Ok, here’s the rant that’s been brewing over the last couple of days….

I woke up to a nightmare that a polite but firm thief was in my house, taking whatever he wanted while we just sat back and didn’t call 9-11.

Now that I’m awake, I find it’s absolutely true, only it’s not my house or my laptop that’s been broken into.

Yes, as far as I can tell, Martha Coakley made exactly the same mistake Kathleen Kennedy Townsend made in 2002 when she ran for Governor and lost to Robert Ehrlich. Maryland suffered a lot from his changes and it took four years to dislodge him. It’s going to take six years to dislodge Brown. In the meantime, we have other places in the country where we should be vigilant. How many Republican senators are in the process of retiring? How many Democrats? Who’s next, this coming November? Have we forgotten this is an election year?

To all my friends who are crowing right now, thinking that somehow this is a win, I repeat: What are you and your crowd going to do for me and mine?

You’re all very good at spouting off the Tea Party’s spiel, but that does bugger-all for the folks who have real problems. It’s head in the sand behavior and a willingness to absolutely ignore how we got here in the first place. Eight years of mismanagement by the GOP can’t be fixed in one year of obstructionist work by the folks who think business as usual is just fine. The 90s are gone. They’re not coming back.

The Internet bubble burst and cost me my company. The housing bubble will cost us when we sell the house. Age and the war have cost me my marriage. My resume’s been out there for almost two years, and I’ve got the best job solution I can get: A part-time job with no paid leave and no benefits. I’ve got health insurance right now because my soon-to-be-divorced husband is paying for it. That won’t be true in the relatively near future and COBRA is no benefit. I didn’t expect this to happen to me. I didn’t get additional degrees or certificates because I *thought* I’d be covered. It’s all bullshit and every man for himself out there.

One guy’s trying to change that, but the sense of entitlement is so very strong, I don’t know now whether he’s got too much to change. And we’re not listening.

You guys who spend all your free time barking at shadows and freaking about how stupid global warming is…you can’t see that we’re choking off Earth’s resources. In the not too terribly distant future we’ll have neither affordable health care nor anything else.

Haiti is THE wake-up call. We’re not as far away from them as you might think. We already have an unemployment rate to rival the Great Depression. The poorest of us live in cardboard boxes and there are more of them than there were ten years ago. There aren’t enough prisons to hold the criminals and there’s not enough understanding or money to keep them off the street and in good paying jobs. The population is getting old and infirm and the kids are only now beginning to understand what life will be like without them. And many of us are so overweight we get sick far younger than we should. Obesity rates are linked to all sorts of illnesses, not just diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

We are imploding and nobody’s watching or cares because so many people in this country are dead certain there’s a better place at the next stop. So many people are treading water, waiting for the second coming. In my not-so-humble opinion, the next place to be is nowhere. Heaven doesn’t wait for me. I don’t take comfort from moving on to the next place. This is it, baby, and when it’s gone, that’s all there’ll ever be.

That, my friends, is what Avatar was about. What Pocahontas and Fern Gully and all sorts of other things were about. It wasn’t just a pretty movie. It wasn’t about “unobtanium” or some other MacGuffin. It was about ignoring the truth and reality of the situation in exchange for some small financial benefit to the detriment of everything that’s beautiful and meaningful about this world.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

We have the opportunity to choose a different path, before someone comes in here and decides the United States of America are done. Once upon a time, the British Empire spanned the globe. No more. Sure, we’re bigger than they are, and we’re supposed to play nicer than they did, but really? When we think torture is bad except in certain cases, when we treat our poor like dirt, when we can’t feed the hungry and can’t employ everyone? How much longer? We aren’t the only people here. And we’re fooling ourselves if we think we’re immune, just because we’re Americans.

One of my friends on Facebook posted “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” in response to my status message last night. I say “You wake up!”

When we stop depending on the hereafter and start looking around at the here and now, we’ll get it. Let’s hope it’s not too late by then.

