I’m indebted to one of my readers for this week’s theme. He wrote: "Here's something to consider for your next blog: Do our ‘leaders’ in Washington really think that all of us will be fooled with inflation rates artificially suppressed with the omission of food and energy data? They must live in a vacuum to not have noticed the large increases during the last several years in grocery and restaurant bills, gasoline at the pump and home heating. Add those little things to the budgets of families with kids in college or with a member undergoing extensive medical treatment, and their inflation is run-away."
It isn’t hard to answer this. One only has to recall a previous election when one of the presidential candidates was totally amazed by the check-out scanner when he visited a grocery store "just like everybody else." What emerged wasn’t so much an encounter between the techno-present and the cash-register past, but rather a picture of the isolation in which our leaders live.
Do you really think those people earning $180,000+ per year (with an equal amount for retirement for life even after one term) plus free health care, are really going to the grocery store for the milk? And do you wonder that they aren’t aware of the price of gasoline that they use in their Hummers and SUVs? Then you are the one out of touch with reality. They are not all like that, of course, but one can’t help but feel that the majority are.
In the beginning those who chose to offer their lives and sacred honor also pledged their fortunes to the advancement of our nation. If they received pay it hardly covered the cost of a room in a boarding house, much less transportation from the far-flung domains they represented (all 13 of them). There wasn’t a "shining city on a hill" to go to, only Philadelphia, and the roads from Savannah or Richmond or Boston weren’t even paved. (And before you take umbrage at what you may perceive as a disparaging remark about Philadelphia, let me state that it was my father’s birthplace, and the city where my wife spent her teenage years, and that I hold it in high regard.)
Anyway, the simple answer to my reader’s question is: No, I don’t think the people who govern us are really connected to us anymore. Somewhere in all that travel, over all the years, they have lost the map that guided them because on the same journey they stopped at private houses, not public houses, accepting the hospitality without admitting a quid pro quo, or even getting out of the carriage to acknowledge the horses pulling them along. And so many have forgotten how to make change.
That will be . . . Uh, Umm, I can’t figure out the change without my scanner/calculator/cash drawer. But that’s for another time.