I'm Just Sayin' - What would the cicadas think of us now?
OK, so cicadas can't think, but they are extremely noisy and aggravating. Since this is the year in much of the U.S. when the 17-year cicada cycle breaks out, it caused me to wonder. What would a cicada that was hibernated in 1996 think of 2013 (if it could) and the past 17 years? The conversation may go something like this:
Cicada: What happened with that Clinton-Lewinsky thing when he lied under oath? Me: Not much. Served out his term and now gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak to groups. Cicada: Hmmm ... sounds like the "Slick Willy" name he was given turned out to be true.
Cicada: What's going on in the Middle East? Me: Same as 1996, and 1296, or any year you pick. They still kill each other over land and religion. But, the U.S. seems to get drawn into it more and more. Cicada: Why would you do that? Me: I guess we think we can correct the evil in the world without consequences. Cicada: Well said.
Cicada: What's going on in pop culture? Me: Well, Mariah Carey can still sing and Madonna can still be outrageous. Although, outrageous at over 50 years of age seems like a little bit of a stretch. Also, there's this guy from South Korea called Psy and he sings about a thing called "gangnam style." Cicada: What's that? Me: I'm not sure. He can't sing and he just jumps around flailing his arms and legs. The young folks seem to think it's cool. Cicada: Wasn't there a guy named Presley who did that? Me: Yes, but he could sing.
Cicada: How did the O.J. Simpson trial turn out? Me: He was acquitted. Cicada: Last I heard they had the evidence on him. Me: Turns out he couldn't put on a glove that was said to be part of the murder evidence. Cicada: Really? Wow. You have a strange judicial system! Me: I know. We take the good with the bad and the ugly.
Cicada: How are things going with race relations in the U.S.? Me: Well, we elected the first African-American to be our president, so that was some progress. But, if you will remember in your first "sleep year," there were 30 black churches burned to the ground in Mississippi in 1996. Cicada: Why would people do that? Me: Evil will always capture the hearts of some people.
Cicada: How is the economy doing? Me: Not so good. Unemployment is high, wages are low, and many people are just getting by paycheck to paycheck. In 1996 gas was $1.22 a gallon; now it is $3.50 or higher. The national debt has more than tripled, from about $5 trillion in 1996 to over $16 trillion now. Cicada: Why is there such a big debt? Me: Because our government spends $3.7 trillion per year and collects $2.4 trillion per year in taxes. So the rest is borrowed every year, which runs up the national debt. Cicada: That makes no sense! Me: I know, I know. Don't get me started!
Cicada: Are sports still a big deal in the U.S.? Me: More than ever. Teams pay college dropouts millions of dollars a year to play a game and the taxpayers foot the bill for billion dollar stadiums so they can play their games in comfort. Cicada: You do things like that even with a bad economy? Me: Yup, go figure. Cicada: I'd rather go sit in a tree and buzz my wings and annoy people. Me: You're welcome to it. Just don't do it close to me. See you in 2030.
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.