Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Search of...substantive discourse

I know the words "substantive discourse" are mighty big ones to start my blog entry with, especially when the last entry was about cancelled TV shows, but I just finished watching This Week with George Stephanopoulos and my blood pressure has risen yet again.

Every pundit, every Senator, Congressman, reporter, and commentator seems to be saying...nothing. And frankly, it's exhausting. And infuriating. It doesn't matter what network you're watching or paper you're reading, they're saying nothing...except why whatever we're doing is going to fail and how it's the other guy's fault. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say something! Who knows, maybe I'll even start a trend.

I'm fine with using taxpayer dollars to extend unemployment benefits for people who've lost their jobs. I'm fine with using it to build roads and bridges that are in a state of disrepair that I've never seen before in my lifetime. I'm fine with spending money to improve our public education system that I am a product of. I'm more than fine with finding a way to accomplish universal health care that we are behind every other progressive nation in. I'm fine with spending money on medical research that will not only save people's lives but save untold sums of money by curing diseases that currently cripple our health care system. I'm fine with spending money to keep ordinary citizens who were duped by greedy mortgage lenders in their homes at a reasonable interest rate without a "balloon." I am fine with spending money to develop and implement alternate clean sources of energy for our cars, homes, and businesses that will not only ultimately save money and make us energy independent, but will save the planet. And I'm fine with finding a way to make college affordable so that we will have the brain power to accomplish these things.

Here's what I'm not fine with. I'm not okay with bailing out big business. Maybe I don't have a master's degree in economics, but here's what I know. If I go to Vegas and plunk down money at the Russian Roulette table and the little ball doesn't land on my numbers, I've lost my money. Period. End of story. I've gone into it knowing it was a gamble, knowing that the odds were against me, and knowing that as soon as I walk away from the table there will be someone new there to take my place. The same is true in business. If there is no failure allowed, there is no space for a different businesses to arise, businesses not based on the unregulated corruption of the current ones.

Now I'm sure some braniac would like to explain to me the intricacies of why our entire economic system would be in collapse if that happened. But the way I see it, we're pretty much there now, aren't we? (And if you don't think we are then I suggest you talk to someone who until recently was considered middle class, but who now finds themselves homeless, unemployed, and wondering how to feed their kids.)

Change comes with growing pains. It is often messy and ugly and seemingly interminable. But it is necessary. And those of us who have been silent must speak up now and speak up loudly because that's what it's going to take to drown out those who are invested in the status quo or who make their living instigating conflict and confrontation. We don't have that luxury at this moment in history.

So speak up, call and write your representatives, and thanks for reading this. Tell your friends.

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