No, not the nomination of Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for President, though that conventional wisdom is perhaps in some subtle ways related to the real theme of this piece. Actually, what we’re talking about is the end of the American Federal Republic, known fondly as ‘these United States’, and our long and storied history of self-determination, individuality and self-governance.
To see where we’re going, it’s really just a matter of plotting all the little road signs we have been passing along the way that point to the Europeanization, or the sovietization, or the collectivization of America into something unrecognizably different than what most of us knew and loved , in our experiences and understandings, the first few decades of our lives. It would be banal to rehash all of them at any length here now, for anyone inclined to read these pages is already conversant with the state of the Central Planning regime in Washington, DC, and it’s Agencies and Departments of this, that and the other (I like to call them ‘Ministries’, after the old Soviet nomenclature) and how we, good-natured fok that we are, have sheepishly fallen in step.
What hit me in the face the other day, though, and caused me to ask myself “Is this it, then?” was a little item in the paper about the repair of a sidewalk along one of the local streets. Seems this project has been delayed for apparently an indefinite period. The reason? The reason is that it came to somebody’s attention that none of the local vendors submitting bids on the project had their affirmative action and Americans with Disabilities Act documentation in order. Noteworthy , I suppose, is that there was no mention of environmental impact statements, but I’m sure that was just an oversight and someone will notice and make it their business to get that taken care of by the first freeze next fall, if the project gets back on track by then.
You see, it’s the little things, the little everyday things, that give us clues as to how much we have adjusted to …..the New Realities. Sure we hear some rumblings and grumblings on the national scene by a few disgruntled conservatives about how the EPA is impeding economic recovery, or how the Department of Education is trying to tell us how to run our schools. Yes, you know those familiar refrains, which are kind of like the weather – people talk about it, but….nothing can be done. But a clue to how bad it’s become, to the fact that, for all practical purposes we have given up and given in, is that we can’t even on our own initiative and under our own authority repair a damned sidewalk anymore.
And you know who will get the blame? The media will blame the contractors for being derelict in not having their affirmative action statements ready for inspection. And the public will grumble, and maybe blame some politicians along with the hopelessly out-of-compliance contractors on the local scene, and the estimates will be rendered no longer valid, and , well, you can finish the story.
There is currently a push in our state for the reform (demise) of local governments. So far, opponents have been able to stave much of it off by appealing to the locals’ pride of ownership of things like their schools and fire departments. But incidents like the sidewalk fiasco will be pointed to as evidence of the ineptitude and lack of accountability of local governance. There will be renewed calls for more centralized government and planning, and for the efficient and timely securing of federal funds for this or that project or service. It is inevitable. And the folks who gave us affirmative action, and the ADA, and environmental regulation, know that it is. And the gods of socialist collectivism and central planning and thought control are smiling.
How are things in your neighborhood?