Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Nobody wins in the Blame Game ...

"Bob Rumsfeld isn't concerned with solving our country's problems. Bob Rumsfeld is only capable of telling you what's wrong with this country and who's to blame for it." ~Movie "The American President"

Funny how movies often mirror real life? Well, it's been a long while since I spoke about politics here, but the time has come for me to speak once again. The blantent mainstream media liberal bias aside, I am happy that poliitical apathy in this country has finally managed to wrestle itself off the proverbial 'couch' and is presently attempting to exercise its muscle in the name of Free Speech and the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. I am, however, concerned with a lack of unified vision being displayed by this movement. I am also concerned that this movement bears many markers for having been unleashed (and presently fueled) to benefit the current administration's political end (i.e., re-election in 2012). After hours of television and other media coverage, I find myself asking: What SPECIFICALLY is it that the occupy protesters want, besides MORE?

Protesters at Idaho State Capitol

That lemonade stand commercial comes to mind here ... You know the one where two brothers set up a lemonade stand on the far side of a neighborhood street ... Let's call them "Brother's Lemonde" (if you've seen the comercial ... skip on down to the end of this paragraph). The brothers don't put a lot of effort into making, marketing, maintaining or selling their product. Basically they squeeze sour lemons into questionable water, without sugar or ice. Then when customers come to their stand to buy a glass of lemonade, the brothers take their sweet time in serving them, choosing to complete their handheld video games before attending to customers. When the brothers finally take their feet off the lemonade table, lingering over the lemonade cups, to serve the waiting customers they overcharge for their sorry product. Needless to say, the well manicured, recipe-tested, iced lemonde stand on the near side of the street ... Let's call this stand "Mikey's Lemonde", the one that distributed carefully hand colored leaflets throughout town ... winds up doing a much better business. So at the end of the day, "Mikey's Lemonade" has a huge pile of cash sitting proudly upon his table. Mikey's money was earned through hard work, a well thought out and diligently pursued plan. While the "Brother's Lemonade" understandably has only a few measly bills and some loose change sitting upon their table. The brothers sit staring across the street at "Mikey's Lemonade" cash intake in bewildered wonderment and dismay. Not to fear though: Mikey's dad returns from a long days work and is quick to remedy 'the situation'. Dad congratulates Mikey on a job well done, then Dad takes the better half of the cash piled upon Mikey's table and gives it to the brothers on the far side of the street. The brothers are overjoyed ... they got their 'more' ... while Mikey is left bewildered. Hopefully, you see the blatent irony in this tale? Dare I say injustice? ... Not to mention a lousy model for doing business in any economy, especially a rapidly sinking one.  In the United States of America, we are guaranteed a right to pursue "Life, Liberty and Happiness" ... The operative word being 'pursuit', meaning that we have to actively make a concerted effort to obtain the 'American Dream.'  We should not expect to just hold out our hands and have government hand the dream directly to us.

America is swaying precariously in a rapidly sinking boat and nearly four years of "simply spending Big Government's 'MORE' " hasn't done anything to patch the holes in our boat. In fact, Big Government's spending has made a bad situation far worse, resulting in the USA's international credit rating being downgraded from its AAA rating (for the FIRST TIME EVER in the history of this country!!) to a AA rating. This new AA credit rating makes it harder for the USA to borrow additional money in the future. It also makes the interest that we pay on borrowed money ome at a higher rate (so it costs us/the USA more to borrow money). But the bad news doesn't end there: a further credit downgrade may lie in our country's future if we continue the radical spending trend of the current administration. Stop for a moment and take a concrete assessment of the facts: Four years of government spending hasn't created new and lasting jobs. It hasn't gotten our economy's stagnent wheels rolling once again. So when do we stop the madness and stop throwing good money after bad? Reality dictates that it is now time for government, and its citizens, to tighten their belts and stop asking for more! America needs to go on a serious fiscal diet and to do this we need a radical new plan.

With the above in mind, it seems to me that the "Occupy Wall Street" movement would do best to:

1) Refocus their efforts behind an organized, well defined banner with specific objectives, means and ends.

2) Clean up their act and put the "civil" back into "civil discourse." ( I mean, is having sex in public, urinating on businesses, vehicles, and public streets, anti-semetic slurs, and other violence really necessary and conduscive to the movement ?)

3) Question the sources from which funding and disent arise in order to ensure that the movement isn't being disguised and used to suit an ulterior political end (e.g., four more years of the Obama Administration's vision of "Change").

4) Realize that the wisdom of our Founding Father's still applies even in today's modern technological age: "United we stand, divided we fall." ~Patrick Henry

There is indeed an inherent strength and power in a united country, hence our country's name "United States of America."

The most coherent voice of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement seems to want the "Big Banks" to end the corruption that led to the government's having to bail out many of these same banks when the housing market collapsed late in 2008. Do these same protesters not realize that it was government's insistence that these banks loan money to unqualified buyers (beginning with the Clinton Administration) that ultimately led to the housing market's collapse, the subsequent ripple of spiraling negative economic effects, and the need for government to bail out the banks in the first place?  Still, this part of the "occupy" movement at least has focus and a legitimate beef with Banks who have accepted government bailout money.  The latter Banks should NOT be handing out large bonuses to executives and other employees until the government bailout funds have been repaid in full.  And there are most certainly legal reforms that could (and probably should) be enacted in order to prevent some of the shady practices these banks have concocted in their market dealings that would protect the smaller investor from these market abuses (e.g., sub-prime derivatives?) in the future.

I say let's stop focusing on "who's to blame. " No one wins in that scenario. It doesn't have to be "them against us." Big, over-extended, mismanaged (e.g., Banking and Solyndra Energy related scandels) government is to blame and, thankfully, here in America we have a constitutionally ensured process known as "presidential  and congressional elections" to address these wrongs. So let us, "We The People", work together to find and embrace our common ground.  Let us work together to make the hard choices and sacrifices we need to make in order for our nation to rise to its former state of greatness, via fiscal responsibility, once again. Let us put an end to this maddening mantra of "We want more!" We've already borrowed against our children's and their children's futures: there's nothing left to borrow!?! There is nothing 'more' to give. We're over-extended and sinking fast. Now is the time to still the crowd's choatic brawl and listen instead to the quiet voice of reason. Be no longer led: Be instead informed. Act decisively, with united coherent voice, and demand a new, fiscally solvent plan. Find a presidential candidate that supports what you believe in and SUPPORT THEM with your waving signs and banners. Then cast an informed vote in November of 2012 towards a better end.

God Bless the USA!!

Best to you and yours,

(And once again, I find myself tired ... writing late at night.  I'll revisit and revise after some sleep.)

P.S.  11/13/2011 A friend of mine posted this quote in one of my writing groups today.  I think it applies nicely to the "occupy" movement.   Wisdom from a very wise soul ... My friend writes this entry to Ghandi's quote:

"Occupy Yourself

                    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world"  ~Mahatma Gandhi  "

No comments: