There’s the story about the man who fell out of a window on the 80th floor of a building. He was heard to exclaim as he passed the 50th floor, “So far, so good.” Like the falling man we know we are in trouble, but haven’t a clue how to save ourselves. There are demonstrations and political debates, nightly news and reality TV. Life goes on in America as we fall.

The political theater of the absurd that was the Super Committee is yet another floor we have plummeted past; another sign of our disarray. Our problems are not Wall Street or a gridlocked Congress. They are the symptoms, along with others, of the more fundamental erosion of our democracy and its ability to function for the larger benefit of our society, as opposed to for the benefit of the few.

As Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.” Only this buck stops with us. We are going to have to save ourselves. Our elected representatives surely won’t. Nor will unfocused occupations and other expressions of frustration. The book, America Adrift, points out that we have to take action. We have to reform our political processes and remove the corrosive impact of money from our elections and from our decision-making. We have to demand more from our schools and our media, and reorder our priorities in order to do so. Most importantly, we have to start opening our eyes and our ears to one another in order for us to see and discuss what we share in common. That may just lead to the bridge that breaks our fall.

 

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