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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/18/10

Don't Worry. Be Wary. Stay Informed.

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Message Margaret Bassett
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Who says we're not better off? Better off than in 1992. More organized than in 2008. Less naive than in 2006. And, in the author's view, more informed than in 2004 when the intellectual equivalent of Teeny Boppers' mantra on blogs was "Just wait!"

Two years ago in the summer there was a virtual Battle of the Sexes. Perhaps there is still political party rancor not conducive for a calm mid-term Congressional election. The good news is that the president is not running. That's not to say a lot of people aren't exercised over how things are going.

As I see things the big tussle in 2010 deals with DINOs and RINOs. There's Obama bashing like it's hard to believe on the Democrat's side. Republicans are just as splintered over what their values are. So we get noise in the form of the Tea Party, officially not on any ballot. Just to keep the record straight, Sarah Palin is making her reputation as a spokesperson for the Rupert Murdoch crowd. It is more interesting than discussing Beck, O'Malley and Limbaugh. Nuff said.

What the current administration has done and what it's alleged to have promised seems to be as close as punditry gets to an issue. Fluffy! But not as exciting as watching Palin.

"Green" is the color of the times, replacing those on the American flag, since "terrorism" is toned down to allow for such somber matters as poverty, corporate malfeasance, and the ever-present "torture" history.

Why are those who have the time and resources to complain about the current state of political values punching out gigabytes of discontent? Most likely because it's easier than exposing personal fears for the future.

I'm not mad at those who take out their frustrations on the government when their real worries come from the uncertainty for their own futures. After about eighty years of watching how Americans get excited when an election approaches, I have a few opinions myself.

So you're worried about your bottom line? Who isn't? So don't listen to advertisers. " You oughta buy now" didn't work when the Edsel sat in show rooms. We lived through facts connected to post-WWII economic realities as we did through the fear factor of the Cold War. We saw the skullduggery of Watergate capers through disclosures of "The Pentagon Papers." Understanding how Intelligence could usurp the power of a president (and in turn an emergence of imperial presidencies) is still with us. But we're wrestling with the devious ways of clandestine actions. If we only remember we were constituted to prevent a president from acting like a king, we'll be home free. Hint: It's not helpful to nag the one sitting in the Oval Office.

So. What can a citizen do? Excuse the possible wonkishness mentioned below. It does not hurt to bone up on history. Instead of lauding or lambasting a past president, look to his times--economic, social and political. (Instead of saying "Reagan" try saying "the Reagan era." I remember all those Chamber of Commerce luncheons he attended before he made the big scene and see an image of creamed chicken with peas and carrots for color--I served meals at banquets and sometimes I can even taste the slabs of apple pie.)

And. Which event stands out in Twentieth Century American history? For me the civil rights movement stands supreme--the real progressive activity to make our Union more perfect. Reading Branch Taylor's trilogy of the King Years puts the JFK/LBJ era in perspective. Even those too young to smell the smoke the next morning from race riots (for me, Chicago) can use their imagination after three thousand pages.

Then. The biggie. Gas wars and what is still unfinished as an energy policy, tied so closely to an ecological goal, that those from the Carter Era until this very day are part of history in the making. For an early introduction to Petro Peril, please consider Servan-Schreiber's "The World Challenge," which tells a lot about the Young Turks.

But. Not to overlook the hideous "meltdown." Try Lester Thurow's "The Future of Capitalism" (1996).

PLEASE. Do not give me your pet titles. Actuarially, reality has set in and I've stopped adding to my books-to-read list. If, however, you have thoughts on "eras" I would like your opinion.
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Margaret Bassett passed away August 21, 2011. She was a treasured member of the Opednews.com editorial team for four years.

Margaret Bassett--OEN editor--is an 89-year old, currently living in senior housing, with a lifelong interest in political philosophy. Bachelors from State University of Iowa (1944) and Masters from Roosevelt University (1975) help to unravel important requirements for modern communication. Early introduction to computer science (1966) trumps them. It's payback time. She's been "entitled" so long she hopes to find some good coming off the keyboard into the lives of those who come after her.
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