All about ideas…

Elections…and How to Save the Union

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Continental CongressAs I sit here with my daughter’s sick cat laying next to me, I’m watching Kevin Costner’s “Swing Vote.” For me this film is a metaphor of where we as a nation are in this upcoming election. Okay, some will say the film is trivial and silly. So be it. But there is a larger lesson to learn.

Costner plays the “everyman” character who has to decide between what is good for him personally and what is best for his country. His daughter plays the role of all our future generations, hoping that we adults will make decisions that take them and their lives into account. Not just about the deficit and debt today, but about the future of their country and their lives and their world and their environment.

So much of our debate and arguments has been about today and what is good for “us” without any regard to the world and country we leave to our future generations. It’s like when I asked my step mom many years ago about school funding. She stated, “Why should I pay for the schools. I don’t have any kids in school.” What she failed to recognize was that her own children had benefited from a public school system, financed by a tax system that required all of us to help pay for the educations of future generations. All she saw was that she no longer benefited from the system so why should she pay for it. That’s not only short sighted thinking, it’s selfish and self-centered.

It’s the kind of thinking that says if I’m not personally gaining anything from it, why should I care about society and future generations at large?

That’s kind of how I see the political arguments today: what is good for us now versus what is good for our future generations. Given the economic crisis that was the result of one bubble after another for the last 20 some years, we can go back to the same old economic model that led us into these economic pitfalls, or we can build anew with a 21st Century industrial model that focuses not on bubbles but on sustainable manufacturing and technology that will not only only provide the competitive jobs of the 21 Century and the global competitiveness the county needs as well as a model for energy efficiency.

So, I ask you:

– Do we really need to spend billions on innumerable military bands to satisfy the egos of base and post commanders?

– Do we really need military devises and weaponry (planes, ships, etc) that the Pentagon has already said it doesn’t want or need or doesn’t do the job required for the 21st Century to increase the profits of the few remaining military suppliers?

– Do we really need a new multi-billion dollar nuclear missile program when we already have enough missiles and nuclear weapons to destroy the world more than twice over? While the U.S., at the behest of the neo-cons, sinks its blood and treasure into military adventures, just as the failed USSR did, China and the other BRIC countries – among many nations – put their fortunes into building economic alliances, buying and controlling precious resources, and obtaining control on vital crop lands. China does not have to defeat us militarily; it only has to let us bankrupt ourselves with fruitless military adventures and expenditures.

– Can we really afford to continue to hand over $550 billion in taxpayer paid subsidies to multi-national, multi-billion dollar, hugely profitable companies which spend millions to subvert or stop any “green” technologies from being deployed to avoid any hit to their bottom line, rather than their diversifying into 21st technologies which would remake their companies to compete in the new century and beyond.

– Can we, as a nation, afford to sink our nation into another $11 trillion debt to provide more benefits to those who have fared so well during the last 30 years while hollowing out the manufacturing and economic middle income base, denying so many of our population the opportunities to feed, house, educate and clothe their families?

– Can we afford to argue over parochial socially devise and individually determined issues, while the rest of the world moves ahead towards attaining the goal of overcoming our competitive edge in education, research and development, exporting new technological advances, and manufacturing?

We have a choice to make, not just in this election, but in our long term thinking about what is good for this country. What is good for our children and grand children and all our future generations? We can invest and grow or we can fall back into unsustainable and insubstantial bubbles.

We need solid futurist looking growth in manufacturing, research and development, and education to lead this country forward not just out its present deficit problems but out of our falling further into a third world country. We need smart policy and regulations. We need smart and forward thinking people with ideas and policies, not self-serving egotists from either side of aisle. It’s not just that our government has become corrupt, it has become bereft of economic ideas and visions of the future of this nation as a result of the constant, $3,000/day minimum necessity to obtain corporate and lobbying dollars to fund re-election campaigns.

When this nation wakes up to the enormous challenges and opportunities that lay ahead and begins to discuss our very real and serious issues of economic competitiveness, I’ll have hope for the country that my ancestors helped to found and fight for. Until then, I have only despair and sorrow for all the lives my family lost to build and preserve this nation…as well as the lost futures of my grandchildren.


Written by Valerie Curl

October 1, 2010 at 6:29 PM

One Response

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    October 3, 2010 at 10:23 PM

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