Sunday, October 31, 2010

Election Fears

This election scares me more than any I have seen in years. As an American, I am alarmed that we still have such a massive hole in our national security caused by our reliance on fossil fuel. In the Carter Era (remember him?), there was a huge oil crisis. He pledged that we would lower our reliance on foreign oil. Our addiction to foreign oil was cut by half in his term as President and there was a commitment to lowering it further. All of a sudden we bought 4.3 billion barrels of oil less than the previous four years. He lost to Reagan the next election and energy conservation became an afterthought. Cynically, I would say that some corporations were mad that they lost the profits from 4.3 billion barrels of oil and helped fund a change.

Reagan tore down the solar panels off the White House. We didn't need conservation anymore, because America had endless supplies and money. Greed became acceptable. Taxes were lowered. Restraints on the economy were released and the "free market", supply side economics and trickle down became the zeitgeist. "I am from the government and I am here to help" were identified as the scariest words in the American lexicon.

It worked so well that New Orleans was saved after the flood. And employment rose. Net worth rose! Oil use dropped so we did not have to rely on foreign interests anymore. Unbridled capitalism found its soul and there was greed as the disparity of income between poorer Americans and the richest declined. People could afford homes and bankers made a fortune.

What, only the last clause of the last statement was true? Deregulation did not make poor and rich America come closer and unions disappeared not because equity was provided, but jobs were SENT OVERSEAS so union workers could be crushed. No wonder America is angry.

More people live at the poverty line now than at any time in my lifetime (hey, only 6 decades, but...) College costs so much that an average American with a union job can't send children to college. The chance of advancement economically has been skewed so only the rich stay in their elite club. Yes, people are MAD.

What makes no sense is that this anger and yearning for a time of 50 years ago, where only the husband had to work, kids could go to college and bosses made normally no more than 20 times what an hourly worker made has found outlets. Think what caused those conditions--good paying union jobs, 95% tax on the richest, forcing them to reinvest in the business--that was their main tax break. this kept jobs here and paid for civil services like schools. Tax breaks and lower taxes did not work. So what is the remedy---NO MORE TAXES. Americans have had empirical evidence that this has never worked. Drill, baby, drill was a battle cry--keeping our reliance and addiction to foreign governments alive and well.

Yes, Americans should be mad that their dreams and aspirations have been shattered. But why are we as a general rule turning to those who caused the disparity? Tea partiers are angry and want a return to simpler times. It can't happen and by removing government influence we go back to an era where the Cuyahoga River repeatedly caught fire, where fish couldn't live and spawn for over 20 years. Where people of color had their own drinking fountains, where Hispanics had menial jobs. Is this really what we want for our childrens' future? Where robber barons flourished and child labor was not only allowed, but became the only way families could afford to eat.

Americans should be PISSED that all the family has to work at lower paying jobs to afford cars, housing and food and the family has disappeared to a certain extent. But encouraging political movements that want to do away with a minimum wage so that more people can work at cheaper jobs? Really? So we can all have 4 or 5 jobs to eat. Why not start looking at living wages, income disparity, lack of public higher education that is affordable? Start backing people with questions and solutions to these problems. These are complex issues that cannot be broken down into simplistic jingos like "No new taxes". I am not saying vote Democratic, Republican or Tea Party or Green Party. Who can give us solutions, even if they take some time and understanding.

Too often angry and simple wins. When I get angry I feel better at times if i yell to express my pent up rage. That is all good and well when working alone in a shop, but as a means of governance? and I am very afraid that if Cantor wins, if Miller wins, if Rand Paul wins than we have become a nation of police enforcement and fascism where peaceful dissent is beaten, kind of like Sharia law. We have become what we fear, except we will be god-fearing group of fundamentalists where gays will have to wear pink triangles like in Fascist Germany under Hitler.

Think before you vote and think long and hard.


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