Saturday, April 21, 2012

The 'Dividend'

Photo:  Getty Images

Another Defining Moment... 

The Peace Dividend

Wikipedia:  The peace dividend is a political slogan popularized by US President George H.W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s, purporting to describe the economic benefit of a decrease in defense spending.

It is used primarily in discussions relating to the guns versus butter theory. The term was frequently used at the end of the Cold War, when many Western nations significantly cut military spending.

Anyone else remember the 'Peace Dividend'?  The collapse of the Soviet Union meant that America would see reduced military spending, increased investment (a.k.a.:  spending) at home for 'really important social issues', and the 'promise' of lower taxes for the American People.  ("Read my lips - no new taxes"...  Okay, thanks for THAT Bush 41!)

Fast forward several decades to this Tuesday Morning as I sit in my comfy PJ's in front of my television...

The crawler at the bottom of the screen announces:  "Space Shuttle Discovery is about to leave Florida for its final trip to the Smithsonian".  Being a New York-based bovine, I hadn't heard that the Discover was moving this bright Tuesday morning.  I'm sure that everyone else knew what was going on, but since I don't get 'out' a lot, well, you know... 

Okay, if I'm being completely honest with you, I thought the film, "The Hunger Games" was about the economy under President Obama.  Turns out that it's about a future in which teenage kids kill each other for food, and for the entertainment of the 'Reality TV' worldwide audience. 

Huh, now that I think about it, it COULD be about the economy under President Obama - sorry.  I hate it when analogies don't go anywhere.  

Anyway, so I'm watching my TV and they cut to a live feed from Florida's 'Space Coast' and I see a Boeing 747 with the Space Shuttle straddling atop it.  The plane begins to move, the camera begins to pan left to follow the track of the plane, and...

I get a chill.  Not the chill you get when you have a cold breeze blow across you - but rather, the deep-down chill of dawning realization.

As I watch the 747 speed along the runway I realize that this is the last time the United States will have the Space Shuttle closer to the stars than it is will ever be again.  And then I remember the promise of the "Peace Dividend".

The lie.  The broken promise.  The scam.  The "Peace Dividend" allowed the federal government to grow, to flex its legislative muscles, all the while reducing US military and intelligence assets around the World.  Tax relief for the 'masses'?  Nah, that didn't happen.  Our Nation put more of its money into feel-good social programs, lost its stature with the International Community, and then, fewer than ten years later...  9/11.  Not that anyone besides me connects those dots...

The 'Peace Dividend'?  Yeah, thanks for that. 

I would like to suggest to you that we need a new term added to the Lexicon of our language.  A phrase which will capture this moment in time, which will cement this Administration's strategy for generations of guys sitting in their PJ's on Tuesday mornings for years to come.

If I may...

The Mediocrity Dividend

I grew up (old?) watching the Space Shuttle shed itself of the Earth and boldly punch holes in the Ozone Layer with reckless abandon (that's for you 'greenies' reading this - hope you're wearning sun screen).  I was lucky enough to grow up during a period in America's History in which the miraculous became the expected.  I saw men walk on the moon (or DID they???  Had to throw this in for the Conspiracy Crowd - everyone else, I'm sorry) and I saw rocket-propelled giants launch Americans into space and return them, more often than not, safely again back to Earth. 

I saw men and women throw caution to the wind to chase their dream of becoming NASA Astronauts.

I watched America mourn the loss of two Space Shuttles. 

I watched Tuesday as Discovery was shipped to Washington, D.C. to become - a tourist attraction. 

The Obituary reads... Reports, 04/17/2012:    Shuttle Discovery takes a piggyback ride into posterity

WASHINGTON — Sitting on top of a modified Boeing 747 jet, the shuttle Discovery made a sentimental journey on Tuesday, visiting its old haunts in Florida as well as its new environs around the nation's capital. And thousands thronged to see it pass.

Tuesday's flight began just after dawn at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and ended at midday at Washington Dulles International Airport, adjacent to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.

Over the next two days, the world's most traveled space plane will be lifted off its perch on NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and readied for Thursday's official handover to the Smithsonian.

Although Discovery hasn't flown in space since its final mission to the International Space Station, more than a year ago, the ferry flight was even more definitive as a signal that a 30-year era in spaceflight was finally going into the history books.

In my lifetime I have witnessed wonders unimaginable when I was a kid growing up on Long Island.

Wonders, dreams, ambitions, goals, sparks of genius, whatever you want to call them, are inspirational to all who behold them. 

The death of yet another American milestone does not inspire the next generation - it merely foretells of the additional diminishment of our Nation.  Yet another indication of our rapidly accelerating decline into Mediocrity.

When I was young, dreams died hard.

As an older guy looking back I find that in 2012 dreams sometimes die without a whisper, a gasp, let alone a struggle. 

They die with the stroke of a Presidential pen. 

Welcome to the managed decline of America.  

Welcome to the tainted legacy of Hope and Change.

Welcome to the Mediocrity Dividend.

Four more years?


p.s.:  I read yesterday that there are 73% MORE Americans receiving Food Stamps than were four years ago.  President Obama's 'investments' continue to pay BIG Dividends...  

In case you're wondering?  Yeah, you're stroking those checks for our Nation's ongoing Mediocrity Dividends. 


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