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The Story of the Year: Negotiating with Loony People

January 29, 2013
Thomas J. Mackell, Jr., President, Association of Benefit Administrators

It is ironic that the same people who want to put guns into schools are supported by those who choose to pull a "Thelma and Louise" and go racing over the fiscal cliff.

Most people want to resolve these two issues immediately. While others on the right want to reflect and avoid the debate until later. We have been waiting for "until later" for a long time on policies that have severe consequences for the populace.

Are we witnessing a cadre of people who are totally comfy with the notion of suicide or do these folks care so little about the future of America that they are prepared to witness our nation's demise? 

We are so terribly divided in this country that one has to wonder if we will ever move back to the center and to civil discourse to resolve our many complicated issues. The American people have become bone-tired from Congress' dysfunction.

What must our allies think about the state of affairs in the USA, a country that they have revered for decades?

Have we lost our minds or have we become so numb and dumbfounded by Washington's dysfunction that we are willing to settle back and accept the notion that some things will never change?

Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, was quoted as saying that he would " rather die on his feet, than live his life on his knees." Strong words reflecting a passionate commitment to doing the right thing and fight injustices.

Some would argue that perhaps that is a bit extreme. I say, rather, how long can we tolerate the behavior of leaders who are determined to destroy this great nation of ours by beating down on workers and their unions or on those who have lost their jobs and the only thing that stands between them and poverty is unemployment benefits. Or the millions of law-abiding citizens that rely so desperately on Social Security and Medicare to get through their "golden years."

There has not been a tax increase in this country since the early nineties and we have been spending like drunken sailors. When do we come to the realization that there is no such thing as a free lunch?

When are we going to rally the support of the new Americans–the Latin-Americans, Asian- Americans, African Americans, progressive women and the rising, engaged youth who care about this country, who re-elected the President
over the half-wit who ran against him, to stand up to the Loonies?

The fiscal cliff is not the answer for so many who are already suffering economically, nor is guns in schools going to deter mad men who are hell-bent to wreak havoc on other peoples lives.

In Miami, there is a 40 year old teacher who has stage-four brain cancer and has gone through three surgeries, 2 and one-half years of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation but, sadly, he is losing his battle. Yet, as he faces his imminent
death, he is now traveling the country to meet with some of the 3,000 students he taught over 15 years to ask them if they felt that he made a difference in their lives.

Will any of the dysfunctional members of Congress ever get a satisfactory answer from their constituents as to whether they made a difference? My suspicion is that millions of people will be giving them the thumbs down.

Come on America, let's route out the real bad guys before we are all forced to succumb to their madness and live our lives on our knees!

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