozark Uncle perceives that with all the power that voters gave to the political left in 2008, President Obama and his Democratic party have turned on the political oven for the Republicans when they get the kitchen back in its control in 2010.  In the oven, the Democrats have been able to place half-baked casseroles of health care, energy, immigration, financial reform and entitlements (including tax breaks).

Now, after the 2010 elections, the Republicans will get another chance to (1) take the casseroles out of the oven and discard them or (2) somehow change the ingredients in the casseroles--a feat requiring culinary magic.  It won't be easy for them -- you see each casserole is implanted with a few tablespoons of an unknown substance that can lead one to political suicide.  To my grandchildren, when you read this, national politics is not an easy career in Papa Brown waning years.

Impending Death of the U.S. Presidency
The Ozark Uncle's July 28, 2010, post entitled War Heroes and Victims.  Near the end of the post, the Ozark Uncle cites retired Lt. Col. Andrew Bacevich and his book Limits of Power.  He argues that the system in Washington is so broken that the holder of the U.S. Presidency is really irrelevant.  This systemic virus has helped lead to its impending death foreseen by the Ozark Uncle.

Symptoms of the Presidency's fatal disease called D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T surfaced early in the first term of William Jefferson Clinton.  The position of First Lady was temporarily affected by the disease too but seems to have at least partially recovered.  The Presidency's disease was in almost total remission during the first term of George Walker Bush, but only for a short time.  Now, under Barack Hussein Obama, the Presidency's affliction appears to be worse than ever (as evidenced by the Critchfield billboard).

Note: some experts (no substantiations available at the moment) suggest that the country would be better off after the death of the U.S. Presidency followed by a re-incarnation as a Prime Minister, perhaps.  With this lower profile position would come lowered expectations--something that people should want if they want to reduce the effect of government.  Thus, with the death of the U.S. Presidency, this Prime Minister-type person would still have considerable governing power but little to govern--just a country of "I"s and "Me"s with little unity, insight, or compassion among us.  Also, an empty Treasury will cause Americans to ween themselves from entitlements, tax breaks and wasteful spending.  Thus, we are the problem, not our elected politicians.

Today's Thoughts for Tomorrow's Generation
Piper Palin with her brother at the 2008
Republican Convention
To the left is a photo of Todd and Sarah Palin's two youngest children, Piper and Trig.  Note that the photo appeared on CNN and hopefully Ms. Palin won't mind my using it.  Piper is my favorite, and part of me wishes she were at the Brown house playing with the Ozark Uncle's two Grand-Girls, Ora and Skye Brown, instead of being dragged around the country as part of the Palin Family Tour.

Watching the 2008 Republican Convention, the Ozark Uncle immediately wondered how the limelight would affect each member of the Palin family.  Certainly life hasn't been the same for little Piper since that night.  Her family is now wealthy but family time has to be totally different and is difficult to manage.  Such is life for children of high-profile parents.

Skye and Ora Brown - 2010
Today's thoughts for tomorrow's generation are really guided to the parents and grandparents (Papa and Grandma Brown included) of today's young children.  Recognize that 2010 is a really troubling time in America that could just as easily worsen as improve.  The Ozark Uncle's perception is that we should prepare our little ones for a time when they shouldn't count on state and national government to be of major significance in their lives.

A few suggestions to the parents and grandparents come to mind such as to help the little ones: (1) learn to be self-reliant; (2) learn to take care of their bodies and their minds, (3) learn to garden, cook and clean (Ora, remember, like the Box Car Children--Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny?)

James "the Genius" Brown
self-portrait -- 2008

Louie "the Athlete" Brown - 2010
Learn survival skills and ways to be at peace with less material things.  Seek out as much practical education and training as they can.  Don't forget the liberal arts but basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter are always the first order of the day.

Show them ways they can find peace for themselves in a wonderful yet ever changing less materialistic world.

Thanks for reading to the end.

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