You Can’t Have It Both Ways

When my daughter was in kindergarten in the small town of Lincoln, a wave of enthusiasm swept through her small classroom for vegetarianism and, like many of her friends, Anna announced to us she was a vegetarian. We honored her choice and several days later, when running errands in the metropolis, her older brother asked if we could go to Al’s and get a burger. I agreed and when we got there suggested Anna could have a grilled cheese sandwich. Somewhat offended by my suggestion, she opted for a burger. When I reminded her of her earlier decision, she expressed surprised that vegetarianism precluded having a hamburger.
President Obama is a grown up, however, and should veto the bill emerging from Congress exempting air traffic controllers from the sequestration impacts. We either have the courage of our convictions or we don’t.
Sequestration, rightly or wrongly, was designed to inconvenience not only wealthy air travelers, but also kids in Head Start, military personnel, people in the criminal justice system, kids dependent on hot lunch, campers in our national parks, single mothers and their children, and those needing a leg up while they search for a job. It is simply disingenuous to carve out one inconvenience and leave the others.
Our tax code, criminal justice and healthcare systems, and even our much vaunted public education system have succumbed to this corrosive double standard that differentiates between those in these systems with money and influence and those without. When combined with the increased polarity of wealth and job opportunity, it compromises our very future as a great nation.
Congress itself has become a facsimile of the growing divide between those with great wealth and those still working hard to participate. For reasons clear to most Americans, the legislative system failed those it was supposed to help with sequestration the sad outcome. Unable to reconcile the deep division in Congress, our elected officials opted for a nuclear option. The “bomb” has gone off. Are we now going to build “bomb shelters” only for those with influence and power?

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