The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘fishing’ Category

FOLLOW THE LIEDER

 

Despite his brief thirty-one years, Franz Schubert was one of the most prolific composers of the classical age.  Among other compositions, he had more than six hundred secular songs (lieder) to his credit.  “Die Forelle” is one of the most charming and best known of these.

I’m fairly certain that when Schubert composed this song he was thinking little more than of an encounter between the fish and fisherman – which ended badly for the trout.  But as I listened to this lovely song I thought to myself that there is a clear analogy between the story Schubert told and our world today.

Perhaps you’ve heard President Obama’s recent statement that, “This is the world’s most tranquil period in human history.”  I know that he recently went to Colorado to fund raise.  Perhaps he stopped at one of the recently opened marijuana shops and picked up a stash of weed.

Domestically we have an influx  of illegals entering the country.  Sadly, some of them are trying to escape horrible conditions in their home countries and we all, if we are compassionate, have concern for them – whether they are children or adults.  But before we offer our largesse to these visitors, ought we not have at least as much concern for our own citizens – particularly our black citizens – who live in our inner cities and are subject to as much violence as any of these newcomers?  Two thirds of American voters believe that is the case.

In addition to NSA spying on everyone in the world with a phone or an email account we now find out that the CIA which is supposed to operate only internationally has been prying into the private affairs of U. S. senators.  More is being revealed daily that the “phony scandal” at the IRS seems to be a calculated plan to destroy the administration’s opposition politically.  Whether the sole perpetrator of the conspiracy was Lois Lerner or whether others were both willing and involved participants remains to be learned.

We as a nation have now given Obamacare it’s worst approval rating since it began to be implemented.  This FUBAR law has yet to see its most important implications but those will be coming soon as insurers review their pool of customers (as best they can as there are many who think they are insured but are regularly being denied coverage since healthcare.gov’s back end still isn’t function correctly despite the system’s $800 million cost) and consumers who don’t like the law now are in for a big surprise as they receive their premium notices for 2015 and the employer mandate kicks in finally.

Internationally – well, where do we even start?  There is a mini war going on in Ukraine.  Two weeks after the downing of MH 17 there are still the bodies of eighty victims rotting in the fields.  An Ebola epidemic is breaking out in west Africa – with possible worldwide consequences should it be exported.  Hamas has already broken this weekend’s 72 hour cease fire with Israel – hours after it was adopted.  ISIS claims to have taken over and is now in control of Benghazi, Libya.  This list is far from complete.  If this is tranquility then it is hard for me to imagine what turmoil must look like.

With this litany of issues that are fomenting, what do we see our government doing?  The quick answer is that like our clever fisherman who stirred up the waters to muddy the hapless trout’s perspective, the administration is trying to focus the public’s attention on things like a purported impeachment effort (this is pure hype) and the injustice that heaps opprobrium on any caring citizen because of the Washington Redskins team name.  To quote one of my favorite political pundits of all time, Charlie Brown, “Good grief.”

The president and his administration have added an entirely new meaning to the expression, “Muddying up the waters.”  It’s only a shame that those who voted for a second four year Obama administration and now regret that decision hadn’t the perspicacity to see what so many of us realized in 2008 and got hooked when the waters were still clear.

BASS FISHING AND THE MEDIA

The extent of my freshwater fishing is confined to my summer vacations in upstate New York.  The Esopus River had an abundance of brook and rainbow trout and I caught my share over the years and enjoyed quite a few delectable breakfasts.  It would be a gross overstatement to construe my modest efforts in such a way that would qualify me as a real life angler.

My rod and reel were very inexpensive, my bait came from the ground in the backyard of our little cottage, I had no hat littered with lures, whether store bought or hand tied and I had no other sort of fancy gear, no creel – just a little metal pail.  In the world of fishing I was definitely an ingénue.

Later in life I met others for whom fishing was a passion, more than their jobs or their marriages.  They could speak for days about how they had spent umpteen hours tying the perfect lure; how they had just purchased the latest and greatest in reels which could do just about everything except predict where the fish were biting; and , of course, they told the inevitable “fish stories” about the ones they landed (exaggerated in size) and the ones that got away (even more exaggerated).

One of the more popular fish for which these veterans of America’s streams and rivers trolled were bass.  I learned that they came in a variety of types – but among the most popular were “Big Mouth” and “Small Mouth” bass.  Fishing is not nearly as complex as politics and the main differentiation between these two types was – the size of their mouths.  Even an ingénue like myself could pick up on those physical characteristics and tell the difference between the two.

I thought about bass fishing and the media the other day.  If you remember back to January, the airwaves were filled with the announcement that the George Washington Bridge closure was due to political payback.  Coverage was even more extensive than the last two weeks’ reporting on the unfortunate fate of Malaysian Air’s Flight 370.

The media feeding frenzy, filled with speculation and insinuation pointing to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was nothing less than the unfortunate scene caused by a llama who wandered into a river populated by piranhas.  Liberal commentators practically drooled with salaciousness as they expected this would cause the rather corpulent governor to topple with a loud thud.  A special commission was called and the head of that commission, even before seeing the evidence which had yet to be subpoenaed, virtually proclaimed the governor guilty.  I refer to this as the “Big Mouth” syndrome.

Well, the emails and phone records and all the other documents that the commission requested were received and reviewed by them.  Perhaps you’ve not heard that – or the commission’s conclusion – because the media have entered their “Small Mouth” mode.  Even with an ear trumpet or the finest hearing aid, you might have missed hearing the commission’s conclusion that, “There is no evidence that Governor Christie had any knowledge of the actions by his staff which led to closing down the George Washington Bridge.”

As I said earlier, it would be hard for me to portray myself as an inveterate angler.  But one thing that I know is that when you’re fishing you need to be quiet or you will scare the fish away.  Perhaps that explains the media’s silence in failing to report on the commission’s findings.  They all went fishing.

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