"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

High Noon Lessons For America's Lawmakers

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 12
Publish Date: 
Thu, 09/26/2013


With several political climaxes looming, it serves to recall “High Noon” starring Gary Cooper as Will Kane, the beleaguered marshal who single-handedly confronts paroled murderer Frank Miller and his gang. As civil society’s elected protector, Kane is a reluctant hero, abandoned by his cowering and self-interested townsfolk. Improbably victorious, he departs town, flinging his badge with contempt for the citizens who wouldn’t defend the rule of law on which their freedom, prosperity and security depend.


Though protagonists in our national Kabuki Theater claim to care about us, Think Again before allowing them to join Kane on the moral high ground. In verbal shootouts over Obamacare, the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and Syria, our lawmen resemble Kane’s fair-weather constituents for whom self-interest trumps the common good. By failing to anticipate and resolve America’s imminent threats before they reach High Noon climaxes, politicians undermine America’s interests and squander their legitimacy. 


There’s a Kane-like resentment smoldering in far-flung territories for lawmakers who trade political favors for donations; pass incomprehensible, lobbyist-written, and unread laws; and grant ever-increasing authority to the intrusive and unelected bureaucracy.  Lawmakers may arrive in Washington believing it’s a cesspool, but after harnessing governmental power and dispensing billions, they discover it’s a hot tub made inviting by the collusion of big government, big business and big special interests.


Yet while Washington booms, Americans endure depressed wages, economic stagnation, and high unemployment. To stimulate the sluggish economy, the Federal Reserve is continuing it’s near-zero interest-rate policy, cushioning the accounts of stock-market investors and bankers, while crushing the financial plans of ordinary Americans, imperiling retirement savings, and exacerbating income-inequality.   


Though Washington manufactures little beyond economically injurious legislation, regulations, and bills for taxpayers to fund, it enjoys the nation’s highest median household income, up 23 percent since 2000, compared to a 7 percent decline nationally.  That’s because federal spending ($3.5 trillion) now absorbs nearly one-quarter of the economy, up from 18 percent ($1.76 trillion) in 2000, causing a tripling of the national debt – a growth rate the Congressional Budget Office says is unsustainable. Furthermore, with unfunded liabilities exceeding $75 trillion and without reforms, Social Security and Medicare won’t exist for younger Americans.


Given this fiscal picture, and with tax revenues hitting a record high, can we trust politicians like Nancy Pelosi who now assert “the cupboard is bare; there’s no more cuts to make?” How can lawmakers claim to be for hardworking families and younger Americans without addressing the unsustainability of our growing debt and entitlement obligations, knowing these taxpayers must pay the bills?


Lawmakers’ rank hypocrisy and lawlessness were exposed this month when the White House agreed to grant Congress and its staffers a special exemption from Obamacare – the 2,700-page law they imposed on the citizenry – by continuing special taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies. This Washington self-dealing comes after granting over 2,000 waivers to political allies and illegally suspending major parts of the law, including the employer mandate and subsidy verification requirements -- fiats that invite rampant fraud at taxpayer expense.


So concerned with the law’s unintended consequences, the AFL-CIO declared it “will lead to the destruction of the 40-hour work week” while devastating “the health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.” As the New York Times reported last week, "having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers." Furthermore, as businesses skirt Obamacare’s expensive provisions by eliminating jobs and reducing hours, what difference does coverage for pre-existing conditions and 25-year old children make to those who lose their plans and doctors?


You know something's wrong with a healthcare law that results in fewer doctors, nurses, and hospital beds, but more IRS enforcers. And for those who insist the government stay out of your bedroom, steel yourselves to answer intrusive questions about your private life for data mining purposes -- or pay hefty fines.


As the country churns from Obamacare’s impacts, the clock approaches High Noon on budget and debt ceiling decisions to which escalating health care costs are central. Yet, the President declared Washington a negotiation-free zone, a curiosity since real outlaws like Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad are now negotiating partners.


Will President Rouhani of Iran, the planet’s largest exporter of terrorism, be next? Assad may now avoid using chemical weapons, but how many more innocents will die conventionally because two-years of American calls for Assad’s ouster -- and other saber rattling -- were empty cowboy rhetoric? 


With strategic planning and leadership, these policy cauldrons have solutions, though not when elected officials scurry from their moral duties, like High Noon’s townspeople.  There are scores of courageous Marshal Kane's in every town across America, except the one where the nation needs them most.


Think Again – wouldn’t you rally around this kind of leadership to avoid devolving into the Divided States of America?



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Melanie, this was your

Melanie, this was your finest; a concise composite of all the horribles. You missed Rouhani by only minutes, but nailed it prior. My first line says it all; there need be no embellishments.

Another good piece. This one

Another good piece. This one is sure to incur the wrath of your neighbors. How dare you call into question the destructive policies of those in power or the wisdom of the destructors! It will be interesting to see the level of vitriol employed in the letters to the editor.

My heart is breaking for our country. I fear it may be lost already.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Looks like Melanie may be

Looks like Melanie may be coming around to realization of our Corporate State. She formerly often defended the recent GOP, now what? China proves everyday that capitalism works quite well with an autocracy. The solution Melanie?

Anxious to see Melanie take a position against The Federal Reserve System, stay tuned, she seems to be turning to the left.

Your points are well taken.

Your points are well taken. Although for my self thinking again — it would not entice me to rally around any kind of leadership to avoid devolving into the Divided States of America. Since in my mind we are already a divided nation and I would not trust any kind of leadership at this time as they are all bought and paid for by big money and wall street.

Excellent analysis, Melanie.

Excellent analysis, Melanie. With the advent of modern technology, why not have them telecommute and end the morass that is Washington, DC? Perhaps if birds of a feather could not flock together, things might improve. At 64, I have my answer for my doctor's questions about my sex life. I'm being screwed by Uncle Sam, 24/7.

Thank you Melanie. Oh, for

Thank you Melanie. Oh, for some accountability in Washington. What will it take for the lo-info voters to start noticing some cause and effect from these destructive policies?

Exceeding the delicious

Exceeding the delicious writing is the brilliant thinking. Would love to see Melanie next tackle the stunning hypocrisy running rampant in our Capitol brought once again into the sunlight during the debt ceiling debates. Keep up the great work.

WOW – this one might be your

WOW – this one might be your best yet, Melanie !!!

Thanks so much for being a voice for the rest of us.

Melanie Sturm huh? Why are

Melanie Sturm huh? Why are you not more widely distributed? Pretty good take on most of the article, and a fair analogy. But I think you're way wrong on foreign policy, though.

Overall, it was very pleasant to see this in a newspaper, and glad to discover your website.

I read your column on High

I read your column on High Noon and was touched and amused. High Noon is my favorite move. I saw it in 1951 at the hight of the Korean War. At the time President Truman ( Will Kane) was standing up to North Korea (Frank Miller), because Miller was a murderer. No one in town (the rest of the world) was willing to risk their skins to help Will. Even his beautiful wife (Grace Kelly), a pacifist, turned against him. But Will prevailed and the town was saved. I met Gary Cooper's daughter and told her how much this film meant to me when I saw it, as a senior high school student in Brooklyn.

I wonder if you or Orna know much about the origin of the film and why I was amused in reading your blog. Carl Foreman, the creator and writer of High Noon was a member of the Communist Party and blacklisted when he refused to name names to the HUAC. John Wayne was his harshest critic. He eventually had to leave America and wrote several outstanding screen plays under false names. At his death, I think in the '70s, tributes poured in and he is recognized as one of Hollywood's geniuses. Carl must be smiling.

So it goes!

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