Sowing the Seeds of Change ~ Setting New National Priorities

If ever there was a time for the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” it is now.

Human nature being what it is, people are adverse to change.  Change may be perceived as being arduous or even dangerous.  We resist it, even if we find ourselves at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. At least there we’ve got a lot of company.  Then too, there is comfort in knowing and living within our boundaries, especially if we think our needs are already being met, and some- times, even if they are not being fully met.  Consider the paradox of abused spouses who remain in relationship with those who abuse them.

This aversion to change is especially true of corporations, govern- ments, and hierarchal groups of all kinds since those in power tend to resist that which threatens the status quo. Notwithstanding, we are hearing a lot about change this election year.  It’s the “buzz word” du jour thanks to Barack Obama’s campaign, and it has struck a chord with many Americans, especially among the young and better-educated.  So there must be many who, in today’s economy, are not satisfied with things as they are or to where they see that trends may be leading us.  Bully! I say, Bravo! It’s about time.

Now, before we get into the specifics of what needs to be changed and how, let’s see if we can agree on this: there are no magic solutions to any of our problems today, which are all intercon- nected so that acting on one has an impact on all the others.  But one thing is certain – doing nothing about them in the near term will only make solutions more elusive and difficult later-on.

On the economic front, nothing short of an “all court press” or a miracle will bring back the many good, living-wage jobs that have been lost to foreign competition in recent years, stem inflation, restore real estate values, and solve the energy crisis.  Unfortun- ately, we have a war on our hands, one that does not fit into our annual budgets and for which we have had to borrow billions of dollars.  For it to continue, we will have to borrow many more billions of dollars or else raise taxes.  This is something that no one in Washington seems to want to talk about.  So miracles, just now, are in short supply.  At the same time, we are finally waking up to the fact that we have to deal with the environmental crisis of global warming if we are to avert what has been coined, The Greatest Market Collapse in History.  Reversing the effects of global warming will require great sacrifices of us all, innovation, and international cooperation.  In economic terms, There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

In the best of times, with an expanding economy, low inflation, a stable dollar, and our work force fully and gainfully employed to produce both goods and services, it would be difficult to deal with the many problems we have today on the domestic front.  Among them are immigration, education, health care, social security, drugs and crime.  All are likely to be issues in the upcoming Presidential debates this year, and they must all be dealt with, sooner or later — but these are not the best of times.  No matter what the President and all the President’s men are telling us (or not telling us), with consumer confidence at a thirty-year low, the American people know that we are in a resession already, they can feel it.

So, in the now-famous words of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign strategist, James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid!” This, it seems most clear to me, must be our new national, Number One priority if we’re going to be successful addressing the other issues.  And, for every other issue, if change would result in a negative, near-term economic consequence, change should be subordinated, in my opinion, to the greater issue, which is the economy.

If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in the following video of a recent Bill Moyers interview with authors of the book, “Where Does The Money Go.”  Presented, I believe, in a politically balanced way, I felt that it would be okay to share it with my high school economics students.  After watching it, they praised it for being most enlightening. 

So, it seems as though there are, as I have said, no magic solutions.  Both liberals and conservatives are going to have to yield ground.  That is why we need someone this time around in the White House who can both ignite and unite.

If ever there was a time for the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” it is now.

I invite your comments, both pro and con.



Published in: on May 10, 2008 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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