I voted for Obama, and I am very hopeful about what he can do, but right now, people are judging Bush’s results against Obama’s intentions. The work is only beginning. - Guy Kawasaki
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Are We Being Prudent or Overly Critical With Obama & the Economy?
I saw this in a thread I linked to from Twitter. His statement stopped me cold. I had to pause and let it sit in my brain for awhile. Have I been worrying and expecting a doomsday scenario? Will the administration weather any potential storms and I can look back and gently chide myself for being concerned? Is the economy going to prove to teeter on the brink of, but not fall into collapse? There's an entire blog dedicated to giving us a rather perfunctory reality check.
Should I just not even talk about this anymore? I think it depends on your circumstances. If you are in a comfortable position with liquid assets available and wilderness skills - and have currency on hand and a back-up food supply - then you'll be okay. If you are solely relying on good intentions, goodwill and people doing the "right" thing - no. If things hit the skids the Mexican border is a few hours away and I'm certain I'd be a fast learner for weapons training.
We are shaped by our perspectives and the traditions we've been taught to believe. Changes in patterns require a lot of reflection and a shift in thought processes. We also need to have something else to put in its place. That's enough of the pop psychology angle. From a practical standpoint we have to be realistic. If things deteriorated in this country to a certain point I could get across the border in a few hours. I'm telling you, reading Atlas Shrugged has me longing for a secret society I can escape to - but I'm not certain how anyone would avoid detection due to all the satellites, spy planes and technology today. I'm sure there's a way though.
I think Guy has a point though, we do have Bush failure on the brain (even those that would vehemently deny it) but we see how letting things go escalated into a clusterfuck of major proportions. The thing is some people actually voted for Bush based on his promise of bringing honor and integrity to the White House. Remember that? His administration was anything but when he - by virtue of a partisan Supreme Court - stole the election.
Despite that some people (and I'm specifically talking about Blacks) voted for him the second time because the Black men they let interpret their religious beliefs told them to. People were not making sound political choices based on research. In fact it was another Black man in OH who blatantly disenfranchised voters in 2004. I wondered how people could just sit idly by and be used so thoroughly considering the stolen and denied votes from 2000. Nobody did anything about it but complain about it after the fact. So I shudder to think about those that jumped on the Obama train because he looked good on paper as well as those that oppose him because of their internalized self-hatred. Disagreeing with his policies are one thing - absorbing and using white supremacist rhetoric is another.
I will always remember New Orleans and Katrina and how it was a majority of (poorer) Black people who relied on the benevolence of their government, assumed other people would be competent enough to take care of things if they got rough and didn't prepare for the worst case scenario. They were left to fend for themselves - and a lot of them died because of it. It wasn't the wealthy. It was the sick, the elderly and the poor(er) folks that became collateral damage over saving the offshore oil or a former Rep's house. Isn't this why those that survived the Holocaust keep talking about it and vowing to never let it happen again? Collectively most of the people displaced have not and will not be able to return to NOLA as there's a concerted effort in keeping them out. So I may be overemphasizing these things, but I have to look at it without emotion from a critical perspective.
I was having an chat with someone on Twitter a few days ago where I mentioned how disappointed I was with the PBO capitulation to the Republicans to garner support that never came and how bad it looked despite the passage of the stimulus package. Another person sent me a message asking why I was being so critical after only three weeks. Well I wonder if things will be this contentious the next 3.95 to 8 years. Somebody's gotta wear down eventually. It's why I question who the real allies of PBO are and whether he's ready to show some righteous fire.
Did the Republican factions against Clinton wear down during his tenure in office? No. In fact they were aided by the corporate media in presenting a biased viewpoint. How would it have looked for those hypocrites to be revealed trying to expose Clinton for his personal failings while they were engaged in the exact same thing? Going back to NOLA for example, they have a new Congressional Representative who took over after William Jefferson was busted for stealing money and voted out of office.
Rep. Cao got buzz for being the first Asian elected official for that district. He's a Republican who promised to do right by his constituents, despite being from an opposing party and an immigrant. He even wanted to join the Congressional Black Caucus because his district is primarily Black. Well he was part of the Political Wall of Opposition that voted against the stimulus. Now who in their right mind would turn down money to rebuild NOLA? A FOOL! So we can judge him by his actions and see he is going to be even more useless than the greedy Jefferson was and he's only been in office a short time. Things went from bad to worse.
Which brings me back to PBO. It's not that his intentions may not be good, but what will his actions show us? How will opposition forces shape his administration? Look at the policies Clinton implemented that were harmful to those Blacks (and others) on the lower economic pendulum. Three strikes, harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine and welfare-to-work are just some examples. Yet Blacks were touting him as an honorary Negro.
When Reagan was in office he lowered the tax rates for the wealthy and started the assault against regulating the financial markets. Some people loved it, but if you trend the national debt it spiked and has been climbing ever since. Oddly enough it was Clinton who managed to lower it slightly before it jumped to its present heights now. That debt isn't going to level off either. It took nearly three decades to balloon and will take a long time to be paid off - if it ever is.
Californians were supposedly sick of Gray Davis and wanted "change". He was trying to get the Enron millions they'd bilked from us - whose top executives were incidentally Bush supporters. So the Republicans thought they try a little experiment and pull a Sarah Palin on the voters by using an attractive, verbally-challenged candidate with star power and sex appeal. See how we led the pack years in advance? That brought us Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's just as unqualified and just as dangerous. Look at the $42B deficit and a stalled budget since last July as proof of his failed leadership and failed Republican policies. Now the plan is to fire state workers - that just so happen to be SEIU members. It's blatant union-busting tactics. I wonder how many of them fell for the con and voted for the Governator. People got caught up and didn't check under the hood. Now that we're reaping what's been sowed people aren't going to want to live on ramen noodles if they were feasting off filet mignon - albeit on borrowed money and overvalued assets.
So I guess I'll reserve making any definitive statements but I will continue to monitor things as they go. I can't jump on the hope train oblivious to major shifts in PBO's agenda nor will I yell fire in a crowded room. The idiocy in California makes it even more challenging to not react harshly to the idiocy coming from Washington. The time to be diligent and prepare is now. There are still plenty of people who are in fact doing just fine. I just need to go make some new friends and find some allies for that secret society!