I’m a libertarian by tradition and inclination – I’m for smaller, smarter government that does things right. But part of the charge of that government is to “provide for the common welfare”, that part that Republicans don’t get in their everyone for themselves sensibilities.
Health care is THE biggest issue facing this country today. It is going to have to be addressed, by people who get it and want to make it work. Our economy is going to have to be overhauled to provide better jobs. We’re going to have to rebuild infrastructure, and this time, make it sustainable. We need a new energy base for the economy. We need to start taking better care of ourselves and everyone around us.
For all these reasons, and more, I am supporting progressive organizations right now. I’m not a “leftist”, despite having that cahrge thrown at me occassionally, I’m a realist, and the options Stirling points out in this article are exactly the two options I see for this country – either we try to hold onto the past, letting the rich take all the profits before the clock runs out on this era, or we move forward into the next era with courage and conviction – not to create endless wars overseas, but tio create a renewed America for ourselves, with different options than a huge war over the last of the remaining oil.
What if we use what’s left of the oil economy to generate the next economy? What if we create, now, with the resources of the past we have left, the basis for our new future? That’s the progressive option.
I want an America we can leave to our kids and grandkids that we are proud of, not one in ruins from struggling over dead dinosaurs. Clean, safe, walkable, sustainable, and easily traveled, without the encumbrance of ridiculous airling checks and meaningless restrictions on our shampoo bottles and toothpaste.
Let’s stop fighting over gay marrriage, the fear of having our guns taken away (my husband owns two, thanks, and is an NRA member), and whose God we should all bow down to (btw, the God of Christians, Jews and Arabs is the same God, just different traditions that go along with him) and get on with the reality of building the next ventury – not the PNAC century, but the real new American century that we are actually going to have to live in.
Enough of dreams of empire – let’s just be a great nation in a world of other great nations, already.
This clock is running out quickly, and there are two, and only two, options.
One is a nastier, poorer, sicker America. One that will fall behind rapidly, as people from around the world choose not to come here, and the people who are here will find that their human infrastructure is being passed by other nations. It will be a nation that will lose its best and its brightest, as they head to Australia or China or India for better chances, or Europe for a more comfortable and stable existence. Slashing benefits will mean drops in aggregate demand and economies of scale. It will mean other nations will no longer gear their production for our markets, and prices will rise. It will mean more people living less well. This will go on until the echo boom reaches its earning years, and there will be a chance for a neo-classically driven export revival of the American economy, but the miracle of compound interest in reverse will mean that it will live, as the Clinton years did, in the shadow of an electorate that will be desperate to cash out, rather than fix the problems.
The other road is a progressive America, one that shifts from petroleum addiction to energy creation, one that shifts from a society questing for rent, to one questing for capital, one that understands that to stay ahead, one must plan ahead. The crucial problem is this: consumer demand becomes demand for energy in the end, and that becomes demand for oil, which we import. Wages did not rise, because that was the only way that was found to increase GDP without increasing oil consumption. To give workers back their wages, we need to find a way to export, not import, from the rest of the world. Crucial in this is setting up a universal, single payer, health system, because health care is largely a non-tradeable, and creating profit incentives in non-tradeables is counter-productive and unproductive. The world must be our market place, and the era of cutthroat class civil war must come to an end.
Thus, however romantic the sensibility of being in the dusty dusk dark days before a great global conflict – the reality is that we are not there, but in another time, and another era, one that, however much it may look back on FDR and Churchill as founding fathers, must find its own path into a different darkness which was unknown to the past, and in which lies the future.