Have you had this discussion yet? It is 2012. This is the year the Mayan Calendar ends. However, I’m not sure about what day this happens. I’d look it up but the world of Wikipedia ended nearly 24 hours ago so I, like a lot of other people, are winging it today. We are presently as stupid as we were before Al Gore invented the Internet. Of course, the end was predicted twice (May 21 and then Oct 21 without as much trepidation as the first time – “The Cry Wolf Syndrome” ) in 2011 so I assume “this too will pass”, a saying that is not in the Bible. You can look that up on the Blue Letter Bible site, a website that has not blacked itself out in the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) protest. They want pirates to access the Bible.
The other day I was watching Sleepless in Seattle with a friend of mine. Do you realized that movie came out 19 years ago? Meg Ryan was married to Dennis Quaid and Rosie O’Donnell hadn’t yet gone off the deep end. Life was good; life was innocent. I had a good job. There was no such thing as iAnything. Computer searches were done on data bases that had no window or graphic interfaces. This was pre-Y2K. Snail mail and in person contact were the most prevalent means of stalking. Facebook was nothing but a typo. Back then a little kid could fly alone on a plane and Amber Alerts were not issued. You could meet your arriving party at the gate and security didn’t belong to the government. You could carry to and leave a backpack at the top of the Empire State Building, after convincing an elevator guard to let you go to the observation deck when it had already closed. And from that observation deck you could see the Twin Towers standing proudly over lower Manhattan.
This brought me to wonder about the end of life and having that discussion. I don’t mean what kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes. Sure that is important and you should have those discussions and have supporting documents in place. But what I am talking about is the end of the way of life in America, as we currently know it. For example, what you want in end of life health care might not be what the government gives you under ObamaCare.
You just rolled your eyes. Yep, most people do. The tendency for government is to slowly chip away at the citizen’s right and just as importantly, the citizen’s responsibilities. Most of the time we talk about what government has limited. We point to the constitution to say, “See, that bill or law violates this right.” Some of us say “this God given right”, but we have allowed others to take that saying away from us because it offends people who don’t have any god. (They do, but should I lose my right to say so when they claim otherwise?)
Government also assumes the responsibility of what the citizen should be doing for himself or his neighbor. That, my friend (sounds like John McCain), makes all of us fat, dumb and lazy when we allow and expect government to tax us to pay for food stamps, housing, unemployment and other socially accepted safety nets. Add in the socially accepted “entitlement” programs (Social Security, Medicare and ObamaCare) and the burden we have yoked ourselves with is staggering.
Current and future taxpayers face an enormous burden in trying to sustain the Medicare program as it is today. If our elected officials refuse to address rapidly rising Medicare spending, then it would perforce require Americans to pay taxes at a level far exceeding anything Americans have paid before. Social Security fairs no better. Fewer and fewer workers fund today’s and future benefit distribution. Most of us think we are entitled to these funds because we paid into it. The truth is if you were to receive all you paid in the benefit it would last you about 2.5 years! So get over it. You are entitled to nothing when nothing exists.
And this is why we should engage in end of life discussions. Because it is coming to an end. Look at Sleepless in Seattle. Would you ever imagine someone saying to you in 1993, “You know those Twin Towers? They will be knocked down by two airplanes in eight years. Gone.”
I’m saying, “You know those entitlement programs? Won’t be there if we don’t buck up.”
When I was a kid my older brother had a replica of the Mayan Calendar. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I remember studying the figures wondering what they said. The Mayan’s were not predicting the end in 2012. It was just that they couldn’t see any farther into the future. Short-sightedness? Naivety? I don’t know. Wikipedia is still down. You’ll have to look it up tomorrow.
But my sister is buying a farm (not buying the farm). She plans on chopping down trees and burning wood, killing chicken, raising trout and having lots and lots of guns. I’m just saying I think she is having that end of life discussion.