Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Touching on the Taboo

Okay, so unless you are living under a rock, you can't have missed what's happening in our world right now. I've tried hard to avoid it - trying to keep the negativity out of my life - but it is everywhere I turn - on t.v., newspapers, on my yahoo page when I log onto the Internet. It's being discussed at work, at Curves, in my family room. Yes, it's true - our economy is in the toilet. And there is no clearer indicator for me than today's mail - I received my Vanguard statement and had to face the ugly reality of how much money my rollover 401K account has lost since 12/31/07. UGH! Trying to convince myself that the stock market is cyclical and the best thing I can do is "let it ride" is really difficult when the pundits are screaming that our economy is in the worst shape it has ever been since The Great Depression.
So what am I doing about it? Burying my head in the sand? Living in denial? NOPE! I am working harder at being informed about political issues and understanding what each candidate stands for than I have in any previous election year. As intelligent as I know I am, I have to admit that a lot of this goes over my head. I had to look up what the term "earmark" meant as it applies to federal spending. But I'm taking the time to become educated, to understand. And the more I learn, the more amazed I am at how truly "small" our world is. Everything is interconnected. The idea that economic woes here in the United States can affect the markets in Canada, Europe, and Asia is kind of mind-blowing. Sarah is taking a course this semester called "Global Business Perspectives" - I can just imagine the discourse that the daily headlines are sparking in that classroom.

Politically (here comes the taboo part) I'm not affiliated with either party and I can't say that I truly lean left or right. Perhaps odd given that I was raised in a largely democratic leaning household, but my Mom also taught me to think for myself. I look at each issue separately, not along "party" lines. There are some things that I believe government should stay out of entirely - like a woman's right to choose, in consultation with her own doctor, what happens with her own body. There are some things I think the government needs to get more involved in and serious about - like incentives for developing alternative CLEAN sources of energy, like protecting our planet, like making education affordable. But when it comes to the $700B bailout just passed by our government, I'm torn. Seems our country has gotten itself into a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" place. The government felt compelled to do SOMETHING to stop the bleeding, but we all know a band aid won't cure hemorrhaging. I have very little sympathy for homeowners who knowingly took out huge mortgages that they couldn't really afford just because some bank was willing to approve the loan. I have even less sympathy for the Wall Street banking institutions that saw fit to approve loans to people with horrendous credit history and no income to support the level of loans being taken out. I've spent way too much time living within my means and limiting what I do and what I have to feel sorry for those who want it all now and damn the consequences.

Why should the American taxpayers bail out those who choose to live beyond their means? Why should the American taxpayers foot the bill for greed and corruption on Wall Street? On the other hand, if we don't do something to get credit flowing again, will Sarah be able to get a college loan next year? Will my retirement savings that I have spent years and years building up dwindle to nothing? These are the kinds of questions I'm pondering as I look at our candidates that are up for election in November. Regardless of what your political leaning is, I urge you to become educated, to think carefully about your choices, and most of all - to VOTE. And if you haven't seen it yet, watch this video. Okay, off my soapbox. :)

1 comment:

Stacy said...

Hi Cheryl,
You left a post on my blog last week (you were my first post!!!) I was so excited because, like you, I just decided to start my own blog. I am bare bones, don't know what I'm doing and don't know if a single person even reads it but I am enjoying it. I must say... I adore your scrapbook, your daughters are gorgeous, your kitchen ROCKS and I am pretty much in agreement with this post about politics. I have had to become more aware and educated and I am even a bit scared about what is happening. I love your blog and I can't wait to read more posts. I added you to my favorites and I'll be back!
PS. I will post pics of my homemade corkboards as soon as I figure out how to do that:)