Comments:

kal_ed:

Respectfully, I disagree. While I know things are tough right now, I really am disturbed by your question, “What are you and your crowd going to do for me and mine?” Bluntly, I shouldn’t be responsible for you and yours.

Mmm. “Tea-baggers”. I assume you know that’s a perjorative [sic]. Do you know anyone who associates with those folks? They’re concerned citizens who just happen to disagree with you. Name-callig [sic] isn’t helpful.

I agree that something needs to be done. I am very sympathetic to your plight, as well as anyone else without insurance – especially with children. But this plan before Congress is a monstrosity. A. It would add even more to our national debt than we have already. B. Politicians admit what they really want is a single-payer system, and they’ll pass ANYTHING to get the infrastructure in so they can change it later. I suspect you’re in favor of that, so I’m not going to try to argue this point. C. Even if it got passed, the health plan won’t go into effect for something like 4 years, but they’re gonna tax us in the meantime to pay of it. That means even less money in your pocket.

Health insurance for all is a noble goal, but not entirely realistic. Forcing people to pay for others by lowering the standards of care for everyone is not American. I believe there are other ways to accomplish close to everyone that do not heavy government involvement. The rush to get “something” done is suspicious for the same reason that I wouldn’t want to be rushed into a major purchase like a car or a home. There’s been practically no transparency to the process where obscene deals are made, incomprehensible language is used, and unintended consequences are not considered thoroughly.

Jumping over to this global warming thing for a sec. I agree, there’s something going on, and there is probably a human element, but we’re probably not the whole cause. Many of the proposals to supposedly “save” the earth would cripple our economy. I recall candidate Obama wanting to make coal-fired electricity plants “ultra-clean” to the point of pretty much putting them out of business. “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” I don’t know about your area, but out here in the Midwest, that’s pretty much all we have. That would probably mean a 40% increase in rates. We can’t build any nuclear plants, so that’s out. Solar and Wind? Too expensive yet, and not efficient enough. That “transition” would cripple the economy further because people would have even less money. I’m all for “green” technology – but we need to be using the resources we have until it’s cheaper.

Are you aware of what our national debt is? Have a look here: http://www.usdebtclock.org/. It should scare the crap out of you. It does me. The government has at estimating costs – a health care plan will cost far more than stated. You think unemployment is bad now? It could be far worse than the Great Depression. Right now, businesses don’t want to hire anyone because they’re worried about what their business costs are going to be with higher insurance rates and new regulations and taxes.

Aaaand the government won’t stop printing money and spend it. China, who we are up to our eyeballs in debt to, is telling US we’d better stop. It’s only a matter of time before we have currency inflation disaster. Everything will cost more. MORE people will be out of work.

I agree we need to come up with some solutions, but government getting MORE involved in our lives, dictating our home temps, how much money we can make, how healthy we should be because they supposedly know better than we do has dangerous historical precedents where we don’t want to go.

Before we start passing legislation or regulations that will affect every American in fundamental ways, we first need to eliminate the massive corruption in government. We have to stop spending and put ourselves on a budget just like WE have to do in our own households. It’ll take us years – maybe decades – to dig ourselves out of debt. But government spending has to stop in a major way.

Watch California. If we don’t clean up our act soon, that’s where we’re headed.

Me:

“Before we start passing legislation or regulations that will affect every American in fundamental ways, we first need to eliminate the massive corruption in government. We have to stop spending and put ourselves on a budget just like WE have to do in our own households. It’ll take us years – maybe decades – to dig ourselves out of debt. But government spending has to stop in a major way.”

You almost had me, right up to this. Before Clinton left office we *had* a balanced budget and we were paying down our debt. Bad decisions over the following 8 years (on both sides of the fence) have made it virtually impossible to get back there. And you are completely right that we’re spending ourselves into oblivion. But you have to tell me how fair it is that the guys running the big banks can give themselves BONUSES when we had to bail them out after overpricing the housing market.

