I’m not going to be able to retire. I’m not going to ever own another house. I may not even be able to keep my truck. I should spend less, save more, cancel any plans for travel, be stingy at Christmas, and give up my hobbies. If you listen to the news these days it is all about how terrible the economy is and how gloomy the future will be and how little we can do about it. Yet the people who are in charge, who claim to be able to make a difference, want to sit around and argue about things that seem to matter more to their egos than our pocketbooks.
I always thought that the folks we elected were supposed to represent us and our interests, not just the interests of those with the biggest pile of money, not just those who can get them re-elected. Yet every time there is a report about what our elected officials are doing it seems they are focused on an agenda that is far removed from my daily life. And each time there is a flicker of hope that they will do something worthy of gratitude and respect they bring out the old platitudes: the other side won’t let us, there isn’t enough money in the budget, the president will veto it, the problem is just too big.
Really? I thought this was America. Land of the free, home of the brave. The place where dreams come true and anything is possible if you work hard, pay your taxes, and behave yourself. We’re out there in the world monitoring the actions of every other country and telling everyone else how to succeed while our own country fails miserably? We swoop in to rescue and relieve the victims of every global disaster while letting FEMA run out of money? We teach foreign citizens how to develop products to sell so they can support themselves, but we don’t have jobs for the thousands of unemployed here? Our infrastructure is falling apart at the seams, but we can’t find the money or workers to fix it?
My little brain can’t comprehend all of the complications involved in the tremendous task of repairing our financial system. But isn’t that exactly why we have representatives? So that smarter, or at least more knowledgeable minds can get together to solve the problem? Yes! And that’s where we have failed ourselves. It seems to me that in the last few decades we have let charisma and money and the media influence our choices and our voting to the extent that we now have a bunch of “political personalities” in Washington. Have we seen the resumes of any of these folks? Do we know their backgrounds? Have we asked about their experience and their “track record”? Do we know the facts, or do we just listen to the rhetoric and the promises and hope for the best? I think we have become complacent in making sure the people who are elected to represent us truly do.
I don’t know about you, but I plan to be much more informed about the coming election. And I plan to listen less to the media about the dark future ahead, and more to my own intuition about what I can personally do to improve my life. I believe our best days are ahead, if we learn some lessons from those behind us.