No matter which side you come down on regarding the current federal government shutdown, whether it is over a pointless wall on the border (oops, I just revealed my point of view) or the titanic struggle between politicians, there are always consequences for those who depend, at least in part, on the federal government for support and assistance.
This non-political point is one we should all be able to agree on.
The end of a year, and the beginning of a new one, has always been a moment when it seems appropriate to review the past and look forward to the future.
In ancient Roman mythology, the deity that became associated with the first month of the year was the two-faced god, Janus. This is, of course, the semantic origin of the month January. Janus oversaw ends and beginnings, and thus became a metaphor for the change in the years.
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As the westward expansion of the United States, euphemistically called "Manifest Destiny," progressed toward the Pacific while the Nineteenth Century wore on, what has been characterized as a slow motion genocide of Native American peoples wreaked havoc on the traditional culture and way of life of the original occupants of the North American continent.
Gradually the survivors were herded onto reservations, often in less desirable areas, where the Great White Fathers, in our beneficence, promised to provide for the now downtrodden and demoralized tribal members. A once proud, fiercely independent lifestyle that was far more engaged with nature and sharing the earth was gradually deemphasized, changed to emulate white culture, and was to be forgotten.
In such a milieu, how can anyone wonder that a culture of dependency developed that led to poverty, addiction, and hopelessness?