Publisher's Note: Ignoring problems

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By Tom McDonald

America is a leader on the world stage. Sometimes. Other times, we just won’t budge.

Here are three issues we refuse to address, even though we give plenty of lip-service to each:

1. We fool ourselves into thinking that because we have the greatest health care system for those who can afford it, we must have the greatest health care — even though thousands upon thousands of people regularly fall through the cracks.

But what do I care? I have health insurance, and even though people tell me that only provides a false security, I’m not worried. So far, my co-pays haven’t been too much.

2. We Americans refuse to acknowledge the growing evidence that cellphones are a health hazard to our brains — at least when we talk at length into them. They’re too convenient; they’ve become a necessity for our modern lifestyle.

It’s like my cigarette habit from years ago. I knew they were bad for me, but I was addicted, and it took me years to muster up the willpower to quit. Now, I’m hooked on cellular communications, and I won’t have it any other way.

3. Climate change is something that the U.S., more than any other nation on earth, can actually do something about. The evidence is all around, but we’re way too materialistic to care. The economy is far more important to us than the environment, even though we could reshape and revitialize our economy by shifting our focus to clean energy and conservation. That would require too many uncomfortable changes, and that’s not something we’re quick to do in the good ol’ U.S.A.

As for me, I recycle. I’m taking shorter showers. I even bought a smaller fuel-efficient car. But that’s because I love unnecessary roadtrips — and I’m wasteful in a number of other ways. In other words, I’m trying to leave less of a carbon footprint on this earth, but I don’t want to try too hard.

Just call me a typical American.

• • •

So what does all this mean? Probably, that I’ll get sick from my cellphone and discover that my health insurance doesn’t cover it. Then I’ll deteriorate so much that I won’t even notice Mother Earth going to hell in a handbasket. But, by golly, I’ll still die as a proud American.

• • •

OK, so maybe I shouldn’t make light of the seriousness of my lifestyle choices and our national circumstances, but I just can’t help it. I’m just not a sky-is-falling kind of guy.

I believe we must face these problems. I also believe we will.

Our health care system is fixable, and unlike times past, now just about everyone wants to do something about it.

Cellphones may be hurting us, but someone’s bound to be figuring out a way to fix either the phone’s “dangerous” receptors, or at least our brains.

And while we’re on the verge of that environmental “tipping point” Al Gore warned us about, we’re also on the verge of marketing things like the “bloombox,” which might just be most eco-friendly electrical generator we’ve ever seen.

I suppose I’m a hopeless optimist. I still believe in our ability to solve problems. Even the ones we don’t want to address.

Tom McDonald is the Optic’s editor and publisher. He may be reached at 505-425-6796, ext. 237, or tmcdonald@lasvegasoptic.com.