Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Is the Glass Half Full or Is It Half Empty

Half Full or Half Empty
I have an optimistic side and a pessimistic side. The optimistic side believes it's not too late to salvage this country from the train wreck we are headed for. The optimistic side is the one that compels me to stay politically active. The pessimistic side is pretty much aligned with the dire predictions in this article. The pessimistic side is pretty sure that it's too late for politics. We're way past salvaging anything of the old system. The people in charge who tell us it can be fixed, are either hopelessly naive, or are just trying to perpetuate a myth so they can continue looting what's left before the entire rotten carcass is picked clean.  To steal an analogy from something I read recently, It's as if our government and all the powerful movers and shakers in America were passengers on the deck of the Titanic.  They had a choice between 1.) steering the ship away from the iceberg or at least helping as many people as possible into the lifeboats after the collision or 2.) looting all the cash and jewels from the safe below decks and getting them into their own lifeboats before the ship goes down.  The pessimist in me thinks they've chosen door #2.

The truth is, I'm pretty sure the pessimistic side is right. I cling to the optimistic outlook as a hedge in case I'm wrong, but if I had to bet on the most likely outcome, I'd pick pessimism. And I say "if I had to bet" as if I haven't placed that bet yet when in fact I have. I am not just speculating about the worst, I'm preparing for the worst. I think everyone, no matter how optimistic they'd like to be, should be preparing for the bad outcome to the best of their own ability. Prepare for a world where the things you presently rely on government for are no longer provided. That may mean healthcare, your pension, effective policing or any kind of safety net whatsoever. Plan as if you were one of the families left devastated by Hurricane Sandy except the plan can't assume any help from the government. It might not be there. For some of us in this analogy, the government IS Hurricane Sandy.

The fundamental difference between me and those who think I'm wrong and maybe even clinically depressed and in need of medication is that we live in totally different paradigms as to what government is. You may think government is good. You may think that even though they get a lot of stuff wrong, they mean well, and it's just hard to get big things right in a complex world. In my paradigm, government is the huckster, the con man. We're the suckers. Think of it as a thought experiment. In your paradigm, it's not easy to explain the world. In my paradigm, the world makes perfect sense.

I'll let my optimistic side finish this little rant. I'm looking forward to the election results this evening. I know that whoever is president for the next four years, the results will be pretty much the same. I'm hopeful for several smaller victories in whatever venue they come from. Good numbers for Gary Johnson would be nice. Maybe "spoil" a state for one of the big boys. Who knows, maybe even turn the tide of the election. Nader did it in 2000. There are lots of local races here in Delaware where a good result is possible, even if it isn't a win. All it would take is one good outcome to make my night. Take the small victories where we can, and remain a happy warrior.