Posted tagged ‘elections’

Lost in America

November 2, 2010

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:

http://astralnomads.blogspot.com/

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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