The EXTREMES

Americans tend to go overboard emotionally, whether in elation, grief, victory, defeat, etc. The events of 9/11 have scarred the nation indelibly and have furnished the elements for some valid remembrances, whether planned or already instituted, not unlike the memorial to the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995…elaborate undertakings, sometimes costing a lot of money and sometimes taking up a lot of space…or both.

Such is currently the case in Pennsylvania. In order to memorialize the victims of United Airlines Flight 93 (40 passengers/crew), the effort is in process to turn 2,200 acres (nearly 3.5 square miles) into a memorial park, using eminent domain procedures to secure some of the land. The New York memorial plaza comprising 16 acres should be open by the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This, of course, is where the worst of the tragedies occurred, not in terms of the worth of lives lost, but of the quantities.

It’s almost as if death/tragedy/misfortune/grief, especially not as the result of a victim’s actions, such as fighting a war, are simply not to be expected and tolerated; therefore, humongous efforts must be made to somehow make them “mean something.” With the exception of the rescuers/responders killed on 9/11 while carrying out their duties, the victims just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time for disaster to strike. This does not diminish the losses; it merely suggests some perspective.

Memorials are in order, but nothing on the order of 3.5 square miles in downtown Manhattan or near the Pentagon, where the most tragedies took place, or anywhere else, for that matter. The Pentagon memorial, comprising only 1.93 acres adjacent to the installation, was opened last year. The Oklahoma City memorial facility comprises 3.3 acres. Sixteen acres of prime real estate in New York certainly seem adequate. The museums that accompany many memorials lack the meaning connected to the ones remarking the willing, conscious forfeiture of life for a cause considered worth dying for, such as the many connected to war memorials.

In a lighter vein, there seems to be no tolerance for anything causing…well, a problem. Terminologies change through the years, of course. The term “problem” seems to have become a problem – and therefore offensive – for many, perhaps because in a multiculturally, warmly, marvelously, grandly, truly politically correct society, also known as Eden/Camelot/Utopia/USA, there simply can’t be any problems.

So…now, instead of problems, there are “issues.” He and his wife had an issue, causing him to slam her against the wall, or he had an issue with his car, since it wouldn’t start or the coach and the university had an issue, so he was fired and paid only $3 million instead of the $4 million he claimed he was owed. Ah, problems can cause…well…problems, since they may not go away; issues, on the other hand, are inevitably susceptible to negotiation, the magic word currently, never mind that negotiations are possible only when ALL the negotiators are on the same, level field of integrity. Issues, indeed…what balderdash!

There once was something called a “used car.” Used? How dreadful, even for a simple car, must it be to be accounted as used? The word-police – okay with a little help from the commercial gang – found a better term…the “pre-owned vehicle.” Presumably, the pre-owners never drove the machines…they just owned the things, which actually were not cars, but the much more respected “vehicles,” which can be anything from a newspaper to a skateboard. There were once people with physical/mental handicaps, but now the only things handicapped are sporting events.

Folks with constraints are now “challenged” or “impaired,” but never handicapped, even if they’re on life support…they’re just breathing-challenged. If by chance they stop breathing, they’re not dead; rather, they’re merely living-challenged or existence-impaired. A high-school senior who can’t read is not ignorant. He’s just mentally challenged or perhaps print-impaired. If he rarely shows up for class and therefore flunks and consequently is forced to perform bank holdups for a living and (gasp) looked down upon as a result and thrown in jail, he is automatically grade-challenged and esteem-impaired, obviously through no fault of his own, since he apparently is also system-challenged…just can’t get along, thank you. Obviously, he should be made a ward of the state with a view toward turning him into a Rhodes scholar.

Government pooh-bahs got tired of being accused of raising taxes a number of years ago, never mind that raising taxes was simply de rigueur, as predictable as…well, taxes. So, the term that replaced taxes was “revenue enhancement.” The thinking, of course, was that American adults’ reading level was so low that they would never guess what it meant. The nation now is facing revenue-enhancement of such proportions that, if actually inculcated, it will devolve upon the progeny unto the biblical tenth generation…and beyond.

Much of this revenue-enhancement is called “stimulus.” Actually, it’s a rip-off of the taxpayer in order to pay-off the elite. But “stimulus” sounds so much better than either term…so Starbucks-like. Yum-m-m! The treasury secretary had a “lapse of memory” and therefore didn’t pay all of his taxes for four years. Actually, he just robbed the government, but memory-lapse is such a better-sounding issue. He got caught when he applied for the job and immediately paid-up for two whole years. The statute of limitations had run out on the other two, making him innocent, and statute of limitations sounds so much better than CHEATING!

Americans – as Veep Biden would say, “God love ’em” – are caught up in too much emotion sometimes and too much political correctness ALL the time. None of this is meant to be derogatory, just food for thought.