As we go about our everyday lives, it is comforting to see that nothing has changed, despite what you may see or read in the main stream media or your social media of choice. The streets and towns and people and shops and routines appear as they always have. Take comfort in that every time you leave your home. After all, nothing has really changed in your life.
But know too, that it is an illusion.
The foundations upon which our nation and institutions were built are being quietly undermined in myriad ways, on a daily basis. The façade of our great nation is at risk of becoming just that, a façade, draped with American flags.
We are led by a man without mores or morals, whose incessant lies are an assault on reality. His attacks on the independence of the Justice Department, the FBI, the judicial system and the free press should raise alarms for us all, regardless our political affiliations. Scientists are being purged from various federal panels and the idea of “science” itself is being vilified. Words such as climate change and evidence based are being scrubbed from federal websites, as if that will make those issues disappear.
Our federal lands are being taken away and will be sold or leased for the short term gain of corporations and their shareholders. Regulations governing corporations are being gutted, without regard to the environment or the safety or well being of workers. Corporations are not people, despite the Citizens United ruling. Their fiduciary responsibility is to themselves and their shareholders only. They do not have “our” best interests as their goals. The loss of net neutrality is the latest example of their gain, our loss, despite whatever rationale you may hear.
Our nation’s safety net is about to be weakened. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security face an uncertain future and will likely be pared back in order to help reduce the $1.5 trillion deficit that will result from “tax reform.” Millions will lose what health insurance they have. The CHIP program in Virginia has not been renewed, and will expire Jan. 31, affecting 33 percent of the children in our area. If you are lucky enough to get a tax break, it could very well be dwarfed by a rise in your insurance premiums.
The illusion of normalcy in our daily lives and towns can’t be sustained forever. When that illusion is gone, there will be very little comfort in the reality that remains.
Dr. Mark Pierce is a Maurertown resident.