Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The primary definitions of myopic are: 1. Nearsighted; unable to see distant objects clearly. 2. Shortsighted; lacking foresight; narrow-minded.

Few events more clearly demonstrate the myopic nature of a significant segment of American citizenry than the quadrennial election cycle during which a leader is chosen to serve as President of the still most powerful and influential nation on the globe. The pandering appeals to this segment abound with images of Easy Street where government stands ready to insure that no one goes home sick, hungry, or in tattered clothing.

The visions of Shangri-La are carefully crafted to emphasize the present, while scrupulously avoiding any mention of the sacrifice necessary to build, much less maintain, such a utopia. The enormous sacrifices of those who’ve gone before are relegated to transcendent mythology. Something not really expected of contemporary citizenry who are limited by time and space, unlike the heroes of history.

Time and again this segment of society has floundered in the morass of unrequited expectations. The youth, led to believe that individual initiative is futile, wandering the streets seeking outlets for growing frustration, fear, and rage become fertile targets for the drug pusher, sex merchant, and intimidator. Young girls learn early the benefits and favors which accrue to those of their sex willing to make merchandise of their natural attributes. Middle-aged men and women fear for their progeny, while grasping time and again for the brass ring which seems always just beyond their grasp. The elderly hobble through each day and wonder where the years, their strength, and their dreams have gone.

Yet during the election cycle, they once again are enamored with the promises of a new and different path to the corner of Easy Street and Soft Living Boulevard, where they can live their lives unencumbered with the responsibility for maintaining that corner. Someone better equipped and somewhat transcendent will assume total care for those living near that corner. That individual is not only rich beyond their wildest imagination, but is anxious to shower them with his largess.

And so, quadrennial election after quadrennial election, they are loaded upon buses and transported to voting booths where helpers carefully guide them in casting their vote for this transcendent entity who will finally and most certainly effortlessly transport them to the corner of Easy Street and Soft Living Boulevard in the city of Shangri-La.

Oh, for a genuine leader who will dispel the myth and tell them the truth about the cost of living effectively in the world. A leader who will call for sacrifice, dedication, and socially responsible behavior in order that they might raise themselves up to become contributors to society. A leader who doesn’t pander to myopic desires, but who paints a panoramic mural showing the real consequences and real rewards at the end of the far journey. A leader who preaches that wise personal choices are the only possible path to success. A leader who says, “We’ll point the way, but no one will do it for you.”

© 2008 Mike Rasberry