Did you ever get the feeling this country has hit rock bottom?
Well, this author certainly has arrived at that point a time or two.
And, once there, you hope and pray and wish--thinking to yourself, "Hey, there's nowhere to go from here but UP!"
So, checking my wallet and credit card balances, I've prayed plenty, and sent for my credit reports. One honest to God truth is that, unless you have money, you can't get money! That's just the way the system is rigged--always has been, and always will be!
So a couple of weeks back (getting the latest update on my Wells Fargo checking account) the kid on the other end of the line asked me with whom I had my bill-payer mortgage loan, and what the interest rate was? I told him I wasn't sure. But he replied he was positive that Wells Fargo was the most solvent bank in the country and could do better than Citibank. "Fine," I said, "so, send me the paperwork." Mind you it's been two weeks, and I haven't gotten a thing from them. Oh well, I guess they did a credit check on me and wrote me off.
But that's much like the current plight of our country. We're overdrawn, underpaid, and, practically enslaved by the God almighty buck! Thus it is, thus it always was, and thus it's always likely will be!
There was a time when the value of currency was based, not on gold or silver, but tobacco. Then came silver certificates, and then the gold standard. And now hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, Fort Knox is probably paying rent to the Chinese.
Is there anything now we truly own? How did we lose so much monetary self esteem? We've been headed down that road for several generations. Greed will always tell. The stock market and mortgages have dealt us a losing hand. It was inevitable that "balloon" end payments, prime-plus interest rates, troubled multi-national companies, would all gang up on us to smother our common citizenry. We're all bound up in ticker tape,with no parades in sight!
Since our nation's inception, we've believed loftily in: manifest destiny, ample trade abroad, then technological and scientific wizardry.
Now a crow has come to roost on the Capitol dome in Washington, D.C..
Native Americans believe that black bird is a harbinger of ill times. How do we beat it all, with the cards we've drawn? We seem to need a straight, or flush--and more to the point of the poker analogy--literally, full houses in America.
Other than fiscal dissolution, what's more frightening is being ethically overdrawn! What other country is engaged in wars like ours? What other has, as its fronts, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea--with a prison in Guantanamo? What other is farming out not just its jobs, but also torture?
My hope is that the sins of American parents won't be visited upon our children. One verb definition of "sin" is "to miss the mark." So, yes, our arrows have not hit the bull's eye! We aimed to get in and out of Iraq fast! Comes the early millennium, and Georgie boy told us a few weeks into Iraq: "Mission accomplished!" Yet we're still entrenched in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The oil revenues from it to pay for it all didn't materialize. Iraq boasts a current surplus, but we--a huge deficit.
We thought to be welcomed as liberators, but had another think coming. Insurgencies arose where there had existed none before!
Their freedom, however, does not yet include the necessities of dependable electricity, heat, and groceries.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, poppies for cocaine remain the prevalent standard for commerce. And just what cash crop can we suggest instead? Corn? Soy? I think not. The Taliban, like Bin Laden, remains entrenched in mountains and caves, still keeping their drug source for yet more down paymentss on terrorism.
So it turns now from high stakes poker into a game of hot potato. We are gingerly tossing threats back and forth all over the globe. Could matters get any worse? Apparently they can. Just pick a subject of national concern. Economy? Wrecked,and in the junk yard with junk bonds. Medicine and healthcare: not the best in the world, but certainly the most expensive. Health insurance? I'm sure Hillary Clinton has a few choice words to say on that. And crime, especially murder, brings us full circle to the right to bear arms,and the powerful role of the N.R.A. in our elections. Do we really have a Constitutional right to concealed side arms and assault rifles? Were not the Columbine shootings in Colorado and later at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute enough? Apparently not.
So what things have laid us so very low? How about unemployment, taxation of the struggling middle class, and O.P.E.C. gouging our wallets at the pump? Yes, we've sunk pretty low, and one can only hope the only way to go is up! So, since we're laid out flat, and in the basement, just where is the light switch!? Maybe we need a cattle prod to get us up and running again. I just hope and pray that Senators Obama and McCain have one on hand!