We must focus on real issues

Dec 17 2010 - 3:06pm

I do not at all agree with the president's decision to compromise with the elephants presently thundering through Washington and shilling for the most wealthy in our nation.

But at the same time, I understand that these are the people who must be dealt with, good or bad, right or wrong, fake or real.

But we're losing sight of seeing what is actually going on in this country and the world. The debate over the Bush tax cuts is just another decoy.

The attention on all of the melodrama about the unfortunate, intimidated billionaires who cannot handle a return to former tax rates is pure bunk.

Such short-range thinking has brought the nation close to collapse before the big fights even begin. There are presently more people in China studying English than there are Americans literate in that language.

Did this happen overnight? No. The Chinese did the work necessary to become the threat that they now are. In that sense, they're like everyone else in the world trying to push us into a bog where the shortsighted, the dysfunctional and the incompetent meet their doom.

I remain optimistic about the nation's ability to face the inevitable handwriting on the wall and let go of the partisan melodramas that run around the clock on talk radio and Fox News.

These are scripted by the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Rupert Murdoch and the cast of the hired entertainers who send out typhoons of hot air, hysterically fogging the windows through which we should see our country's condition with intellectual clarity.

But that is surely one of those sinful ideas the ignorant attribute to the "elites" of the left.

Our nation now exists in a state of illusion quite similar to that faced by the characters of the new film "The Fighter." A near-contender finally has to stand up to the facts of his troubles: His family manages him poorly, makes quite dumb decisions and resists paying attention to anyone truly interested in having the protagonist win a championship belt.

This team includes his brother, a fighter once fairly good who has since become addicted to crack and functions in a jittery smog created by his own delusions, as well as his insipid sisters and his extraordinarily powerful mother, who has yet to recognize that her favorite son is now a crackhead.

What the hero of the film must do can serve as a good road map for the nation. Like him, we must look at what is holding us back and what we need to do in order to become a champion in a state beyond pipe dreams.

There is no doubt that our country has set the pace for international innovation and once created products that were admired the world over.

In far too many cases, however, that is no longer true, and we have not done enough in order to secure a better fate for this nation.

So we have to reset our clocks and stand up to the challenge of remaking our educational system, and walk away from all of this fluff passing itself off as information when it is mostly advertising.

We have to forget the false claim that the biggest threat to all of us is suspending the Bush tax cuts and cease giving in to a time-wasting debate over religious and scientific explanations for what happens in the natural world.

This is just the beginning. But like a debilitating disease, these problems will not go away because we point away from them or pretend that they do not exist.

We should be well past the time for pretending.

Stanley Crouch can be reached by e-mail at crouch.stanley@gmail.com.

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