Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Road to be Taken

Republicans are great at producing things; but they don't share very well. Democrats are great at sharing; but sometimes they forget that you can't share what you don't produce.

What ever happened to the good old days, when people and politicians (like Liberal Republicans and Democratic Conservatives) found a way to balance productivity and noblesse oblige? Dwight Eisenhower's working hand in hand with Lyndon Johnson to make more and share more? Increase the pie and give greater pieces to everyone? Those politicians oversaw the greatest increase in middle-class prosperity and equity in the American experience.

Are those days over forever?

I think the personal greed excesses set in in the late sixties, when we stopped the Protestant work ethic, and two things occurred: the Right and Rich started making money the new-fashioned way: focusing on financial services rather than production services. The left turned all their energies with social reform for blacks, browns, women and gays and the right to rigging the financial system in their social favor.

These Democrats created a necessary revolution, to be sure, but no one wanted to work hard and pay for it. The Left became more interested identity politics and "do your own thing"; and less and less with consensus or community. Securing credit (cards and otherwise)for everyone replaced hard work and savings. So while the Democrats taxed (all right, "fees") and spent, Republicans created new financial instruments (and attached great earning bonuses to them for themselves).

So now, in new century, after twenty five years of spending and not saving (for one recent year there was a negative savings rate in the US!) we have a much smaller pie (the Chinese, who saved, own a big slice of the American pie now)); but ther is less economic equity from top to bottom. The middle, of course, has been crushed between the two.

Maybe (and this is my fervent prayer for my granddaughter and her coming generation) when the baby boomers, the generation that began the Revolution of democratizing self-involvement and self-interest, right and left will gone, and the center will dominate once again, as it did in the 50's. We'll get back to listening to someone else--maybe even sometimes agreeing with them--rather than only listening to our own narrow self-interests. We will blend mutual viewpoints together to produce a fuller, more nuanced understanding of, and richer point of departure to, solving American problems.

I hope it comes soon. We'll get rid of MSNBC and Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Meadows, and their hardened right and left points of view, and get back to Walter Cronkite days, a man who worked hard the squelch his own bias and like him, present the news "That's the way it was", and vote for Presidents like Dwight Eisenhower, who wasn't quite sure if he was a Democrat or a Republican (in fact both parties chased after him to be their standard-bearer). We can settle one again on being Americans, and remember that the major word in our beloved hyphenates--African-American, Hispanic-American, Female-American; Gay-American--is American, the noun, the central emphasis in the phrase.

Peace is not based on everyone agreeing, but rather everyone agreeing to agree; peace is following the middle road; and remember that prosperity is based on hard work...and a reasonable amount of spending and saving and sharing. Or as the Greeks used to call it: living the Golden Mean.


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