“Great events never have minor omens. When great evil occurs, great good follows.” So says Nichiren, founder of the largest sect of Buddhism practiced in the United States. While it would be an overstatement to characterize the entirety of the Bush administration years as great evil, there certainly has been plenty of it. Greed, lies, torture, imperialism, etc. At the same time, can there be any doubt that but for those evils (and the collapse of the economy, attributable in part to administration laissez faire policies), Barack Obama would not have been elected this year. Not sure about the “great good”? Consider the response to his election from ordinary citizens here and abroad. Consider the response from leaders around the world. Look at the faces among the thousands of supporters at rallies and celebrations. White, black, brown, yellow. Young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight. Compare those faces to the tiny crowds present at the McCain rallies. A diverse, large tent versus a tiny, exclusive tent. Which is the “real” America–the small-town, small-minded, “your bedroom is my business” members of the GOP (Grumbling Obnoxious Partisans?) or the hope-filled Democrats and Independents that are tolerant of differences, are tired of ideological polemic and are a mix of ethnicities?
I am getting impatient. I want the election to be over so I can stop watching Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Larry King, Nightline and local news. What else is there to blog about right now but the election? Plenty of stuff; the same stuff that I used to blog about. But I am consumed by the election. Watching Obama’s 30-minute infomercial reminded me how financially fortunate I am. I won’t brag or bore you with the details, other than to mention that my wife and I both were able to retire at 55 and do not have work or worry about income. That is not so for many people in America. I can understand, although not agree with, the choices of some voters to support a political party and candidates that want to dictate the sexual and reproductive habits of Americans. I find it more difficult to understand how the social conservatives, many of whom may not be as well off financially as me or the leaders of their party, can so readily buy the laissez-faire policies of socalled fiscal conservatism. I say socalled because while Republicans continually label Democrats as “tax and spend,” many (if not most) Republicans on the national and local levels spend as much or more than Democrats but they don’t tax–they spend at a deficit. Look at George Bush years as the paradigm. When Democrats brought fiscal order to Congress a number of years ago, it was through “pay as you go” budget programs. At the same time, while the socially conservative Republicans want to regulate what goes on in America’s bedrooms, they care little what goes on in America’s boardrooms. Look at the bailout for the results of that perspective. So I am looking forward to a new day and a new way on November 5th–or perhaps I should say on January 20th, 2009.
An odd sort of faulty economic impact analysis keeps leaving the lips of TV and radio talking heads. I suppose it is part and parcel of the often observed herd behavior of mainstream media’s first line reporters. High gasoline prices are keeping people home. Vacations will be shortened or limited to local travel. In the end, the stories seem to become self-fulfilling prophecies as Americans listen to the reports. But how much of a dollar impact to the average family vacation is even a $2-3 more per gallon price? Continue reading Gas Prices–The Real Harm Is NOT Vacations