Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid

What a MESS. Anyone with half a brain should have seen it coming for years. The irony of the first major crack in our nation's economic foundation occurring so closely to what has been hailed as the most critical election in our country's history seems fitting.

Never have I received more emotionally charged emails espousing the cause of one candidate or another than this year. Because email usage is more popular? Or people are more connected on one level or another to the outcome of this election? I am not sure which.

Many espouse the historical implications of a woman on a major party ticket...

Some support Sarah Palin because she is a card carrying NRA member.... or because she gave birth to a child with Down Syndrome (proving her right to life commitment)...

Others denounce her for those very reasons... declaring that overturning Roe v Wade would set women's rights back a generation or two.... and that her current private family issues as a demonstration of "typical" right wing Christian hypocrisy.

Many will vote for Obama because he is black, carrying its own weighty historical implications.

Others oppose his campaign for the same reason.

The list that I have received is endless... and not one has targeted my main concern.

"It's the economy, stupid" is not just a campaign slogan, but the cold hard facts. This country is currently facing the likes of which it has not seen since the Great Depression. A Wall Street "Financial Meltdown" that should relegate standard party politics to the back burner. The gamesmanship of politics as usual that were employed within the past week urging a "quick fix" to this problem that has taken many years to create was simply appalling. Especially when the quick fix was being suggested without appropriate thought to its future ramifications, and simply to expedite a return to politics as usual.

If there was ever a time for "one voice", it is most definitely NOW. Unless we figure out how to work together with a long-term focus in mind, there is a potential for an economic Armageddon that threatens the real future of this country and the future of generations to come.

It has taken years of neglect from both parties to get us to the crisis point we are at now. It is not something that can be fixed overnight. And especially should not be fixed to appease one party or the other so that we can return to the status quo more quickly.

The sad truth is that the real solution to our current economic malaise is... US! Collectively and individually.

Our government has a 10 trillion dollar national debt that equals 70% of its annual GDP. While it would be political suicide for anyone to admit, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that our government needs to spend less and save more.

With 60% of our oil imported from unstable regimes, it also seems to be common sense to do whatever it takes as quickly as possible to end our oil addiction.

As individuals, the solution also demands that we end the American illusion and live within our means. The system of big corporations, advertisers, media and Hollywood engulfs and entices us to spend spend spend on things that we not only cannot afford, but also do not need to improve our true quality of life. As a result, we have been on a relentless 50-year spending spree.

It seems time for a cultural revolution of sorts. We need to veer away from immediate gratification and replace the existing order that was built on excessive materialism, greed and outrageous spending. No more Wall Street speculation... upon speculation... upon speculation.

More of an Eckhart Tolle-like existence in the "Now." Transform ourselves into a more altruistic, culturally sensitive society. Rethink our decaying values and rediscover the root of true happiness.

At the end of the day, what counts is the importance of love, friendship, giving, having dreams and being grateful for life's simple pleasures. Not owning Reebok sneakers, Gucci bags, Levi jeans, Prada clothing, Rolex watches, half a dozen maxed out credit cards, and a Mercedes parked in the driveway of our McMansions.