When a forest has been allowed to grow rampantly, many problems crop up. There’s a lot of dead wood, and other shrubbery becomes overgrown. Young trees have a hard time getting nutrition and sunlight in which to grow properly. Diseases spread amongst the mature trees. Vermin have an easier time hiding from predators, whose place in the ecology is to keep their numbers down. The list goes on.
Nature has a way of taking care of this problem: forest fires. Huge conflagrations that burn everything to the ground, eliminating this chaotic decay of a once healthy environment.
Let’s face it: this once great country has indeed deteriorated. In that sense, it is very much like an overgrown forest.
Where once nearly everyone did something useful for society, there’s one hell of a lot of deadwood. But deadwood does not merely mean people on welfare who could easily perform constructive work, whether for a wage or as a volunteer.
It also includes bloated bureaucracies where the ‘workers’ push paper around from one desk to another to justify their incredible benefits packages, including retirement deals that are bankrupting city after city. Just look at Greece. It also includes ‘vermin’, such as those who exist in the dark spaces between the government and corporations, ‘lobbying’ with special payments and generous gifts for legislators to vote for the special interests of their clients. It also includes the people on Wall Street who live in mansions due to their ability to sell invisible paper, ‘leveraging’ real assets into castles made of cards.
Sadly, the actual environment is decaying. Our industrial model, dependent on rapid and unchecked growth, is destroying the world we live in. In the name of bloated profits, we are willing to cut down any forest or grassland that regenerates oxygen, pollute any waterway that sustains life on our planet, and contaminate the very air that we and those plants breathe. And when the vast majority of scientists as well as environmentalists protest our unconcern, they are shouted down by the capitalistic businesses and politicians who live off of those profits. They are dismissed as reactionaries. So now we have a climate change denier in charge of the EPA. That’s going to promote real progress.
Small businesses, which were once the backbone of the entrepreneurial spirit, are being stunted by the huge corporations granted monopolies by fat-cat bureaucrats. The concept of small, local banks who fed those budding businesses is being blotted out by huge international banks and the Fed, a private corporation controlled by a few uber-wealthy individuals who have a stronghold on the American economic structure. Monopolies are being encouraged by those politicians who are paid by them. And Trump has appointed another billionaire’s boys club member from the wonderful Goldman-Sachs disaster to advise him on finances. Didn’t they help create the 2008 recession?
Our attempt at a national health service, the ACA, is indeed a disaster. Never mind that the Republicans gutted the intended structure so badly that it barely limps along, with Mr. Trump ready to kick the crutches away. It was a first attempt to fix the towering healthcare costs generated by outrageous med school tuitions, greedy insurance companies, litigious attorneys, and, not least, the unmitigated avarice of Big Pharma. Now there will be a lot more Americans who will have reduced qualities of life or even die because they cannot afford decent treatment.
Our once proud public educational system, one of the finest is the world, is now nearly moribund. Most states have passed laws that send the property taxes to the state government instead of the local school district, meaning that all students suffer. While state legislators pass more and more demands on teachers, further crippling their ability to serve the students, federal legislators demand standardized tests that creates a “one size fits all” delivery and caters to the lowest common denominator, rather than encouraging our best and brightest to rise above mediocrity. And Trump wants to completely destroy the public system through his pay-back choice as Secretary of Education, who is all about privatized and charter schools, and has possibly never set foot in an actual classroom in her life.
If you want a healthy country, you need healthy people who are well educated. It is obvious that taking care of unhealthy people is tremendously more expensive than the reverse, so the cost benefits should be obvious to even the most obtuse capitalist. And the benefits of education to the economy (as shown by personal lifetime income) are touted by all educational systems, so why is that even a question? Ours is a system that requires educated, modernized employees, not mindless workers.
Perhaps the worst destruction has been to traditional American values, such as equality and justice. Once again, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Nancy Pelosi explained how we have entered the age of shareholder capitalism, which is why CEO pay continues to climb while the average worker sees little to no income growth. Our “melting pot” mentality has melted down, to the point where we discriminate against well-educated professionals wanting to gain citizenship while allowing manual laborers to pour across our borders because Americans have become lazy and entitled. In that sense, Trump’s policies may actually serve a purpose. However, he wants to enforce his policies with dictates that violate the laws of our land, both technically and in intent, that were incorporated into the Constitution and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
So, the Trump administration may ultimately prove to be beneficial to America. But it is not because our latest president is a careful gardener. It is because he is a forest fire, who will leave our earth scorched and barren, destroying everything we love about our world. We can only hope that, many years after the conflagration has passed away, the American people will once more look at what really made this country great. That we will—like a forest consumed by a terribly destructive fire—regenerate the fresh and positive growth that brings new life and hope.