Tuesday, December 8, 2015

50/50

December 8. Only 17 days until Christmas. Only two weeks until I shut the business down for 2015. It's been a nice year, not spectacular, but nice, and I'll take it. I have voluntarily offered the FEDS access to my checking account on the 15th of every month, on which day they have extracted ridiculous amounts of money. The State of Virginia gets their shot on the 25th. If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not. Taxes are the tribute we owe our government for the privilege of living in a free country with cleanly paved streets, police and fire protection, and a dependable electric grid. We can argue amounts and rates all day,(and I have!!), but I have no complaints about paying taxes, and if you do, spend a few days in Sudan!

Politics in America is a dysfunctional mess. We are polarized, angry and susceptible to loud blowhards with orange hair, if polls are to be believed. With the attack in San Bernardino, we are increasingly frightened by the prospect of a fifth column of Jihadists stalking around ready to pounce at the slightest provocation. Gun sales are through the roof as are calls by sheriffs and college chancellors for average ordinary citizens to obtain concealed carry permits and begin packing heat in public to protect against crazed Islamist attacks. Now I'm not sure who to be more afraid of...Abdul Mohammed, or Bubba with the hair trigger. Yeah, nothing screams security like a 20 year old eager to open a can of whup-ass on an A-rab!

But, maybe a reversion back to our Wild West roots is inevitable when the FEDS to whom we pay our taxes don't seem terribly interested or adept at fighting back. Listening to the President the other night wasn't exactly the most reassuring twenty minutes of my life. He may have said the right words in places, but he delivered them in that bored, detached way that communicated much more than his actual words could ever have..."I can't believe I'm going to be late to the Kennedy Center!" When he tries to talk tough about terrorism he reminds me of my parents back when Paula and I were fighting in the back of the car on those long trips between New Orleans and Nickolsville, Alabama back in the day. Dad or Mom would look in the rear view mirror and say with absolutely zero conviction, "Don't make me come back there!!" It was a frustrated, plaintive plea for us to please, please, PLEASE settle down!" But both of us knew that there was no chance that Mom was going to suddenly leap across two rows of car seats and throttle us, making good on her threats. Same thing with Obama. He's only got 13 more months, and he's a freaking Nobel Peace Prize winner for God's sake. No way he's going after ISIL in a way that might damage his legacy. Besides, he's got a memoir to write.

Which may be just as well. He doesn't know how to fight terrorism any more than I do. The answer isn't simply...Carpet bomb 'em!! Every action has a reaction. We think we have a refugee problem now? Wait until you see the hoards pouring into Europe after we've carpet bombed what's left of Syria and Iraq! It will take a more active and coordinated military action than we have managed so far, but how much more active is a subject of intense debate, even among military types. Whoever the next President is will have some extremely difficult decisions to make.

Meanwhile, there's Christmas. 17 days until the big day. What are the chances that there will be another horrific attack between now and then? I'm thinking 50/50.