In everyone’s life there are times when they come to a fork in the road. A place where a decision must be made as to which path they choose to follow. Of course sometimes the answer is simple, do the right thing or go to jail. Easy, right? Not for everyone otherwise our prisons would not be overcrowded. Sometimes the answer is less clear. Should I go to college or get a job? If you’re smart enough and have a clear idea of what you want to do, by all means go to college. However, if you don’t have a clear idea it might be best to get some work experience first. If nothing else it will help you decide what you DON’T want to do.
Apparently the Debt Ceiling Deal is not appearing to rave reviews with the American people. Consensus and compromise are not what the majority want. Everyone wants their side to win and when you have 4 or 5 sides that’s just never going to happen. Do I like the deal? Not particularly. Some of it I like, some of it I don’t like. But I like having something to keep us afloat better than the alternative. I personally do not want a repeat of the 1929 disaster and the ensuing decades of depression, desperation and malaise. I realize there are people out there whose attitude is “that’s just what this country needs to put it on the right track”. Sorry the deaths of thousands of innocent people from starvation, exposure, and violence is not what this country needs. The strong of course will survive, that is what they do. Does this mean the best will survive, not by a long shot.
We have become a nation of malcontents. Nothing is ever good enough for us. There has to be something better, different, more. One of my favorite movie lines comes from the romantic comedy Sabrina. She tells the uber-rich Linus Larabee “Sometimes more isn’t better Linus, sometimes it’s just more.” It’s not that I don’t think progress is important, or that I don’t think achieving goals is important. Sometimes though you have to accept where you are and adjust your goal to your situation. If you don’t have a good enough job to buy a house in the neighborhood you want then you have several choices. You can stay where you are and stagnate, you can go to school and try to get a better job, you can marry money, you can lie on your paper work or you can get the government to make banks lend you money they know you can’t repay. Quite a few of us apparently have done the latter and we are now reaping the whirlwind as it were. How did we get there though?
Part of the problem is the people we send to Washington. They have an almost impossible job. We want them to do what we want the to and do what’s good for the country. At time these two desires are mutually exclusive. As in the case of this Debt Ceiling issue there is no good way to make what we want and what the country needs happen, immediately. If our representatives did what’s best for the country there would be massive government layoffs at a time when the private sector can’t possibly absorb them. And yes, I realize that jobs are one of the largest slices of this issue pie but we’re not concerned with that in this scenario. We need to deal with one thing at a time. Raising the debt limit as unpalatable as it may be gives us time to strengthen the economy, to add much needed jobs and to make difficult decisions including but not limited to spending cuts and taxes.
In the end we are talking about lives. Real live people and their ability to survive. And yes we can live without cable, cell phones, computers and microwaves. We can’t, however, live without homes, food, water, waste systems, roads, and the money to procure such things. We all need to stop thinking about “how can I make money off this” and start thinking how can we make things better for everyone. A strong economy means more and better jobs for everyone. Stoping illegal immigration means employers who hire the undocumented so they can take advantage of them will have to change how they work or go out of business. Putting unions in their place means money that is now being syphoned off to pay for union bosses and their hangers on will go to workers instead and then out into the market place. The repeal of onerous regulations will spur growth and simplify life. But it will not happen overnight. You CANNOT have it all, no matter what TV guru tells you. You have to chose what is most important to you and then you have to make sacrifices to keep those things.
In the end all we can do is to live our lives the best way we can. Try not to harm anyone. Try to leave things better than you found them. Try to do the best job you can, no matter what kind of nimwit boss you have. Try to keep those you love safe, healthy and happy. Live within your means. Take care of yourself instead of expecting the government to do it. Be self sufficient. More than anything else develop some integrity. Do the right thing even when you KNOW someone is NOT watching. I would also suggest developing and attitude of gratitude. It goes along way to accepting the things we can not change which helps us accept reality for what it is.
This is not a magic cure all. There aren’t any of those, no matter what Oprah, Dr Phil or Dr Feelgood tell you. Life is hard, and we make it harder by pretending it isn’t. Just because it’s hard does not mean it can’t be good. It really is all up to you. Your choices, your decisions, your consequences. Elect people with integrity, pay attention to not just what they say but what they do, and hold them accountable for those actions. For those of you of a religious bent I would heartily endorse prayer, lots and lots of prayer. We are going to need that.