First, let's take a short accounting:
Consumer confidence has just plummeted to a nearly 30-year low. The war in Iraq has become a tar-baby entanglement. Global warming appears to be working up a real head of steam. The world also seems to be running low on it's fuel of choice. Food prices have suddenly surged. Foreclosing on homes and credit counseling have become the nation's only growth industries. The ice caps are melting faster with each passing day. Fishing fleets return home with smaller and smaller catches. Grain, once so plentiful it was often stored in piles on the ground, is suddenly in short supply driving feed and food prices through the roof. The fertilizers and chemicals needed to maintain high grain production are in short supply and prices are at record levels. Diesel, the fuel that moves nearly everything that needs moving, is now over $5 a gallon and going higher each day. Somethings gone wacky with the weather too. Living in America's Midwest, has become like living in a Cuisinart.
When you add up all the different "disturbances in the Force," it leaves one wondering why those running for president aren't sounding a lot more alarmed. After all, come next January 21st one of them is going to have it all dumped in their lap.
In fairness, the candidates do touch on many of these issues in their stump speeches. They talk about global warming, home foreclosures and the price of gas. And they each offer the hope that, if elected, they can and will do something about all this. But do they mean it ... really? It's a truism that "talk is cheap" and no talk is cheaper than the politic variety. (i.e. "I'm a uniter, not a divider," and "America needs to adopt a humble foreign policy." GW Bush circa 2000.) These guys and gals will say anything to get elected. After that it's always been back to business as usual.
And, even a more frightening possibility, do they even "get it?" I have no idea if any of the candidates actually understands how serious things are, or how much worse they are becoming with each passing day. And, even if they did, or do, understand, would they tell us the truth? Would any of them risk being the skunk at a garden party?
So far the answer to that question is "no," I don't think any of them wouldst risk that, even if they understood the true depth and breath of the problems ahead.
That's as much our fault as it is theirs. We don't react well to bad news and we are not kind to the bearers of such. So candidates tell us what we want to hear. When they do address problems they shave the sharp edges off them, then assure us that the problem, while real, is "manageable"and that the only reason it has not been managed is because the other candidate or party has failed to manage it.
Sometimes that's true. This is not one of those times. This is no run-of-the-mill "problem." This is a cancer that has been allowed, by both parties, to metastasize. This patient doesn't need a trip to the doctor, it needs to be put into intensive care, and fast.
Here's the truth, none of the candidates dares utter because so few want to hear it:
We -- (and that would be the global "we,") -- are about to come face to face with the most jarring social, financial and ecological crisis in eight centuries. Nothing like what's bearing down on us has been happened since the plague swept Europe in the mid-1300's, wiping out one in three souls and nearly thrusting Europe 300-years back to the dark ages.
Yes, it's that serious and it's that threatening.
Yet you have not, and will not, hear any of the candidates sounding anything like the sense of urgency such dire circumstances require. Tipping points will soon will be reached. After that we'll all be on for the ride of our lives -- literally.
Here's a related truth we can't handle: We're been living in a fool's paradise. That's what you get when virtually no consideration is given to the sustainability of the systems that underpin, fuel, feed, house and finance everything that matters in our daily lives.
Instead we embrace the quick, the easy, the cheapest, the short-term fixes. That's because short-term fixes can quickly address immediate problems, despite the often obvious finite nature of the resources required and/or the negative impacts such quick fixes almost always produce as byproducts.
Well, short-term solutions are just that. And we are now discovering that the meter has run out on a whole lot of short term fixes all at once. It's been a great, but careless, ride, and now the wheels are falling off.
Get used to high food costs, water shortages
Climate report offers a dire look at next 50 years in U.S.
Seattle, Washington: Shocked by rising food prices? Get used to it -- and be ready for water shortages, too, says a sweeping new scientific report rounding up likely effects of climate change on the United States' land, water and farms over the next half-century.... Some effects already can be felt, says the report released Tuesday, which synthesizes results of more than 1,000 individual studies.
And it's not just humans' food that's at risk, said witnesses at a congressional field hearing in Seattle on Tuesday. An intense and sudden acidification of the Pacific resulting from climate change presages a possible breakdown in the marine food web, experts said at the hearing, headed by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.