Sunday, July 31, 2011

What About the Children?

The winner of the$100,000 Power Line Prize will be announced on Monday morning. I think the submissions and runners-up released so far have been terrific in fulfilling the stated mission of the prize: effectively and creatively dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis.

My favorites include this painting (done via the iPad) called The Prince of America by Jeremy Rosenstein Kortes:

The artist helped with the interpretation of this piece in the Power Line comments section. A heartbreaking interpretation it is. It plays off of the Moses in the Bullrushes story from the Bible. But this time it's a "Snookified" America, living in vanity and the gratuitous excess of the moment, intentionally abandoning its children. How's that for dramatizing the current status quo of an annual of trillions dumped on future generations to pay?

All of the songs and videos submitted for the prize are posted at the Power Line Prize YouTube channel. This one, called Heavy, is very well done, again dramatizing the burden of the debt and who it's being dumped on:

So far, my favorite is a song called "Don't You See", by Jason Nyberg, and performed by his 9-year-old daughter.

I wasn't sure you could craft a pop song with a danceable beat about the national debt, but here it is. With a hook that would do Fountains of Wayne proud. The lyrics remind the listener that freedom was America's birthright, and default assumption for most of our history, and they're made all the more poignant being voiced by a child.

Actually, it really reminds a lot of another poppy social message song, Dear God by XTC.

Radically different message here, evangelical atheism. Though the questions asked in the lyrics are the same as any believer asks during a dark night of the soul, which gives the song a universal quality. The two songs are similar in the questioning of faith, in the case of "Don't You See", the faith in big government. Let's hope pop music mastery can do more to lead us away from our faith in that all powerful entity than it did for XTC and atheism (which didn't exactly fire after this song was released in 1986).

The theme throughout all of the most effective Power Line Prize submissions, which I didn't foresee, is the affect of the National debt on the children. Our supposed inability to survive without borrowing TRILLIONS every year, borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, is going to sentence future generations, who get stuck with the bill, to a far cruder and bleaker existence.

Protection of one's children is supposed to be a fundamental human motivation. In America, one's efforts were always directed toward making sure one's children have a better life than you did. The primary moral pose of modern liberalism is the protection of the children. If any of this is true, why don't the adults of today care enough about the debt to do something about it?