Wednesday, June 12, 2013

American Culture and The Obama Train
If we see a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the light of an oncoming train.
Robert Lowell (1917-1977), American Poet
I‘ve been working on a new book. My tentative title is American Culture and the Obama Train   My thesis is that Obamacare may fail because it's on a one way railroad track, heading into a tunnel, off the beaten track of  America’s cultural values –  freedom from oppressive government regulations as guaranteed by the Constitution.
I may be wrong.  Many would argue government is  for the common good, even when the good requires restrictions of individual liberties.   A little individual railroading, the argument goes,  can  be a good thing and is  a necessary thing for national security.  
The danger is, of course, that government may travel along a one-way track, and the engineer in the lead cab may represent a single ideology or a particular political party.
My fear, along with the majority of Americans, is that we’re approaching  a railroad tunnel, and the light at the end of the tunnel is a system of government controls – of our health care,  our private lives, and our private information – none of which are  necessarily the government’s business.
As we careen  down the tracks,  certain things frighten me.  
One,  the signing up date for Obamacare is fast approaching – October 1, 2013 – and if  it goes as the government wants, and its opponents dread, there will be no turning back.
Two,  the train’s engineer and his crew are giving mixed and directly  conflicting signals and even untruths about  national surveillance of all citizens and IRS targeting of individual groups with opposing points of view.
Three, given the rapid advance of  data –driven computer-gathering  technologies, the train’s speed is accelerating.  It seems to be going faster and faster with no one at the controls.  If the President is not running the train, who is?
It's  all too easy to  be get carried away by one’s metaphors, particularly when those metaphors suffer from tunnel vision.
Tweet:    Obamacare, IRS, and data surveillance of Americans’  are troubling:  the light at the end of the railroad tunnel may be an oncoming train.

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