Let Them Eat Cake !
Let them eat cake !
Most well-read people are aware of the phrase and its origin, Marie Antoinette at the time of the French Revolution. These few words are now associated with a foolishly cavalier and superior attitude towards those around you, many of who are in dire need and ready to tip over the societal apple cart..
It wasn’t just poor Marie who was short sighted and later short headed. The Romanovs of Russia, The ruling elite of apartheid Rhodesia, and South Africa also felt the same way. They too were run over by the bulldozer of the inevitable tides of changing times around them.
Why didn’t they see the catastrophe coming and take measures to avert the fall, you might ask? The answer in part is because they didn’t want to see anything other than what they already believed. Everything is hunky dory and let the band play on.
Saint Thomas Aquinas is among the first philosophers who are associated with the doctrine of looking at things, not as you think they are, but as they really are. That sounds easy enough. But in practice, it is much harder concept to understand. The equivalent approach is to look for a mislaid item where the light is better, rather than where you lost it.
I see and feel this myopia now among the current national leadership of the Republican Party. Empirically, these seasoned politicos see and realize that they are about to become extinct, like the Whigs and a dozen other American political parties. Demographic projections for the next fifty years show a rising tide of Hispanic and African American voters swelling the numbers of the democrats and Independents. Any first year poli-sci student can tell you what will happen in the next few decades. And yet still there is the philosophical attitude of the national Republicans, of which I am a member, of “Let them eat cake!”
Any ward politician worthy of the name knows that you have to “have something offered” if you are to gain adherents to your cause. The “platform,” offered at all political conventions, is such an offering and a philosophical menu meant to appeal to the greater numbers and help carry the lads into office.
And yet, on the national republican ticket, we see nothing that will appeal to the rising number of voters who will decide who runs this country during the next century. The apparent attitude is “we have a good program. These folks should like what we do and vote for our candidates.” I think I see here the searching for something where the light is best, rather than where you might actually find something.
And the democratic party is just as bad. Spending your way into financial health is a mistake every family in America knows to be both short sighted and pure folly. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Both parties would rather argue about some esoteric philosophical hooey than work together to solve real problems that exist today in America. The light is much better for seeking solutions when the national television cameras are focused on the decision makers. And everyone wonders why the common folk wish that the politicos would just shut up and go away.
Why do I bother, some might ask? I am, after all, retired and enjoying the golden years of life. I don’t need the aggravation of politics in my life any more. I bother because I care about this country and its future, as I have always cared throughout my thirty years of involvement in government and politics. Our nation is being crushed by an ever-expanding debt that will take generations of our descendants to pay off and still the band plays on, and Chinese music at that. Money is handed out at the federal level like that of some dotty old pill pusher who needs to please his client base with narcotic inducements to keep them happy.
Everyone wants cost and program cuts, just not to their programs! Welfare is a drain some say, unless it is corporate welfare. That’s a horse of a different color. And of course no one wants a higher minimum wage. Let the peasants make bricks without straw. I think it was Egypt who espoused this philosophy until the axe fell on them.
Medical costs are skyrocketing. How do we fix that? No one seems to know. More importantly, no one seems to want to find out and do something about it. The light is too poor in that area to search properly I guess. Ditto with Immigration reform. How long will it be before that ticking time bomb explodes, do you think?
The inexorable tides of historical change come whether we wish them to or not. Those who identify the forces of historical imperative and adapt to its initiatives, survive. The others soon become just another historical footnote and a question in a jeopardy game category entitled “Who were those people?”
Joseph Xavier Martin