Monday, September 15, 2008

To: The Economy From: Me

Dear Economy,

You haven't been looking well lately. In fact, I'd say you've been looking a little peakish. I'm worried about you. I think you need a rest. Sometimes starting over is the best option. It gives us a chance to rebuild and re-evaluate from the inside.

Change can be a good thing. I know it's hard to be the one who gets abandoned, being left brokenhearted and alone but you'll come through this. Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, all of those who are now gone, they weren't your real friends anyway. They were just smoke and mirrors, you're too good for them. You need substance in your life, real options that are backed by real promises, not empty words.

You're going through hard times, I understand. A lot of us understand, but we need you. You can't give up now, no throwing in the towel. It's time you took stock, figure out where you want to be in ten years and start moving forward. I'm not here to tell you what you already know, but sometimes we all need to be picked up by our bootstraps.

I'm also not here to tell you that the worst is over, it isn't. But if we pull together we can look towards a brighter, greener future. Things will be alright. We just have to keep a little perspective. You've been abused-taken for granted, even taken advantage of-you were pushed too far over the edge by those who didn't know how to appreciate you for you but it'll soon be over and you can show them what you're made of. It's time to get back to some of those old time values, don't just lay yourself down for every person with a pretty smile that comes along, have some pride. You have a choice who you invest your time and energy in.

So, why don't you come over to my place, we'll have some tea, I hear England's coming to see how you're doing and we can figure this all out. And that deficit everyone's talking about? Don't let it bother you too much. Just ignore all those hateful, hopeless words. You'll figure out how to get it paid off eventually. It'll be hard, you've been living in a virtual world for so long but recovery is possible. Even the best of us fall on hard times. So, buck up, take a deep breath and get ready to start a new chapter in your life, capitalize on some hard lessons learned and we'll see if the sun doesn't start to shine through those rain clouds.



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Idle Times

Ok, so I have chicken pox. Of all things. I thought it was measles at first but it tricksed me. Tricksy little viruses. Regardless, I look like Swamp Thing but it's all fine. Aesthetics aside, it's getting better. If my face falls off, well, that'll just make for a really interesting weekend.

Anyway-As I've been laying around in bed the past...week?...I've been doing a lot of thinking about this little election we're facing. Ok, so I know I'm probably late to jump on the bandwagon-I haven't been doing my rounds as usual, frankly, I haven't been doing much of anything, but I'm going to add my voice to whatever mix is out there.

I'm pissed.

I've been pissed for eight years. I've waited for eight years. And I am not about to stand here, lie here, sit here, whatever, and watch another pig-headed, foolish ass run the country. Regardless of what side of the line we stand on politically I don't think there's a single person right now who can say that they are really, truly happy with the state of things. You look at the anniversaries that have come and gone, Katrina, 9/11 and you have to wonder-what have we done with the time we've been given? Not a damn thing.

We have a city still in ruins because our government cares more about feeding their fat faces than repairing peoples lives.

We have memorials to commemorate people who died and what have we accomplished? If any of you are conspiracy theorists than perhaps you join me in a bit of wry smiling and head shaking, but regardless (or perhaps as Bush would say, irregardless..), we can throw up pretty memorials and say a bunch of nice, empty words and yet our actions, our ACTIONS show that we don't really give a damn. I'm sick of claiming a society that is so smug and so busy being pleased with ourselves over nothing that we can't smell our own bullshit.

I'll tell you something, the only reason Gustav got coverage was because it damaged oil sources, not because thousands of people were losing their lives as it ravaged across the seas-not because it threatened an already hobbling New Orleans. No, it got attention because of Oil.

We are drunk on it. We are gorged on it. I'm surprised it doesn't bleed out of the assholes in Washington every time they sit down. There has got to be a better solution.

People can throw around big words like Off Shore Drilling and Alaskan Tundra and Global Market but what it really boils down to is a quick fix. Nothing that is sucked out of this dehydrated earth today is going to affect our market before five, ten, fifteen, maybe twenty years. I'll be 45 in twenty years, at that point, I plan on being car free, living in a house that actually saves energy, running my business and going from there. Not stuffing my gas guzzling car full of more dirty, desperately endangered natural resources.

If I'm really honest, I am terrified, more than I can express with any word in any language, or any of the images I draw or paint, for the state of our environment. We live here, if we want to continue to do that, we have to change. And I mean, really, in our hearts and in our guts, change.

There is this word that people seem to be allergic to these's called Responsibility. I'm not going to preach, we're all adults, we all know the meaning of this word. The problem is everyone seems afraid to do anything with it. Afraid or apathetic. I'm not sure which anymore.

To become an oil free nation is going to take time. The world and the global economy would come crashing down around our feet tomorrow if we pulled oil off the market right this second. We'd have bigger problems than Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and The Lehman Brothers to worry about, that's for sure. But to really, actually realize the reality that everyone keeps talking about, we're going to have to start now. Not 4 years from now, not 8 years from now, but NOW.

