Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frankenstorm II

While Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded and has spent most of its damaging power, its effects will not be easily forgotten.  Dozens killed, millions without power.  The shore areas of multiple states swamped and reconfigured.  While the rain and heavy winds in my neighborhood were not as severe as in some, my daughter has had no school all week, and many businesses remained closed even today for lack of electricity. 

In my previous post, I mentioned that I expected some water seepage.  We had a bit more than seepage however, as the front sump pump could not do its job due to our loss of electricity from Monday evening until Tuesday early morning.  This resulted in the necessity of my bailing out the sump pump hole by hand every 90 minutes or so.  Eventually, I gave up and let the water settle in an area of our basement that has seen water in the past.  This area is separated from the rest of the basement by an eight inch step and I figured that the water was not flowing so much that it would rise above that level.  Strangely, once I fell asleep, I dreamt of battling water in the house.  

As they say, be careful what you wish for as you might get it.

Which brings us to the upcoming election.

In 2008, we were still in the grips of the financial meltdown.  The stock market, along with so many 401K balances, was still dropping.  The housing market was dead in the water.  We were seven years into two wars in far-away lands, and still had not caught the mastermind of the 9/11 tragedy that spurred our overseas military involvements.  Unemployment was rising, and most employers were predicting  further layoffs. 

To be honest, I considered it a no-brainer to vote for hope that America might turn its fortunes around by changing the direction of its policies, as did the majority of Americans who voted that day in November 2008.  And perhaps that was the danger.  We elected someone who promised that he would change everything for the better.  We assumed that by pulling the Obama lever that day, the bleeding would stop, the sun would shine again, and all that was wrong would be right.

For my part, I believe the president tried extremely hard in the face of all that needed to be fixed, and made a good amount of progress.  But was it enough progress?  Did we wish for him to fix it all, without understanding that our role did not end just by making that presidential choice?  Did we do enough to help him, support his drive to increase the number of Americans with health care insurance, stand behind his proposals to reign in Wall Street, encourage his efforts to protect our natural resources from unregulated drilling and digging, advocate for him when he attempted to end Don't Ask/Don't Tell and other forms of homosexual discrimination and defend his proposals to provide contraception and family planning choices for women. 

Or did we jump off the bandwagon of hope and change because the road was not free of bumps and obstacles?  Did we truly believe in his vision of America, or merely vote for him because he wasn't a Republican.

I think it is important to know how you answer these questions, before you vote next week.  If you expected then, that merely pulling a lever would make your life OK again, without any belief in the candidate or willingness to do your part, then it won't matter who you choose next week, you will be disappointed.  The fact is, no one person can solve America's problems.  It will take all of us, engaged in adult conversations, making the hard choices with the knowledge that everyone will need to do their part. 

Like so many observers of this election cycle, I see much more excitement in the Romney supporters than on Obama's side.  But it appears that as much of that fervor is directed to remove Obama from office as it is to elect Romney.  If you believe that by choosing Romney there will suddenly be jobs, good paying jobs, that gas will drop to $2 a gallon again, that all the countries of the world will bow down to our will, that terrorism will be crushed by our superior military might, and that we can all pay less taxes while still reducing the debt, without losing the benefits our government provides us, you risk falling into the same trap that has many Obama supporters second guessing their choice in 2008.  Our own individual responsiblity to solve Ameria's problems doesn't end in the voting booth, regardless of who you choose on November 6th.

Again, be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it.

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