The weather is sunny, the grass is green and the roses are blooming, but as I watch the news and read the paper, I become sad at the violence, poverty and brutality in the world we live. I worry because income inequality is staggering, education and infrastructure are crumbling and moneyed interests are taking over our democratic process.
Just as Rome had its glory days and rose to world prominence, its lavish lifestyle for the few contributed to its fall. Corruption and the improper use of power by the Roman leaders and the courts, along with a decline in innovation of ideas and products, took its toll on Rome and caused a once strong empire to collapse. As we become more of a two-class society, question the religious freedoms of those who aren't Christians, and spend heavily on military defense funding numerous wars, we are neglecting the values that made our country great and are setting ourselves up for a fall much like the Romans.
As I was reading the good news that 60 of the 300 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped had escaped the terrorist organization Boko Haram, I couldn't help but feel sadness for those still in captivity. I struggle to understand why Islamic extremists and others want to keep young women from an education that would help them and their country get out of poverty.
I'm sad about the three Israeli teenagers killed, and the Palestine teen killed. I wish the Middle East could find a way to live together in peace, rather than to spend so much human, intellectual and monetary resources on war. Today, as the missiles fly and war rages on with Hamas, I watch as the body count of dead and wounded on both sides mount. The misery these families are suffering is immeasurable, and for what?
I'm sad for the way we treat our veterans when they return from war... that they don't receive proper and timely medical attention. With veteran suicide rates on the rise, our country needs to provide better support to those who fight for our freedom.
I'm sad about the 50,000 immigrant children on the border who were living with terrible violence and poverty. They made the hard choice to leave their families and homes and risk migration to the U.S. in hope of finding a better life. Yet Speaker Boehner won't even take up the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate a year ago. Republicans harp on the immigration problem but, they don't work to find a solution.
I'm sad that three people are killed and seven are wounded in America every hour by a gun, yet Congress is more concerned about what the NRA wants, than what Americans desire. Congress continues to support minimal background checks, assault weapons and large magazine clips, rather than sensible gun regulations.
I'm sad our world is being compromised. Fracking is destroying our clean water and causing destructive earthquakes, and global warming is melting our glaciers, yet Republicans deny climate change. They refuse to spend money to fix potholes, crumbling roadways and deteriorating bridges, many of which were damaged by extreme weather.
I'm sad that Republicans have no math skills and can't figure out that if you raise the minimum wage, more people will have money to spend, more products will be sold and more jobs will be created... thus everyone wins.
I'm sad this SCOTUS is no longer an impartial, non-partisan and constitutional viable entity.
I'm sad that Hobby Lobby doesn't think my religious belief is as important as theirs, and that a boss should have the right to decide personal and medical choices for its women employees.
I'm sad that racism is still a major component of the hatred in this country. Having a black president has brought out the worst this country has to offer, not the best.
I'm sad that equality for same-sex marriage is still not accepted by many and that some believe sexual preference is a choice that can be cured by therapy.
I'm sad that Republicans think the only way they can win is by cheating: Gerrymandering, suppressing the vote, shortening early voting, changing laws on registration, demanding photo IDs, etc.
I'm sad Congress requires millions of dollars be spent on reports they probably don't even read and continue to rehash things that have been decided like the Affordable Care Act, Benghazi, IRS, etc. Each year this costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and our land thousands of trees.
I'm sad compromise is no longer part of our government, and that majority rule isn't the law of the land anymore. America has become an oligarchy where the wealthy few rule, rather than a democratic republic where the laws were created to help the masses.
While I love our country, I'm sad my children and grandchildren won't have the same opportunities their ancestors had to succeed in America.
Follow Gerry Myers on Twitter: www.twitter.com/glmyers