The Plimsoll Line of Disaster
Viewers of the old T.V. program "M.A.S.H.," know that gallows humor is one of the ways American soldiers and Marines deal with the stress of combat. Sailors know of the Plimsoll line marked on the hulls of ships, showing how much load a ship can take on before a ship becomes overloaded and sinks beneath the surface of the water.
In Vietnam, our gallows humor sometimes suggested that we load the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army on one giant ship to the shipís Plimsoll line. Then, load all our supposed South Vietnamese allies on another giant ship to its Plimsoll line. The final steps: Sink both ships and come back to the good old USA.
Given the current state of Americaís ship-of-state, one wonders if Americaís ship is marked along its hull with a Plimsoll Line of Disaster. Are we about to reach a point where voter disgust with both major political parties and their two nominees (one a crime-family crook and the other compulsively crass) sinks our entire political and economic system into the watery depths of history?
It is not a matter of political partisanship to observe: The last eight years have seen our racial divisions made worse, that Wall Streetís one-per-centers are richer, senior-savers are poorer, that border control is a dangerous joke, that our wounded Veterans are not properly cared for, that the Detroit stimulus bail-out resulted in General Motors building the Cadillac CT6 and the Buick Envision in Red China. That Italyís Fiat now owns Chrysler which now builds the Jeep Cherokee in Red China. That ObamaCare, after robbing Medicare of $216 billion, is falling apart state health-insurance exchange by state health-insurance exchange, that the premature withdrawal of our armed forces from Iraq led to ISIS, that US promotion of the Arab Spring resulted in the rise of radical Islam, that our troops and diplomats were left to die in Benghazi, and that Vladimir Putinís actions in the Middle East, Crimea, the Baltic, and cyberspace demonstrate Putin thinks Russia is, once again, a match for the USA, and that Iran is now poised to shut off the flow of oil from both sides of the Arabian Peninsula.
Of course, there are plenty of fingers to be pointed at President Obama and former Secretary Clinton for this mess. Moreover, many fingers can be pointed at the Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress for failing to do anything to arrest Americaís descent toward the current Plimsoll Line of Disaster. Now, the question arises: Who is going to fix what has gone wrong? Who is going to restore the balance of power between the three branches of our national government? Who is going to rein in a regulation-spewing federal bureaucracy run amuck? Who is going to stop the IRS from favoring one political group over another?
In our representative republic, eligible voters are supposed to steer the ship of state away from the rocky shoals of disaster. November 8, 2016, is likely to be a major turning point in American history. Gentle readers, thatís an awesome responsibility. But, in the final analysis, only you can steer us in the right direction.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the Army Language School, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2016. William Hamilton.