Nobody (and I really do mean NOBODY) wants to take responsibility for the mess we’re in. Until they do, we’re all pretty much screwed. You may be doing just fine. I don’t know who you are, so I can’t say. Maybe you’ve got a decent job and a great health plan. Fabulous for you. Your health? Never better. Your parents? In great condition, don’t need medicine to get by on a daily basis. Not looking at nursing care anytime soon. God bless you.

But while you’re looking at the situation as an American, I’m looking at it as a citizen of the world. And from where I sit, in my kind of chilly office, with faith that my ceiling won’t cave in and that I can have my hot food out of the microwave in the near future, there are people right now who are in need and who I’m reasonably sure haven’t seen a single dime of your money sent their way because it’s not your family that’s in need. As tough as it is for me, I’ve still given something to the Red Cross and I still do give a dollar or a sandwich when I can to those folks who sit in the median strip with a cup and no place to live.

You are totally right. How sad it is for us as human beings with brothers all over the globe to have to say that we, most “powerful” nation on Earth, can’t afford to take care of our own.

How long, then, till the people who don’t have decide you’re just like the French Aristocrats or the Russian Aristocracy and decide to take matters into their own hands? It’s begun. It’s already here. And it will take exactly one natural disaster in a place that isn’t quite as remote as Haiti or even New Orleans for us to wake up and smell the coffee or the stink. Wait until it’s St. Louis that shakes to the ground.

The war in Iraq was a misguided attempt at protecting what we didn’t have in the first place. Afghanistan is the new Vietnam. We blew our resources in the wrong place, and now we’re stuck in damage control instead of having the upper hand.

We won’t get past any of this until we get past the almighty dollar. And when the Boomers start hitting the skids, you just wait to see how long it takes for insurance companies to stop covering you.

My dad’s 77, in a nursing home with dementia. I’m 46. I was born the last year of the Baby Boom. Doomsday’s coming in the next 20 years or less, and it will look like my dad.

Hope you’re prepared…

Kal_ed:

You mght [sic] be surprised that I paritally [sic] agree with you to some extent.

Balanced budget. I’d have to do some more reserach [sic] on that, but that was “balanced” on a lot of bogus paper from the tech stock boom. A lot of that was phantom money, as we discovered. So I don’t believe it was truly balanced.

Banks. Shoulda let ’em fail. I don’t buy the “too big to fail” arguement [sic]. Same for the auto makers. By propping them up, we’re only delaying the inevitable necessity to reorganize. Kinda like we’re doing ourselves. But playing the envy game over bonuses is dicy [sic]. You don’t want to be telling someone how much they can make. I’ll qualify that where they’ve taken federal money.

Looking at things as a citizen of the world. Again, a good, emotional concept, but we have to take care of our own, asd [sic] as you say, we’re not doing the best job of it. AS it is, we can’t save everyone. And on the grand scale (not counting Haiti and a few other examples), we get little gratitude for when we do try to help. It’s one thing for private citizens to give on their own – we’re the most generous nation on earth. Bar none. But enforced charity through confiscation of our hard-earned money is quite another.

Haves and have nots. I’ll flip that. The haves are feeling less and less prosperous. If more and more money is take from their profits, what motivation do they have to expand, to innovate and – most importnntly [sic] – hire more people?

We’re all one national paycheck away from a disaster – you’re right. Unfortunately, for years our government has been creating services we cannot fully fund. And that creates more and more dependency. That’s why the spending has GOT TO STOP. That means very painful choices will have to be made. Our politicians, on the whole are too gutless to face that yet.

You imply a revolution – I fear one too. It doesn’t matter what quarter it comes from, but with the adminstration [sic] we have right now – with all the tax cheats, publicly self-proclaimed communist/socialist sympathizers (facts – not name-calling), we are in danger of losing a lot of freedom in the name of “the greater good”.

You have my deepest sympathies for your dad. My two parents are pretty healthy, still. But for them, they fear what the government will do to them if we DO have government helathcare [sic]. My dad already had to deal with it on behalf of his brother with the VA, etc. He found the bureaucracy maddening. He already knows what it could become on a national scale.

mallo_forscher:

>>but the sense of entitlement is so very strong,

>>I repeat: What are you and your crowd going to do for me and mine?

