"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Muse Wants to Know

I’ve been trying to talk the muse out of this all afternoon, but she has a burning question she insists on asking. In order to keep the peace in the cranium, I agreed to help her out just this one time, against my better judgment.

Let me make this clear: I have not sworn allegiance to any political party. Okay, maybe once I did sign up for the Young Democrats, but that had nothing to do with political beliefs and everything to do with Ronnie. Come on, I was eighteen. What did I know? Other than that Ronnie was cute, I mean. And I only went to one meeting. These were the days of John Kennedy, and I was thoroughly inspired by JFK. Not enough to take politics all that seriously, but enough to think that I probably was a Democrat. Whatever that meant.

At the time, I was working as a newspaper reporter, and eventually the political reporter, Ginnie, asked me if I’d like to attend the monthly luncheon meetings of the Democrats and Republicans. No, they didn’t have lunch together—they each had separate luncheons on opposite sides of town. By this time I’d met Mr. Democrat, who was a lot of fun to talk with, and since I was pretty sure he’d be at those luncheons, why, of course, Ginnie, I’d love to go with you…. And, yes, Mr. Democrat would usually come and sit with me, unless he was the main speaker. Sigh…

The Republicans? Well, that was another matter. Their luncheons were, ummm, stodgy. Nobody joked. Nobody had any fun. Everyone was way too serious. One Republican got so mad, he quit and joined the Democrats. All in all, the Democrats’s lunches were ever so much more fun than the Republicans’s. And the food was better, but that might have had something to do with Mr. Democrat.

Even their choice of venues differed. The GOP held their lunches in the fanciest, stuffiest hotel in town. The Democrats held theirs at the Penguin Club. Now, I was not yet twenty-one when all this was going on, so I can’t tell you for sure, but I heard the Penguin Club was a whole lot of fun, too. After the luncheon, of course.

As the years passed, I crossed party lines like they were a hopscotch grid, voting for the candidate rather than the party. Then, I quite often found myself voting for the lesser of two evils. My political persuasions continued to evolve, but could never be pinned to one party. When my husband and I owned and operated a small business (less than thirty employees), and I got a good look at the various taxes employers had to pay, I soon found myself with a definite starboard list.

Not too long ago, I was discussing the two presidential candidates with a friend from the old days, who used to work with Mr. Democrat. I think he was a bit surprised to discover I wasn’t a rabid Democrat. “I find that the older I get,” I told him, “the more conservative I get.”

He said something along the lines of people become conservative when they have something to conserve. He asked me to keep an open mind. I have. In fact, my mind has been so open I’m getting a headache from the political winds whistling through. When it all becomes too much, I fall back on my usual therapy—picking up highway litter.

When I heard that Colin Powell jumped party lines and endorsed Barack Obama, I was in mucho need for mucho therapy. I went out and picked up eight bags of litter yesterday. I skipped all the football games for this, even the Seaturkeys’ game against the Buccaneers. Today I went out for more of the same, and loaded up another nine bags. This is the perfect segue into what the muse wanted to say, because picking up garbage was what I was doing when she began making her demands and insisting on asking a very important question.

Here’s the situation on the economic crisis from our—I mean HER—point of view.

First, this is what I know of economics:

1. There’s black ink and there’s red ink. Black ink is good; red ink is bad.

2. If you spend more black ink than you have, you are awash in red ink.

3. I am jinxed in the stock market.

Now, here’s HER take on the national scene:

The Democrat Obama proposes to alleviate the current economic crisis by spending. He wants to dump buckets of cash into roads and bridges to put people to work. He wants to extend unemployment benefits. He wants to tax relatively high earners and businesses and “spread the wealth around.” (He did too say that—I heard him say it.) He wants to make everybody more equal. (Isn’t that a prelude to destroying personal initiative?)

The Republican McCain want to freeze spending until things are under control. He wants to reduce taxes on small businesses, so those businesses will be able to create more jobs. He wants those that earn the big bucks to keep the big bucks. (We aren’t even gonna discuss the partiers at AIG!!! Or Wall Street. That’s another story.)

Spend. Freeze. Spend. Freeze. SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND?????

Which leads me to the question the muse wants me to ask:

Of the two Emperor Wannabees, which one has no clothes?

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