Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Dim and Dimmer

Congratulations, President Obama. You won a second term.
Amongst the jubilation, a lot of the pundits in the press seem to miss the fact that the margin of victory, like in 2008, is less than the margin of error in a standard poll.
It's also something less than enthusiastic participation, given it's only a fraction of the population that voted at all.
That gives you, as many of your predecessors, something less than the resounding victory you claim.
But to my mind, there really was no choice worth making, which is probably why most people didn't bother.
You carried on pretty much the same failed economic policies that President Bush the Lesser, saving the banks and the auto industry and leaving many citizens to rot.
You carried on the same wars, against the same enemies you created. It seems to me that America only seems to exist in opposition to something. The Space Race had to be a race, a contest, not exploration for its own sake, for example. Granted, you did better than W, but then it would be hard not to, and the "pull out" from Iraq is about as laughable as Stephen Harper's notion of "pulling out" of Afghanistan.
But neither you nor Mittens actually addressed the real issues that are causing so much distress to ordinary Americans. For all his many failings, the last U.S. President to speak anything like the truth to the people was President Carter.
He told you that energy was getting to be in short supply and becoming increasingly dependent on foreign sources was not a Good Thing and the only way to fix that was to scale back.
He told you that a foreign policy based on extorting 30% of the world's supply of raw materials for the benefit of 5% would eventually have severe blowback.
He spoke blasphemy against the state religion of American Exceptionalism by telling you that you were, after all, human.
So, instead of saying to the world, "Hey, guys, we made a mistake! We need to live on a much lower energy-scale, which will allow us to build out truly renewable energy sources and develop the efficiency to live comfortably within those constraints, so let's figure out how."
Instead, Rompin' Ronnie Reagan arrived with his "Morning in America" carnival show, Hierophant of the great God Hy-Tek whose holy writ of Free-Market Economics would make everyone infinitely wealthy forever and the blasphemer was banished, along with anyone who even tried to share his views.
So America, and, perforce, the rest of the planet, went back to the extravagant life-style to which no one should have become accustomed, blowing through whatever planetary resources we have an an ever-increasing rate. We have an entire edifice of political economics that depends on that fact, but reality is, we cannot. And reality is very painful for an increasingly large segment of North Americans. If you strip out the trading-card economy of High Finance, one discovers that the U.S. has never recovered, not really, not in any way that counts, from the great crash of 2008.
There are no cheap, plentiful energy supplies to get everything going again.
That is why the future is not as bright and shiny as you'd like it to be.

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