>>I didn’t expect this to happen to me. I didn’t get additional degrees or certificates because I *thought* I’d be covered.

Yes the Sense of Entitlement is SO very strong.

Mallo

Me:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_George_and_the_Ducky

And the problem is that so many of these people who seem to object to the concept that we should share what we have also seem to value Christian beliefs. What galls me is that the Christian bible (even Thomas Jefferson’s Unitarian version) is clear about beggars and the poor where Jesus is concerned. And yet, when confronted with the same requirements, to heal the sick and feed the poor, we fail. Repeatedly.

It’s very easy to thump a bible and say these things are wrong: “It’s not *my* problem, it’s my money and I don’t care.”

But in the end it’s that same exact attitude that will take this country down and reduce it to the same level as all the other former empires. As Rome, Great Britain and France fell, so too will the United States of America. And we’ll have the nerve to be surprised when it happens.

Hypocrites, one and all.

(PS: I’d love to go back to school so I could find a job that will pay me enough to cover childcare. But see, all the schools cost too much, and the childcare is beyond my means, too. I assumed (incorrectly) that marriage meant not worrying about needing to find a job that would cover these expenses. I shouldn’t have had to. I’m trapped. And I’m lucky. It could be MUCH worse for me. At the rate we’re going, my children won’t be able to afford college either. What a world, indeed!)

Susan:

As usual, I can see both sides of this.

To those who say “We can’t afford public health care”,
I say “Yeah, but we can’t not afford it.”
If we do not pay for people to get care now, we will
be paying more for them later when they have serious
problems while on public assistance.

As far as the big businesses go, I sometimes wonder
what would happen if we DID let them go under.
Could it really be more expensive than it has been
now – after all, they couldn’t pay bonuses then, could
they?

But, one of the reasons we can’t empoly everyone is that
we’ve become a service economy, and we’re not good at
it – even if you could export service. We buy all our goods
from overseas because they’re cheaper – and they’re
cheaper because those companies pay their workers pennies.
Can we afford to “buy American” if that’s what it takes?
No, of course not.

So, what’s the answer?

Chris S.:

Meanwhile, Obama isn’t panicking. He started, well before this election, taking a much more aggressive stand against the Wall Street banks. This tack has the potential to garner some populist support and may deflect some energy from the tea-bag crowd.

Keep in mind that the tea bag types hate republicans, too. As a political movement it has limited potential.

And while I sympathize with all that you say, I would venture to predict that your girls will get to attend college. You and I started during some pretty strained economic times, and we came through. Much of what we’re experiencing is cyclical. Hang on tight and ride it out. Our kids will be OK.

Me:

Boy, I hope you’re right. My grandfather helped cover my education expenses when I went to college and I attended a state school with annual tuition well under 20k. I have no idea how we’re going to do that in this climate. It’s not that any of us were rich. My father was a high school principal. It’s that everything was a LOT less expensive.

Back in the day you were supposed to strive towards making a salary that resembled your age. For me that would be close to 50k per year. Last year I might have broken 20k.

I have faith in Obama’s vision. I don’t have faith in the fools who think everything’s fine as it is, or that somehow we’ll break things further by changing them.

I know you understand this…

Thomas:

The sense of entitlement cuts both ways. A lot of folks seem to think they’re entitled to all the money their jobs get them, without having to pay their fair share towards the society in which they live. Our ancestors fought a Revolution against “taxation without representation”, but now we have taxation _with_ representation — arguably not much better, but we do have a chance to change things about our government if we feel the need. And the average person’s taxes now are much higher — and his life much better — than when we fought that Revolution.

Both Democrats and Republicans feel that the other side will take something they have, and give it to someone who doesn’t deserve it — and so they vote in their own interest. They’d be fools to do otherwise.

I don’t know how to resolve our current crises. But I fear that doing the same things that haven’t worked in the past is not the way.

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