Balloons, Balloons, Balloons!
Balloons, balloons, balloons! Decades ago, a Tucson businessman name Sid Omansky ran commercials for his appliance store – which focused on selling color television sets – with the tagline Balloons, balloons, balloons. (Competitor Ted Flash TV ads, voiced by talented Frank Kalil, closed with “Open … and Sundays after church.”)
I thought of Sid’s because of the balloon controversy. What a load of nonsense! Pure, unadulterated Nonsense!!!
First, does anyone think China will learn anything significant – anything it can’t learn by other means – by floating a great big airbag over our nation? That we risked our national secrets because we didn’t shoot the effing thing down before it left the Pacific Ocean? Or, if we blew it to smithereens west of our West Coast, that the blowhards wouldn’t rant about how we lost a chance to find out more about China’s intentions?
China spies on us. We spy on China. (Substitute for any other nation that matters, and that includes allies. Cf. Jonathan Pollard, the American who sold our secrets to Israel.) Satellites provide much of the knowledge nations obtain from one another. Human intelligence provides more. And, apparently, balloons offer a platform. Who knew? Well, maybe the United States of America, as it sounds like maybe we have used balloons from time to time.
Second, we have Congress. The handwringing! It’s overwhelming and embarrassing, frankly. I guess it offers, for those who crave attention like I want brownies, a chance to avoid the hard work associated with solving for guns, immigration, Fentanyl, etc. Television appearances, looking solemn and agonizing about objects in the sky, or trying to solve for 70+ mass shootings in 45 days. Hmm, I think I’ll take Television Appearances for $500.
One form of Congressional action – mostly, from the Senate side – really sets my teeth to clattering: the Gang, which is usually a Gang of Eight. Four per side come together to bloviate and act like they’re fixing a problem. We have an administrative apparatus that runs our country, and Senate committees that exist to oversee stuff. Nevertheless, when something happens, here comes a Gang, acting like the collective sagacity of its members offers our only hope for survival and salvation.
The WE That Is US
Finally, we have Us, the regular people. People who get their information from cable TV and think they know what they’re talking about. Fretting about our being invaded. (Oh my gosh, not shooting the balloon down until it reached the South Carolina shore will have us all learning Mandarin and eating with chopsticks.)
Our government lacks a perfection gene. People run it. They make mistakes. Lots of them, for sure, but we only focus on the problems. We don’t hear about so much that runs so well, day in and day out. We’re entitled to expect a smooth ride, we think. For damn near nothing, by the way. (The U in a Venn diagram of Government Sucks and Overtaxed is large.)
Most of the people who work for me – I reference those whose wages my tax payments support – work hard and try their best. They deal with complicated matters so I don’t have to. I have no right to know everything about what’s happening, and the fact that my government does not share everything comforts me. Maybe, just maybe, a good reason exists to not share!
I am also confident that China does not threaten me or my family, although I worry often about my country’s future. Why? Because I live among too many people who know nothing about democracy? Nothing about Us, as opposed to Me. By the way, that group overlays Government Sucks and Overtaxed very neatly.
Note: My opinions belong to me, and when I write about non-legal matters I am not speaking for Rubin & Bernstein PLLC or Southern Arizona Fiduciary Services LLC.