Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I quit!

After 9/11, President Bush called on American’s to perform their national duty . . . going shopping. Soon after Bush Sr. and Clinton put out a public service announcement, basically saying stay calm and buy a lot. Hillary said she and her husband discussed performing their national duty by spending a weekend on the town in New York. I believe those plans were disrupted by urgent calls from their first passion, destroying the political careers of good and honest citizens attempting to rescue America from itself.

This week, in discussing the house and white house negotiated economic stimulus plan, John Beohner, a house minority leader, further defined average American citizens role in this great country. He said, “The sooner we get this relief in the hands of the American people, the sooner they can begin to do their job of being good consumers.” Good consumers. GOOD CONSUMERS. That is all we are to the American government.

They do not value us for our ability to select good leaders. Ok . . . They got us there. The best leader we have had in my adulthood was Reagan the Great who called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and announced on a radio program that the bombing would begin in 5 minutes. The Soviet Union may have been evil. Maybe we should have bombed them, but don’t announce it on the radio. Five minutes is plenty of time to duck and cover. Unprovoked bombing should be a surprise. Announcing it on the radio is like saying “Your on Candid Camera!” before you make someone the victim of a silly prank. By the way, Candid Camera is an old people version of Punk’d.

The establishment doesn’t value us for our knowledge and intelligence. Ok . . . They got us there. The United States consistently scores poorly on international academic tests. They don’t value us for our knowledge of foreign affairs. Ok . . . They got us there. According to The National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs, three years after the U.S. occupied Iraq for the second time since 1991 and 2,400 U.S. military lost their lives there (only counting the second invasion), two thirds of American young adults couldn’t find Iraq on a map. A third of them couldn’t find Louisiana on a map even after Hurricane Katrina. Forty-four percent couldn’t find Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Israel on a map. Less than half can find New York or Ohio. I understand about Ohio but New York? I wonder how many of these kids (age 18 to 24) could find their backside with toilet paper if that had to use a map.

The first Iraq invasion was actually started by President Reagan in 1986. He told a general to destroy the Soviet Union (without alerting them by radio this time). The general grabbed a map and went out to accomplish his mission. Unfortunately nobody could actually read the map. None of the men would stop the tank to ask directions either. In 1990 they landed in Iraq. Not really sure of where they were, they consulted the map. When that didn’t help their best option was to start blowing things. In 1991, Soviet Union dissolved so, their mission accomplished, the general brought our soldiers home.

Beohner’s good consumer comment gets under my skin for yet another reason entirely. He wants us to “begin” doing our jobs as good consumers. He is implying we haven’t been good consumers yet. We spend more than we make. Our debt levels are higher than ever before. We buy and dispose of things at a rate not matched by any other culture in the history of the planet but Beohner expects us to begin being good shoppers soon. On the positive side, he does seem to have faith in our ability to shop more than ever before.

Unfortunately I feel I have been doing my job as a good consumer all of my adult life. Additionally, even as a child I prodded my parents to buy me things. I have given all of my life to my consumer job but I still have not lived up to Beohner’s standards. It is my failing. The government has been showing us how to be good consumers for decades. It spends way more than it could ever earn. It has accumulated huge debts. If our government had saved as much as it owed, we could purchase other countries. Then we could use them as summer countries on warm August weekends, only to be boarded up October through May.
To the government and Beohner, I must tender my resignation. I prove to incapable of my job as a good consumer. I will now seek another position. With retraining, I may be able to get a position as a responsible consumer (buying less than I earn and saving the rest).

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