July 17, 2019   9:32am
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Look in the mirror. We’ve grown fat and have no clothes …

My last email asked if any of you wanted to post what you were thinking with respect to the election. Here’s the first taker — wouldn’t you know it would be my husband! South African by birth but an American citizen and entrepreneur for some 30+ years, he has some advice that … well, the title gives you a hint …

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Look in the Mirror. We’ve grown fat and have no clothes.

Don’t be seduced.
Some politicians tell us we are the greatest.

They promise tax cuts during times of war, when financing a paid army has dramatically increased government spending, deregulation coupled with too much liquidity has created a trillion+dollar problem, and budget and trade deficits have caused the dollar to fall pushing global dollar denominated oil prices to record levels.

They never ask us to sacrifice anything, but instead encourage us to maintain a spend-spend lifestyle through lax credit card debt.

They seduce us into thinking that we can single-handedly impose our will on the world and win wars through the use of force.

Don’t be ruled by fear. Fear can make us give up our hard-won liberties. Paranoia about being loyal to our country and not questioning our government or what it truly patriotic can make us forsake truth. The years since 9/11 have begun to resemble Germany in the 30’s. We can’t fight terrorism only with force especially while the terrorists spend most of their budgets in educating and brainwashing the young.

They tell us that a housewife mentality will solve our complex problems and that foreign policy can be developed by people who live amongst oil wells and caribou and who have hardly ever left the USA.

Don’t shoot from the hip.
The fact is that eight years ago we began to pick leaders who shoot from the hip, who “don’t blink” and who denigrate thinking. And we are now asked to choose the same again. They believe God gives them the power to look into someone’s eyes and gamble with our futures.

The result: We create global havoc and overheat the earth. We deregulate industries; thus, exposing people to financial ruin, and we let interest from mountains of debt become, excluding social security and medicare, the second largest budget expenditure after defense.

Don’t give credence to ratings-crazy media.
Making matters worse, our media, which is the cornerstone of a democracy, have helped polarize our country. They’ve taken our attention off substance. Now, instead of discussing tough and complex realities and separating fact from fiction, the media focuses on following red herrings thrown up by false spin and stirring up cultural differences in order to stimulate ratings. It’s no wonder that more than half of the country no longer believes in evolution; a large segment thinks that Iraq was responsible for 9/11; and being gay is perceived as both a disease and a sin for which we are all punished.

Do get things done.
After World War II we set up the Marshall plan to rebuild Europe, created the Peace Core to help developing nations, invented technologies to go to the moon, built businesses into efficient organizations, and even produced great cars. Is it possible that we don’t know how to get things done anymore?

Do face reality.
We are not what we once were.

We are not the entitled people. No one group is or should be.

We need to compete effectively on a global scale and bring prudence and sanity to the world.

We need to better educate our own children and provide sane health care by focusing on prevention; thereby, decreasing the number of expensive acute problems. This will allow us to insure all citizens.

Do we now lead the world only in consumption?
Sadly, one of the main areas where we lead the world is in consumption. Each year we consume a third of the world’s resources and recklessly get other countries to finance our obsession. Our ability to manufacture has atrophied, and we are no longer in the top 20 in many quality of life vectors including education and health care. (#37 in health care – recent World Health Org.; #18 out of 24 in math & science – UNICEF 2003)

What would you say?
If the USA were your child would you say? “Eat more junk food and play. Don’t worry about studying and being productive”.

Look into that mirror, what do you see?
The dollar has decreased by up to 50% in the last few years due to trade and budget deficits which will only increase as we finance the bailouts. In fact, a large part of the increase in oil prices is due to a lower dollar.

Our government debt is at record levels but so is personal debt which is an accident about to happen. Joblessness is increasing and our addiction to oil (much like a drug habit) is choking our economy while financing our enemies. There seems to be no end in sight to our failed policies.

Are we now the emperor without clothes?

Our policy of go-it-alone has isolated us. We are often mocked abroad.

We look stupid when we deny global warming exists while ever intensifying and increasing hurricanes batter our coastal cities. We have sunk so low that we condone torture and look the other way at genocide.

Our leadership of the financial world is in tatters. All of this while other nations grow stronger from oil revenues (the Middle East and Russia) or from developing their peoples’ skills and economies (China, India and Brazil).

Our military budgets dwarf all government expenditure and, yet, we are bogged down in one non-strategic country. This leaves us insufficient resources to attack Al-Qaeda, prevent nuclear proliferation or even back up our threats to Russia for its actions in Georgia.

On a macro level, we need to compete in a global market, solve global warming and redirect fundamentalists on both sides to avert a collision. Can all this be achieved by macho-bluster from leaders who side with sarcasm over substance and push fear over hope.

Before you vote, look closely at ourselves and our country. After all, we get the leadership we deserve; it’s our children who have to live with the consequences.

Yes, right now, we have no clothes.

Aubrey Balkind

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Illustration Credit: DVA of Australia

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2 Comments
Becky Patterson says: September 29th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Thank you so much for your thoughts and wisdom. Our country could use more rational conversation concerning the downfall of our political system and an American public that is invited by our press to even consider tickets that inundate us with babbling and fear tactics.

Linda Andersson says: September 29th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Thank you for articulating many of the thoughts that I have had in recent years. The fact that we as a nation have “elected” into office twice such a thoughtless and selfish leader (I use the term loosely) speaks volumes to your many points. We as a nation and individuals in this nation are resting on our historic laurels, while emerging economies are giving us a run for our money. Sadly, most Americans aren’t even aware of this reality. Too many of our citizens bury their heads in the sand and hope that someone will fix what ails us. Unfortunately, we are all going to have to pay the price for our collective laziness.

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