Lost in America

It’s election day, and I’m feeling a mixture of disgust, resignation and hopelessness. This past year, I’ve been producing a local TV show called Career Changers and interviewed a lot of people who have had to create business opportunities for themselves, or adapt and learn new skills because of the economic downturn. There are positive signs that the worst of the crisis has passed. Yet most of the anger out there is directed at the people who have been desperately trying to FIX the crisis — that was caused by the prior administration!

This is what it has come down to: we want instant solutions for problems that we allowed to build up over years of wasteful spending and generous tax breaks for the most affluent segment of our population. When respected leaders and economists warned the public that Republican tax cuts for the wealthy would increase the deficit, where was the outrage? When anti-war protesters warned that invading Iraq would cost lives and billions of dollars, where was the Tea Party anger?

Despite the trillion-dollar war President Obama inherited, despite the fact that Bush turned a surplus into a record-breaking deficit, despite the reality that the stock market had nose-dived below the Dow 8,000 mark (it’s now over 11,000), despite all the negatives… we had a president who stayed calm, managed to stabilize the financial markets, improved our foreign relations simply by not being Bush or saying blatantly stupid things, passed health care reform that will benefit millions of people over time, and for that he’s being blamed for the failure to rectify eight years of mismanagement faster! Geez.

I was watching that new AMC series last night, The Walking Dead, which is your basic zombie story, and it occurred to me the real nightmare is the Voting Brain Dead in this country who are electing the same party that got us into this humongous mess. Have they no short term memory? Two years ago there was serious concerns from economists that we were heading into another Great Depression. To be sure, the job market is still pretty bad. That’s one reason I started the Career Changers TV show. I knew it was going to take at least a couple of years for Obama to steer this country in the right direction… but I honestly didn’t think the GOP was so determined to seize back control that they would purposely sabotage recovery efforts to prevent that from happening. And why?

The only motive I can ascribe their actions to, are basic human emotions we writers focus on in our work: greed, pride, vengeance. Power monger Rupert Murdoch, who runs Fox “News” and now owns the Wall Street Journal, has one goal in mind — to prove he is right and everyone else is wrong. Since he used the Fox propaganda machine to back Bush, Cheney and Rove, he must now rewrite history to vindicate his choice as being “better” than the alternative, which is what Obama’s victory represented. The irony of course is Murdoch isn’t American, and could care less if his personal need for vindication bankrupts our country.

I keep telling myself it doesn’t really matter. Even if the GOP and Tea Party take over, the way our system works these days is that nothing much will change anyway. Ask them what they will cut to balance the budget, and they don’t have any real answers. They won’t cut the military budget. They won’t take the axe to Social Security or Medicare. Once they’re elected, they won’t take pay cuts or volunteer to eliminate stimulus money that is going to their districts. Instead, they’ll wind up taking credit for the stuff that was passed by Dems that kept the economy from completely crashing. Does anyone remember how Bush responded when the crap hit the fan? He had that deer-in-the-headlights look. Wall Street had no confidence in him, even though they helped elect him and kept him in power for eight years — eight years in which corporations were allowed to do whatever they wanted under his rule! Sigh.

An old college friend of mine recently decided to pull a “Lost in America” move and got rid of his house and belongings to travel the country with his wife in a van. In some ways I envy him. Why worry about a mortgage and scratching out a living, when there is so much more out there to be experienced that doesn’t have to be ugly and nasty as what we see on the nightly TV news? Why not just chuck it all and become a nomad… but then I remember the movie and realize that my wife and I would wind up blowing the “nest egg” in Vegas or Atlantic City in all likelihood, because we want the nice creature comforts that define the American Dream. It’s sad though that the dream has soured for so many people in this country. Tomorrow we’ll wake up and try to carry on. That’s all we can do.

Here’s a link to my friend’s blog about “dropping out” and seeing America via a Eurovan camper:


Gerry was one of my college apartment roommates at Montclair State in New Jersey way back in 1976-77. He was and still is a talented writer himself. A poet actually, who became a computer programmer (or software designer? I’m not sure), which I always thought was kind of odd — he never struck me as the programmer type, to say the least. Funny how life takes us down so many unexpected roads, only to arrive at the destination we had in mind from the very start.

Sorry for the rant, but I had to do some venting or my head would explode!

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3 Comments on “Lost in America”

  1. I had a very hard time voting because I didn’t have faith in any of the candidates, and probably never will again. I must admit that I will be VERY happy to be rid of Pelosi. She just makes my skin crawl.

    • richfigel Says:

      I didn’t like Pelosi’s style, but if you look at the substance of what was accomplished in the past two years — despite GOP efforts to block any kind of progress or reform — it’s pretty impressive. In fact, the Dem-controlled legislature did more than any past Congress in the past 30-some years. Problem is the positive impact hasn’t been felt yet. The irony is the new Congress will take credit for what was done BEFORE they were elected!

      Case in point: today’s numbers showing a huge rebound in American car sales. Republicans and Tea Party zealots said we should just let car manufacturers in this country die — no bail-outs! Same with TARP… and yet, much of that money has already been paid back with interest. It’s one of the few gov programs that will actually MAKE money! The Dems did a terrible job of actually telling the public what they did and how it was helping the middle class.

      Another fact: for all the whining about high taxes, the truth is middle class Americans got a TAX CUT under Obama and the Dems, and are paying the lowest rate ever in modern times! Yet the GOP has successfully implanted the falsehood that taxes have gone up in the past two years. That’s just a blatant lie.

      And if you thought Pelosi was creepy, wait till you get to see Boerhner on a regular basis. With his orange tan that’s as fake as his call for “change” — which is just him regurgitating the same cut-taxes for the wealthy, cut services for the poor mantra of the Bushies — he will be far scarier to average middle class people than Pelosi ever was, because he’s the type of psychopathic liar who will smile while he’s twisting the knife into your groin.

      End of rant!

  2. gerry boud Says:

    Saw an apropos quote from Duoglad Adams: “I am not sure I got to where I intended to go, but I’m pretty sure I got to where I needed to be” Ha!

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