Germany has the right idea-the other day I helped to clean out some moving boxes. We came across old cassette tapes that we have no player to listen to them with instead of dumping the whole thing in the trash, we took the cassettes out of their cases, put the cases in the yellow sack (which is the best invention ever...more in a minute) and put the rest in the "trash". All of it will be recycled. No rewards. No gimmicks. No expensive monthly fees to pay. Just done. Over, simple. No problem. Recycling is inherent in peoples lives here. To the point where the country can take other countries garbage and dispose of it for them.

Imagine if America actually got off its fat ass and tried that? Tried actually putting clear, functional, affordable recycling tools in peoples homes. The yellow sack idea is fantastic if you ask me. It's a bag, and it's yellow. Hence the name. And in it you put anything that qualifies as packaging. Plastic wrappers, casings, boxes, you name it, in the bag. And then you set it out on your curb like normal trash twice a week and it goes away. Into the blue yonder to be recycled in a clean and generally efficient manner. How hard is this? We're one of the biggest societies in the world and we can't figure out how to quit dumping our shit into the oceans and the landfills and streets? It's pathetic and it's sickening.

Germany also utilizes bio-tons. All biological food items (peelings, egg shells, small bits of leftovers) go into a trashcan looking container and taken to the giant compost heap. There's no smell, there's no unsightly anything, it's just a better way of processing waste. It's not that difficult.

Alas, things like this require that people set down their Blackberrys and their Starbucks Latte's *who really could do better and use 100 percent recycled cups instead of 60%. They have more money than would probably improve their economic efficiency in the long run.* and DO something that takes a few extra seconds out of their day. More specifically, people need to put aside their bloated Egos that says they are more important than every other living creature on this planet and take a minute. Figure out how to carpool. Look into setting up a car share program in their city *which I'm going to look into once I'm back in the States. If I have to call the Wisconsin government and ask them, "How did you set up your rideshare?" I will. It can't be that hard. It would do wonders for our fuel and energy consumption though.

Ok, so in case you can't tell, I'm a bleeding heart hippy Liberal and I'm damn proud of it. I have a friend who is a Republican..we've been friends for almost 11 years. Friendship is deeper than politics and we've agreed to disagree on a lot--however, I care too much about this election to let it slip through our fingers again.

To win I think we need, above all, unity. We need to get behind our candidate and show that age does not equal wisdom. That throwing a pretty pair of tits up in front of the cameras who also happen to have a mouth and a brain attached to them is not the answer we're looking for when we say "We need change". It isn't about gender anymore. That Ace was already played and pocketed by Clinton. It's about reform. It's about motivation. I don't think John McCain can motivate anyone to do anything different than they are already doing. Which is the last thing anyone needs. Because what we've been doing isn't working. Someone remind me, what's the definition of Insanity again?

We think in terms of money, not honesty or environment unfortunately. Global Warming only became popular when we began to realize that it was costing us extra money (in the form of taxes, higher costs of living, the buzzword energy prices)...and it was hurting the environment. Ok, so money got our attention--the environments state has held it because the link between the two has been formed--now lets do something about it. Let's help both ourselves and the planet...which really should be first because as the saying goes...."Your last suit doesn't have any pockets." You can make all the money in the world and none of it will matter when we're dead. When that fate arrives on our doorstep has a lot to do with the changes and decisions we make today.

Clean air and water and all that other important stuff doesn't have any impact on people anymore. It's taken for granted. We've never had to suffer blindness because of contaminated drinking water like some countries. We should be grateful for that. Because at this rate, someday, we might. Ok, so all of that aside--you can't march around with signs in your hand that say "Save the Planet" and expect to spark change anymore. You can't yell and scream in public and expect to be heard. You have to do the hardest thing anyone can have to change and you have to make sure other people know you've changed and lead by example.

There's a fine line between leading and flaunting but really, I think we could all manage. I have friends who truly have made lifestyle changes that are suited towards the environment. They get their groceries from a local KC Farming Collective. They built a house that uses the heat from the earth to stay warm. Every piece of wood in their home was set to be thrown away or burned and they salvaged it, reclaimed it and reused it. They did a lot of the work themselves instead of hiring out other people to do it for them, they bought appliances and items that conserve energy.

You don't have to go to that extreme necessarily but there are things you can do in your day to day life, more than just changing your lightbulbs or unplugging your appliances before you go to bed that can really make an impact. And that can show to the public and to the politics in a big way that we are ready to start down the road towards a future we can actually be proud to be part of.

We have big, scary issues facing our lives right now, threatening the very day to day routines that we take for granted. But only if we let it. If we can step away from our obsession with money and oil, if we can look to the other side of Privilege and see what Could Be, if we can stop fooling ourselves and start sacrificing, changing, revamping whatever you want to call it, the way we live our lives, then we can start to talk about renewable energy. Foreign Policy. Education. Above all, education.

In my belief, it starts with us before it starts with Politics but putting Obama in office wouldn't be a bad first step. 0:D That's just one liberals opinion.

In the end, though, it really comes down to what we do as a people. Not as Republicans or Democrats. We get too attached to labels in our society. We are all just people-and as people we have a responsibility to do what we can today. Take back the marionette strings and see what can happen.