As we get older we inevitably reminisce about the way things were, the way they used to be. The reference carries with it an assumption, or outright allegation that things were better before. “Kids today are losing what’s left of their attention span”. “TV with 3 stations had more to watch than TV with 700 stations”. “Professional athletes are now pampered prima donnas’”. While there might be some truth to these it is prudent to use caution with harkening back to the good ole days.
With that said…public leadership and the environment in which politics occurs have changed markedly and it is easy to see that some of the changes have clearly been for the worse.
In a very elucidating piece in yesterday’s NY Times, a public policy professor and a law professor show how our very discussion on economic insecurity today reflect a green eye shade and calculator approach compared to the humanizing and personal language of the New Deal era. How do you say economic security?
This is no small issue and indicates both how the monied-interests and Tea Party sycophants that are the Republican Party have totally set and controlled the debate. But it also shows how the Wall Street-genuflecting and spineless Democrats have almost totally abandon their roots and party principles.
Of course things here in wonderful Washington state are similarly desperate and demeaning as they are nationally.
The Governor just announced a special session to remedy what the economic forecasters apparently got terribly wrong – or was it those rose colored glasses wearing and weak willed legislators looking for any opportunity to avoid the inevitable?- and balance what is now (another ) $1.4 billion dollar shortfall.
Gov. Gregoire tells us that she will “hate” this budget. There should be little doubt that she and many legislators will in fact take no pleasure in cutting more vital state services. Nevertheless, the Governor tells us that she will again likely propose a “cuts only” budget with no new revenue to meet the dire need.
Wouldn’t it be more honest to then say that while she does not want to screw colleges’ students, the elderly and the infirm, she would rather do so than risk the wrath of the nihilist Republicans and the feckless Democrats? Governor is either complicit or compliant. Either way she lacks leadership and is still woefully in need of affirmation – even when not running again.
Similar to crises of the past (i.e., Great Depression) we are faced with seemingly intractable challenges which require vision, inspiration, confidence that things will get better and creative and bold leaders who are able to put country before petty gamesmanship.
Unlike the past we have tremendous resources at our disposal – intellect, awareness of context, an incredible largesse of entrepreneurial opportunity and wealth.
Will we make it through this economic crisis and into the post- American dominated future? It seems very likely. But will our Democracy be stronger, our citizenry more educated, globally aware and sensitive, and our population willing and able to coexist with a healthy and flourishing environment and climate. Stay tuned.