Please forgive me. But for all the ironic and scary things going on in the news lately, one headline this past week caught my eye more than the others. That’s right, you guessed it. It was the fire atop the Colossus roller coaster at the Magic Mountain theme park in California.
To help you understand its relevance to this column, I might need to remind you that it was the roller coaster of note in the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and lampooning vacations is what this country should be making its national pastime when critiquing the actions of our elected leaders and legislatures.
Let’s start with the easy one: Joe Biden. I say easy because every time this man makes a speech, its cannon fodder top to bottom in ridiculousness. To start, let’s go to old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Oh, that’s right, it no longer exists. And even without walls, seats, or anything resembling a stadium, the venue was more than large enough to handle the crowd that numbered in the “hundreds” for the vice president’s very important speech to the working men and women of our country on Labor Day.
Imagine the courage it takes to address the union workers and leaders and a “few politicians” and complain they aren’t getting paid enough, blaming it all on Republicans and telling folks to “take their country back” (that is gutsy considering who’s been in charge of it the past six years or so) all while calling anyone who opposes his viewpoint a racist. Now imagine making that speech to the poor, struggling working folks while wearing a golf shirt from Sebonak Country Club telling folks they don’t have any money to spend. How does one not lampoon this talking-point-hypocrite considering that Sebonak costs members $650,000 to JOIN?
Speaking of up in smoke, our pot smokin’, votin’, every day is a vacation because marijuana is legal and the tax coffers are overflowing lovers got a bit of a wakeup call over summer vacation. It seems as though the projected revenue of $35 million to $100 million dollars in the first six months of legalization vaporized into thin air. With a take of only $11 million over that time frame, once again the laws of unintended consequences have politicians befuddled. Then again, maybe not. After all, it got a heavily Democratic leaning constituency out to vote to keep the Dems in charge in Colorado.
But that won’t stop top pot consumers from going online with the illusion that somehow pot has never caused an auto accident, 15 percent of the $100 million in tax revenues (for those on the product while reading this, that’s $15 million, a number larger than actual $11 million collected) is being spent already to improve schools, tourism numbers are up and traffic deaths are down, all due to this landmark legislation. What’s next, using gambling to fund schools?
As a matter of fact it is. Leading the way on this “Road to the National Reservation” are so-called conservatives who think capitalizing on another vice, casino gambling, is the panacea to all our lack of tax funding ills. Seriously, let’s just get out the peyote, hookers, every illegal drug, cigarettes and booze and put them on EBT cards for all. Then we could finally get a fence around our borders to keep us all “comfortably numb” so we don’t fly the “cuckoo’s nest.” After all, there’s nothing like a willing populace lining up for its free stuff from the folks in the government who care so much about schools and roads and stuff.
Don’t get me wrong, while I realize that booze, gambling, drugs and the rest will continue to be part of our society (and yes, I partake in some of these “vices”), I just don’t have any desire for the government to control them. “Then who will regulate them?” the minions cry out. “Who can we trust?” Um, how about the same folks our founders trusted to take care of our lives: Us. Can we please stop with the illusion that when the government gives you something or controls something, it’s always for your own good.
And last, but never least, is the optical illusion we actually have a concerned president. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can take back what Obama called “bad optics” on his going golfing and yucking it up with his posse after giving a statement about the beheading of an American reporter in the Middle East. Seriously, there’s no one in his intimate circle that thought taking off to a private, exclusive, golf course within five minutes — knowing full well every detail and move made by our president is reported by the press (except of course just what he does in the White House) — was a bad idea?
But as Obama himself said, “It’s tough when you’re on vacation as president,” and he’d like “a vacation from the press” at times as well. I bet he would. Then again, many Americans would like to take a vacation and enjoy the shore, an amusement park, Vegas — and yes, from the government. But they can’t. Because Sheriff Joe is right, “We don’t have the cash in our pockets.” Either to go or to lobby.
We just keep voting for politicians and legislation with delusions of grandeur.