Like many of you, I watched as CNN detailed the story of this man from my dad's hometown who flew his private plane into a building. I've seen the punditry explain it. I've read the manifesto. I've read transcripts of some ultra-radical talk show hosts which try to pin this incident on President Obama and the government. On taxes, health care and more.
The bottom line is that this man felt so exploited by the government that he felt there was no other recourse for him other than to make one last statement in life... a statement which ended in the destruction of a building and before the television cameras of the world's media which, of course, loves to televise a good disaster.
The disaster here is not that this man was obviously deeply troubled.
The disaster here is that a middle class man felt abandoned by his government, and then, felt that the government wanted to take what little dignity he had left because, well, he had it and he owed it.
Imagine what might have been going through his head...
He watched as our elected go round and round on healthcare, all the while the insurance companies raise rates even higher than ever before. He watched as people went broke as insurance companies paid out bonuses funded with the money which they essentially stole by denying genuine claims. He watched while insurance companies let patients die and our elected leaders did nothing.
Let me say that again. He watched people die at the hands of an industry which has paid our elected officials to do absolutely nothing.
Google the word 'co-conspirator.'
Imagine what he thought about Wall Street and the bailout. Executives at companies which brought our economy to it's knees were given billions and billions of dollars of our tax dollars to "shore them up" while their executives were handed millions in bonuses... while he had the IRS taking his last $10 grand.
Oh, and the companies? Big business? Corporate America? Yeah, well, they're barely paying any taxes anyway and using loopholes to lessen the burden.
After talking to DM at work about it, I read this man's manifesto. And while I do not agree with his decisions and his actions, I don't completely disagree with some of his reasoning.
His frustration and our government's inability to get anything done is shared by so many in America's middle class. It's not about conservative or liberal. It's about real needs. People need healthcare. The middle class does NOT need to shoulder the load of our nation's tax burdens. Government needs to get some work done and it needs to stop the endless cycle of rhetorical bullshit which passes as our national discourse.
Washington DC - and in particular - the inability of our politcal parties to get anything done - is the reason, to me, this man cracked and did what he did today. It's because of republicans and democrats who care more about the special interests than they do about people who are just trying to live the American dream.
I don't agree with his actions. But I understand his frustration.
This incident should be a wake up call to anyone -- regardless of party -- who is an elected representative of the people. It's not about Obama. It's not about taxes.
It's about one man from the middle class, struggling to live the American dream, who was tired of shouting for attention from his elected leaders...
... and hearing nothing in return.
We need to fix the problems in DC. It starts with making sure the elected officials actually give a damn about something other than themselves.
I'm going to watch some more CNN now. I hope we can fix this before even worse incidents happen.
We're a better country than this.