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Robert Stepp: Where are we headed?

Robert Stepp
Other Voices

Rene Descartes reasoned, “I think, therefore I am.” That logic has morphed today into something akin to, “I exist; therefore, I am entitled.”

With that entitlement should come accountability and responsibility, but regrettably those concepts are becoming more and more remote from entitlements.

Kennedy had one thing right: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

However imperfect and flawed the United States is, it is still the best nation on the planet. It is a highly coveted destination. Could it be better? Yes. But if it has become so terrible, so divided, so partisan, why do people from around the world still want to come here in droves? Coming to this country means accepting our values, our language, our culture, our laws, and yes, our borders not wholesale change. We have become so distracted by “issues” we cannot see the forest for the trees.

Why is local government racing to build housing for (homeless people)? If you build it, they will come — and come they will.

There is consideration being given to providing medical care for noncitizens. Why? We are incapable of taking care of what we have without further complicating the process by including even more people in the system. There is talk of granting voting rights to noncitizens just because they are here. Why? There are obligations and responsibilities associated with the privilege of voting, and those are completely cast aside when we absorb noncitizens into the process. We will be reducing jail time and excuse convicted felons from the penalty of having their voting right revoked. Why? They have demonstrated indifference to the rule of law — why should they have any role in creating the law?

Why is there no time, energy, effort being expended to provide some form of employment for the homeless? Why is local government racing to build housing for them? If you build it, they will come — and come they will. Is anyone thinking about when it will stop? What infrastructure, beyond housing is being considered or preparations made for when the flood gates open? Has any thought been given to unintended consequences and what the capacity of the community can sustain and support?

Did anyone else notice that once the election was over, all road repairs and improvements suddenly stopped? Was it because the funds dried up, or because the appearance of “getting it done” went away when the threat of Prop. 6 dissolved? So now we are left, again, with the deception that the gas tax/vehicle fees are for infrastructure (is it possible that is the real source of Brown’s budget surplus?)

Did anyone notice (or care) that a U.S. senator was accosted in an elevator during the Kavanaugh hearings by a professional political agitator who is part of a “bird dog” team. Her screams of “look at me” were a bit hollow when put into the full context of the situation. She may in fact have experienced misogyny or sexual harassment, but it did not justify her behavior or the staging and tenor of the confrontation. That behavior has become acceptable. Where does it stop?

Gov. Newsom and his predecessor want to take on the federal government, and purportedly “fix it.” Seems like a better approach would be to clean up California first. Newsom wants money for education. Why not fix the lottery charade and divert all its profits to education, not just the pittance it has become? If Newsom thinks he is leading by example, he needs to find better, more rationale examples to emulate.

Did anyone else notice that the news about the tragic death of a child suddenly went away once it was determined that the shooter was not white? If black lives matter, should it make any difference who pulled the trigger? I believe all lives matter and that movement has become a very divisive and detrimental mantra that is demeaning to all people.

If you think politics are dirty, don’t look in the mirror. No aspect of life that is untouched by politics. It is present in the family, in marriage, in church, at work, at school, in the community. We don’t always get what we want. There has to be some compromise, some concessions. However, we need to think very carefully about consequences and there must be accountability.

We have to expend effort and commitment to enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship. There has to be consequences for behaviors and actions that are not acceptable. There has to be foresight and long-term thinking, not just expediency and self-serving behavior.

Robert Stepp lives in Cedar Ridge.


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