Maybe Rodney King was right. Can't we all just get along? You've heard it a thousand times. People not watching the news or reading a newspaper because of all the bad news. War, famine, drought, Justin Bieber...wait, that's another blog altogether. Or maybe he is one of the Seven Signs....hmmmm. I'll ponder on that.
Our country has been in a down economy for a while. I don't care what the economists call it, recession, recovery, rebound...call it a doughnut for all I care. People are struggling. I work in the staffing business and I see it every day. It's harder to make ends meet out here in the real world. The world has changed and I don't think its going back from whence it came. Gone are the days of working twenty or thirty years at one company and retiring with a gold watch and a fully funded pension. Gone are the days of companies providing cars and stock and company-paid insurance benefits that covered virtually everything. My generation as a whole is the first that is having to foot the bill for everything. Retirement? Better start saving...yesterday! Unemployment is high, prices keep going up, and real wages are stagnant at best. And everyone with a mouth to yell will tell you that they know how to fix it. And they point the finger at the other guys saying, "They messed it up. If we had the chance, we could fix it." Well, as a member of neither the "1 percent" or the "99 percent," let's see it. Republicans point at Obama. Democrats point at Congress. The far left is protesting...well, whatever. The far left is always protesting something. The Tea Party/far right is mad too. Everyone seems mad about something. And so they get louder. And they yell some more. They yell at the other guys and try to shout them down in some kind of verbal game of chicken. They yell with their own guys and make themselves feel better about being "right." But no one is talking...I mean really talking.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am more of a conservative than a liberal. I have conservative economic views mixed with moderate to sometimes liberal social philosophies. I would like to think I educate myself on the candidates and/or the issues before I vote. In the past, I have done a decent job of this and have been able to support my vote with a logical argument at the very least. Right now, I wouldn't give a plug nickel for any of the candidates that is out there talking. For the Dems, Obama just doesn't have it. He's a great speaker and he was probably a great deal maker back in Chicago and in Congress. But he doesn't have the ability to lead against/along with the opposition. Say what you want to about either Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton, but they LED. And if you read your history, they LED with the majority Congress not of their party. On the Republican side....really? That's all I have to say....really? You want to roll out Cain, Gingrich, Bachman, and Romney and you want me to actually support one of them. Cain and Bachmann have new voices...but nothing good to say. Gingrich and Romney...how long have they been around? Note to either party....put someone out there that is real and has something to say and can get something accomplished and I will back them. Cut through the BS and let's get to work.
If both sides of the political spectrum are saying that government is broken and needs fixing, you would have to think they can find common ground somewhere. The issues are plenty and they are complicated. I would like to raise my family in safety and with the opportunity to pursue whatever dreams they choose. We should all be allowed to work hard to earn what it is that we want to and not have it taken away by a government we don't trust or believe in. I shouldn't be working funding government program after government program in order that more and more people don't have to do the same thing. There is a huge difference between the noble ideas of entitlement programs and the reality in how they are operated/misused. One thing I agree with the misguided Occupiers on...ours is a government of, by, and for the people. I think government in general has lost sight of that and operates much like business does, in its own self-interest. Where do you think the term baseline budgeting comes from?
Two moderate Democrats from Arkansas lost elections last year. They didn't necessarily follow the Democratic Party line and tended to lean more moderate/conservative on some issues. Because of that, they didn't get the backing from their party that other lefter leaning candidates got. Republicans saw them as vulnerable and they were. They lost. It seems the only way to get support from your own party is to pander to the far side away from the middle.
I have a thought here. Shocking, I know! Until both the Democrats and the Republicans stop moving farther away from the center, our political system will always be influenced unduly by special interest groups. Each with their own agenda...and most with an agenda that conflicts with the interests of John or Jane Q. Citizen. Do I have the answer for fixing this? Sadly, no. It's going to take a whole lot more people than one or a hundred or a hundred thousand to stand up and say, "Enough!" It will take people, not a bunch of career lawyer/politicians, to fix what is broken and return the focus of our government to where it should be: on people. Can we all stop yelling first?