Monday, June 20, 2016


Several years ago a cartoonist named Walt Kelly published a regular cartoon called Pogo.  Pogo was a very wise ‘possum who would regularly opine on the state of the union, social issues and other important items.  Probably Pogo’s most famous quote was, “We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.” 

Currently, there is a great outcry about the loss of jobs, the imbalance of trade between the U.S. and other countries and free trade robbing the middle class of its livelihood.  Donald Trump proposes an isolationist policy whereby he would slap large tariffs on any product entering the United States manufactured in another country.  He rails on and on about how Americans are losers because our leaders are stupid and do not know how to make a deal with foreign nations.

Unfortunately, the fault does not lie principally with bad deals made by our elected leaders on trade agreements, but with most of us because of our greed.  A recent experiment reported on national television revealed that when average consumers were asked to choose between a pair of $50 jeans made in China and basically the same jeans made in the United States for $85, consumers overwhelmingly chose to trade with China.  Additionally, recent polls show that 67% of American consumers choose price over where products are made.  Daily, billions of automobiles, televisions, computers, clothing and God knows what else are sold in America to consumers based on advantageous price.  Without a doubt, American consumers vote for free trade if it means saving them a dollar or two on price. 

Similarly, immigration—so attacked by Trump and other so-called conservatives—is similarly caused by too many Americans’ desire for cheap labor.  If this were not true, our American Congress would have long ago simply passed a law putting severe penalties—even including jail—on employers who chose to employ illegal aliens in their businesses.  It continues to boggle my mind that those who squawk about illegal immigration refuse to support a very simplistic remedy for the whole situation.  The guy who rails at Tea Party conventions oftentimes is the same guy having an uninvited guest from Mexico mowing his lawn on a weekly basis.

In another arena we continue to let politicians—who first admit they are not scientists and know little of global warming—get by with allowing the decline of the air we breathe and the water we drink simply because “fat cat” companies don’t want to lose a dollar’s worth of profit to protect the environment.

We decry the government and say government is not working while probably less than half of qualified voters even take the time to vote.  Unfortunately, even those who do oftentimes are sadly uninformed and vote based more on their prejudice than on being well informed on the qualifications and aims of those seeking office.  

Yes, I’m afraid Pogo was more right than wrong that there is a clear explanation of why we have so many idiots in office. It’s called representative government.

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