Friday, October 31, 2008

Okay...I'll just say it.

Chill, people.
I generally avoid political discussions like the plague because, a.) they’re absolutely no fun, and b.) they make me sick.

I consider myself a classic fiscal-conservative-but-social-moderate, politically. I campaign for no one because I don’t fully agree with either party on a plethora of issues.

I’m basically apolitical, but am well-aware that I’m in the minority on this issue, so I’m sure most people won’t agree with my stance. However I’ve been through a bunch of Presidential elections in my 52+ years and have been a working adult for more than 30 of those, so I believe I can offer this little bit of perspective: Chill, people; this country will neither be saved nor spared by the results of this Presidential election.

The sun will rise and the sun will set; no one person is gonna change that. I just don’t get why people have to become so worked up about it all. I’ve come thisclose to dropping a few folks I follow on Twitter, not because of what they say, but because it seems like ALL they can talk, and grouse...AND talk, and grouse about is politics — with nearly every Tweet.

The fact is, next Tuesday will come and go and we’ll all still be here when it’s done, save for those who’ll be choosing to pack all their belongings into their cars and drive ’em into the ocean — or a choice that’s equally silly and worthless: allowing a presidential election to take their focus off of the only thing that really matters: living.

Y’see folks, we’re not electing a White Knight on November 4th; we’re electing a candidate to occupy the office of President of the United States. Will he be the single-most powerful man in the world? Maybe. Does that power give him the ability to single-handedly fix all of our country’s problems? No way, Joe(theplummer)-say.

And if you think I’m casting aspersions strictly on Barack Obama here, think again. I’m not putting any more stock in John McCain; I have no idea how much if any of the campaign promises either of them will be able to make good upon if elected, and quite frankly I couldn’t care less which one does. What I DO know is that it’s neither their job, nor their ability to make me happy and successful; it’s up to ME and ME ALONE to do get that task accomplished.

See, I’m the only person sitting in AJ’s Oval Office.

I could go on ad-infintum here, but I would instead challenge you — if you’re old enough — to recall the state of the U.S. economy at or near the end of the past three decades, which also just happened to have been in close proximity to Presidential elections.
  • End of the 70s: a full-blown recession. Ronald Regan comes in and things get better.
  • End of the 80s: Black Tuesday ushers in a mini-recession. Things were already getting better by 1992 when Bill Clinton came in and the economy really took off.
  • Then in 2000-01 the very thing that sent Wall Street through the roof sends it crashing back to the ground; the dot-com bubble bursts and all hell breaks loose. Then 911; then Iraq.
  • The years since have been a mixed bag, with things improving early-on, but the Iraq war pretty much keeping the economy at bay, before the mortgage-lending crisis finally pushes it off the cliff.

The point I’m trying to make is that since the 60s, there has never been more than a ten-year window in which the economy has been truly robust, and even when it has been, inflation has tempered overall economic success. And conversely, there hasn’t been more than a two-to-three year period in which we’ve witnessed the economy in any kind of sustained downturn. There have always been these cyclical mini-recessions and market adjustments that crop up, usually at the turn of the decade, often coinciding with the end of a Presidential term. Why that is, I do not know, but I’ve now seen it happen four times in my lifetime and I find it pretty unlikely to be a coincidence. To me, it all has to do with confidence — the consumer variety, that is.

Jimmy Carter wasn’t a bad person, but history now agrees that he was one of the worst presidents of our era. The reason? He didn’t respond to the things that really mattered. He mothballed the U.S. military, and in response, the Soviet Union shifted theirs into overdrive, making our Cold War position with them incredibly tenuous for a number of years, and emboldening the Soviet-supported Iranian jihadists to take the U.S. Embassy in Tehran hostage.

And though he never threw any kind of switch, the helplessness we as a country felt over the Iranian hostage crisis paralyzed us, sucking our confidence dry. And no matter who’s to blame, whenever something like that happens, it’s always a bad thing for a market-driven economy that runs on consumer confidence.

I truly believe that no matter who wins next Tuesday, America will regain its confidence sooner, rather than later; if not for any reason other than the fact that somebody new will be in the White House, like it or not.

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, kids; bet’cher bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.

Howz about us getting back to living our lives, being responsible with our finances, conserving, planning and saving for rainy days, rather than weighing all our hopes and dreams on things or people that really don’t matter?

Howz about us leaving the vitriol behind and starting to show some love and respect for those with dissenting views? It goes both ways, y’know.

I am the only person ultimately responsible for me; you are the only person ultimately responsible for you.

I choose to concentrate on making sure that I, myself am getting the job done right, first and foremost. I don’t need to worry about the guy in the White House. Whomever it ends up being, he’s gonna have enough problems of his own to deal with.


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