None of us live long enough to understand long history. Most of us are reactive rather than proactive. Every once in a while, as a direct result of not understanding history, we get our just comeuppance. If we are lucky, maybe we are only embarrassed or suffer a minor reversal for our hubris. Sometimes, we aren’t so lucky and things we love like the ideas, places, and people that are so important to us get injured or worse.
Let’s start with the premise that people and countries hold many of the same attributes in common. Like you and me, countries live and breathe. They have their histories, inclinations, proclivities, and tendencies. Countries aspire to be long-lived, successful and have their own traditions, morals, aspirations, and especially pride. Nations seek their place in the pantheon of the most admired or sadly, sometimes the most feared. Our own country is a relative newcomer to the game. We’ve gone sofar, so fast. It’s difficult to be a patriot today and also still must be critical of that country you love so very much. But, here I am.
Economic Recovery on Shaky Ground: Unraveling Fiscal Anxiety:
I feel this in my bones. Our nation has a terrible malaise that is slowly sapping its strength, vitality, and vigor. It feels almost like a biblical prophecy coming true. Despite over 10 trillion dollars of stimulus pumped into our country’s veins, you get the feeling that economic recovery is far from assured and that the sands of our hourglass or running through so very fast. Decisions of questionable value have been made that are at the root of our fiscal anxiety. Like the ancient Hades ferryman Charon, we may yet have to pay him yet again to get to the other side of the river one day. We are sick and the patient has been told he has cancer. Some of us are so entitled, that we think we can wish that away. If only, it was that easy. The real world has different answers for us!
In medicine, you hear the term Differential Diagnosis used when the best medical minds try to figure out the root cause of an ailment to be able to arrive at the correct treatment protocol. In cancer, frequently the best treatment is the radical approach of surgery. Let’s spend some time today discussing what ails our country and what our prognosis might be as surgery just might be in our future. Our lives continue to hang in the balance and we dare not make yet another mistake as we spend our precious capital that cannot be readily replaced. Capital is a country’s lifeblood. And, we are hemorrhaging that capital so fast, that a tourniquet is required or we will bleed to death before we can even get to a possible cure for our problems. In emergency medicine, triage is always the first concern. America is at that juncture as I write this. The patient does not know how close they are to a very bad outcome.
Navigating Uncertainty: The Consequences of Presidential Decisions
There are three possibilities facing us today:
1. The President’s course of action is correct and things will get better.
2. The President’s course of action is wrong and we become unstable or worse.
3. The populace loses confidence in our leadership and becomes freighted or angry enough to revolt.
In talking with people, I find a lot of folks are frequently ignorant of current events. While those that do know their history, people who are engaged but still don’t know what can be done to remedy where we are searching for answers. Did you know that Martial Law has been imposed at least 68 times in our country? Consider this Perfect Storm Scenario:
- Inflation devalues your income and savings enough to where you are seriously impacted in your daily living and future prospects
- Supply chain issues prevent you from living your normal lifestyle or worse, your family goes hungry or without essential items necessary for normal everyday living
- Medical supplies are rationed and you can’t get antibiotics, infusion therapies, or other vital medicines including insulin
- Gasoline and Diesel become so scarce that they become rationed
- You find access to your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and even credit cards are restricted
From Shortages to Financial Struggles: Unpredictable Nature of Our Times
Our country is perilously close to one or more of these or other actions being taken. Think I’m crazy? If I told you pre-pandemic that baby formula would be hard to come by or that you might not be able to afford to put gas in your car; would you have believed me then? Occam’s Razor—the simplest explanation is normally correct. We are in trouble! Our trendline is moving downward. Need more proof? Did you know that more than $7 trillion has been lost in the stock market so far this year? While money is made and money is lost, what’s happening at the moment is something new. When added to so many other negative metrics, the smart money is beginning to think we are not in a normal economy. When you have Jamie Dimon and Elon Musk agreeing on the 2023 financial forecast…we may be in deep trouble!
- Jamie Dimon says ‘brace yourself’ for an economic hurricane caused by the Fed and Ukraine war’
- Elon Musk says ‘If history is any guide, not many will make it past the next recession’
Not comforting at all, I’d think you agree. There is an additional dynamic that injects the issue of uncertainty. People are simply tired of bad news. History teaches us that they will shoot the messenger that continually brings them that bad news. Arguably, there is no good news the administration can trumpet. When you cannot feed your baby, you realize that your children are going to school not to be educated, but indoctrinated, you can’t afford the gas to take the children to Disney World (forget that it is nearly ground zero for Wokeness) and government officials gleefully tell you that you don’t need your guns. All this is happening with the backdrop of stores all over our country being ransacked and at the same time shortages of everything are becoming everyday occurrences! In my view, our stability and anxiety are truly threatened.
Channeling ‘Network’: A Nation Fed Up and Ready for Change
Remember the 1976 movie Network? Do you recall the line ‘Go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ That my friends are where millions of us are today. The $64,000 question is what does “I’m not gonna take this anymore” mean? Is there something coming that we can’t see fully but gets many of us in motion like some frozen glacier that all of a sudden breaks free and starts moving? This is the danger.
This is where a Differential Diagnosis would be nice to have. We observe that the patient is both depressed and sometimes manic. The patient possesses Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt…FUD. At times, the patient is passive and unreactive. At other times, the patient is highly agitated and potentially dangerous. Based on observation, you believe the patient is at a breaking point and yet refuses to take his meds. The patient is non-compliant. What to do?
Bad things happen to non-compliant individuals under the care of a doctor. Why? The doctor wants to ensure the health and safety of both the patient and the people around the patient and seeks to establish a baseline of effective control. The patient is next diagnosed as anti-social. What does anti- social mean? One police department states “Antisocial behavior is defined as ‘behavior by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person.” That fits a large swath of us nervous nellies today. I know I distress a significant number of people I come in contact with! Thinking people should be highly agitated with the state of our country.
From Solitary Cells to International Scrutiny: A Question of Perspective
In Russia and China today, antisocial behavior will deliver you to the nearest mental asylum or prison. And, we are not exempt from extreme examples of how we treat our political prisoners either. Did you know that some non-violent prisoners from January 6th , have been held in solitary confinement while awaiting trial? Are we that far from how Russia and China in how we treat those that disagree with their governments? It’s only a question of perspective; isn’t it?
We are at a precipice at the moment. Civil disobedience is growing. The government splashes the title “White Supremacist on a wide swath of people today who are gob smacked at the assertion. And, the government considers many groups of white people a threat to society. Groups like:
- Gun Owners and the NRA
- Small Business Owners
- Those who just happen to have a problem with the growth of government and its policies
The Thin Line: Balancing National Security and Civil Liberties
Where will it end? That’s the question the Doctor is asking as he examines the patient. It is also something the government thinks about a lot! And, we must always remember that all governments exist to preserve their own power and influence.
God Bless America and especially Ukraine at this time of genocide and war that sees no end in sight.
Allan J. Feifer