Ann Bednarski: Who is minding the store?

I admit to feeling confused. There are so many mixed messages coming to us on television, radio and in the newspaper. Taking the position of ambivalence is like being suspended in mid-air. Which way are things going? Up? Down? Sideways? The dichotomy of opinions is downright perplexing. On one hand there are all sorts of ads and festive commercials for the upcoming holiday season. They are balanced by announcements of cancellations of insurance coverage and huge tax increases taking effect on Jan. 1, 2013.The “Fiscal Cliff” seems to be only half the equation of American living. Are we falling into oblivion or celebrating holidays with good friends and festive food? Or, are we in for the “Surprise! That was your Last Supper. We will now take your money, your home, your job, your doctor, your children, and control which days you can consume meat (not on Mondays in Los Angeles) and which days you can purchase gasoline.” Depending on the hour, it may be a rebirth of American ingenuity or the collapse of a great country. It’s not yet confirmed, but there is a talk of a new staffer on the scene in D.C. Maybe he came from Hollywood or New York, no one knows for sure. He is described as a “Riddler-like” soap opera script writer. They say he is very good at thickening the plot. To date he is ignoring real issues and choosing the most convenient fall guy, the seemingly uppermost consideration. Personally I think these are the cleverest diversions designed to ignore the Benghazi attack, the debt, the jobless rate and the lack of communication between agencies I have ever witnessed at the national level. Not exactly the best time to go on a wine tasting in Australia. Who is minding the store? Curious Americans have some legitimate concerns. All elected officials expressed a willingness to come together to find solutions for the big problems plaguing our country. One day union leaders met with the president; the next day corporate executives met with him. It is unclear if these recent meetings of the minds came to any mutually agreeable solutions; I do know small business owners, Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce did not have such a meeting. The only thing that seems to be clear is a wealthy person is now defined as one earning over $250,000 a year. Is this really wealthy in today’s world? Weeks ago the government promised to find the people who murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi this year on Sept. 11. Stories continue to circulate, with conflicting explanations about the chain of events at our consulate there. Some believe the strategy is to have this tragic event fade from the memories of Americans. Then, rather abruptly, someone suddenly resigns his high-level federal position after admitting to an affair that ended months ago. This is where the script writer, today known as the “facts,” gets creative. Enter the mistress and the socialite, throw in a general, ‘a twin’, and voils, you have a soap opera. No answers, no direction, just a soap opera. Every day it seems someone else is resigning his/her position in the federal government. No one seems to be taking responsibility; transparency has been missing for years; the Congress continues scratching their heads wondering what to do. Problem-solving seems something no longer considered a goal in Washington, D.C.Meanwhile back on the East Coast the people are still struggling with the residue of Hurricane Sandy. Yet another federal agency is now making ridiculous requests. For one, they are asking people without power to fill out applications on the Internet. For another, they are now demanding victims who are staying in nearby motels to vacate so they can take the rooms to do their work. Most affected people are reporting no significant help from this government agency. There are, thankfully, less bureaucratic ways to help.We Americans can be proud of organizations like Team Rubicon, a group of veterans who voluntarily came to actually help. Then there is Samaritan’s Purse which sent buses loaded with equipment and necessities to help the day after the hurricane hit. Thank God for them today and tomorrow and the next day. It eases this depressing set of facts. Let the public show it can be a good shopkeeper of our national future. I have faith in the people of America, who are passionate and innovative.Much like the residents of Rockaway, N.Y., and the hundreds of volunteers who have come forward to help, we all need to get involved. Americans are resilient. I believe if we do not demand credibility and integrity, our nation, Our America the Beautiful, will be no more. Please do your part. • Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.


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