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The world is watching...
Michael O'Casey
Michael O'Casey's View from the Riverbank

According to virtually every news source, the United States is facing shortages in vital areas throughout the economy mostly due to labor shortages.  Recently my daughter hit a deer while driving to work, and the left side doors of her Chevrolet required replacements. The doors were ordered and arrived five months later. 

Nationwide almost every state needs qualified teachers and law enforcement officers.  Perhaps there are enough teachers to go around, but COVID-19 created a situation whereby many worked from home, and for various reasons some have decided not to come back.  Perhaps they found more lucrative means for putting meat and potatoes on the table or maybe they discovered life is less stressful at home at least until the first of each month. Government subsidies can’t last forever.

Another noticeable shortage for parents of school aged children involves school transportation.  Nearly all states have significant bus driver shortages.  Superintendents complain that their systems provide free CDL license training but drivers often leave to drive trucks for more money.

As for law enforcement, veteran officers are retiring or looking for work elsewhere. Apparently potential recruits don’t see lagging compensation as adequate for the long hours and liabilities. Military recruiters may be facing similar problems. 

In most states achievement scores indicate that students need face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers to progress adequately, and crime statistics including mass shootings on the streets and in public places certainly indicate that law enforcement numbers are not excessive. Surprisingly, although some advocates of defunding the police may be having second thoughts, some politicians apparently still believe that reducing the police presence and opening jail cell doors will somehow solve our problems. Obviously issues with Russia, China, North Korea and Iran indicate the continuing need for a sufficient and well trained U.S. military. 

These issues are just the tip of a gigantic iceberg of discontent sweeping the nation. Border issues, gangs, fuel prices, droughts, fire in the west, floods in the heartland and more, demand, but don’t seem to be getting, the attention necessary from our political leadership. 

So what is the fundamental problem and solutions?  For certain, many would argue that most problems germinate from hyper-partisan political seeding.  Each party finds it advantageous to blame the opposition for any and everything with little or no evidence.  Truth is virtually non-existent as far left Democrats and far right Republicans appear hell bent to totally annihilate the opposition. Additionally, some politicians seem to view the Constitution as little more than a dusty old document that is relevant only when it provides leverage for partisan aspirations. 

First of all we must agree that no person is above the law.  That applies to Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton, or anyone regardless of position or political affiliation.  Until laws are more uniformly enforced regardless of party or position, confidence in our system will continue to erode. In virtually all cases throughout history when there was a significant loss of faith in the government, quick fix solutions were usually very bloody. The French and Russian Revolutions and the rise of Nazi Germany are modern examples. When a runaway locomotive of unrestrained ambition leaves the station unimpeded, catastrophic train wrecks will happen. 

Secondly, for all the short term political benefits of a totally outrageous lie, the truth will surface, and truth promotes trust.  Enough said.  

For 235 years we have been able to overcome our divisions during the worst of times and move forward for the good of the nation.  Even after that terrible slaughter when family members sometimes killed each other during the American Civil War, our ancestors eventually regained their senses and came together.  We have a solemn duty to do the same if we hope to survive in the shrinking 2022 global community.  During the Civil War, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans helped isolate the United States from Europe and Asia.  That condition does not exist today.  The world, including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, is watching and waiting.