I think today I have been subject to more political discussion than I have since the last major holiday on which all my male relatives were in the same place. If you know me at all, you know I hate that (political discussion, not having all my male relatives in the same place). I'm never posting anything on Facebook that could be misconstrued as me making a political statement again... strictly entertaining fluff from now on. I'm not gonna talk about politics in this blog entry either... I'm gonna talk about common sense, along with some of my own opinions that are kinda political (but I'm not about to go about holding signs and protesting on their behalf).
First off, let's be real here. If you live in America (and all but a few of my friends do, so that's probably you), you're not "the 99%". You're probably in the upper 15% of the world's wealth, in fact. (I wonder if the rest of the world will gang up and picket our borders holding signs proclaiming that they are the 85%? Nah, they probably can't afford to make the signs.) Not so sure about that? Check out this thing right here.... http://www.globalrichlist.com/ There you can enter in your own personal yearly income and learn where exactly you rank in the world's percentages. I'm at the 11.4% level, and most of my friends who read this are likely to be higher. Also I am the 682,571,530th richest person in the world, according to this site. I find that less credible (because really, how do they know that?), but still interesting.
Let it be known that I have no great love for the American political structure. Sure, it's better than some, but I don't love it with great patriotic fervor and I don't necessarily think it's the only way to go. And a few of you flag-wavers are going to say that I'm free to leave if I don't like it. Well, no I'm not. My custody arrangements with the ex say that I need court approval to move more than 60 miles from him, elsewise I'd have bailed in 2005. And it's not because I hate America. I don't hate it. I don't love it either. I just was born here through no fault of mine. I am neutral like Switzerland on the subject of America, how's that? I do, however, think that we Americans have created a political structure in which is is completely essential to be corrupt in order to rise to the level of serious candidacy for any of the higher-ranking offices. Therefore, anyone who is up for election I will not be voting for. (Really, I think we should put the "servant" back in "public servant" and make all politicians work for free. That'd get rid of the ones who are in it for the money and make way for the people who actually care about the people of the country and want to serve.)
Here, in a word, is where I think we went wrong with the economy: credit. People said, "Well, I want this but I can't afford it. Loan me some money and I'll pay you back." Maybe it was even something they needed, but I've found people have sort of a distorted idea of "need" anyway. (Food, water, air and shelter are needs. Anything else really isn't. And in most parts of the country, breathable air is still free.) The banks said "Okay," and gave the people money and charged them interest. The banks thought this was great because they got their money back plus some. The people thought this was great because they got to buy stuff they couldn't afford and pay for it "later". More and more people did this, and suddenly the banks went "Whoa! We don't have any actual money left! Pay us back now!" and the people said, "But we don't actually have any real money! That's why we spent the money you gave us!" Meanwhile the government, perhaps taking its cue from the masses, spent trillions of dollars it didn't actually have with the idea that they'd just tax it out of the people, who appeared to have lots of money because they were sure buying a lot of stuff. Except the people didn't actually have any money either. Oops.
Here's a simple fix, America: Stop spending pretend money. Real money is that green stuff you can hold in your hand. Some of it comes in coins. That stuff you can spend. Oh, and try to stick to buying stuff you actually NEED. If you want to buy something that you just want, make sure you're buying it with the green stuff, and make sure you have enough green stuff left over to buy the things that you actually need. (Again, people, "needs" are food, water, shelter and air. Healthcare may also count as a need. In this day and age, transportation probably counts. If you want to have a job, a phone probably counts. Computer/internet is still not a need, I don't care what you say. Neither is television/cable.)
And no, I'm not perfect. I have credit card debt. I have student loan debt. And I have recently resolved not to accumulate any more of either, and I'm actively working toward paying those off. But I recognize true needs as opposed to wants, and any wants that I really cannot afford have been rather aggressively eliminated from the budget.
On another note, I'm currently most of the way through my first listening of the new Evanescence album, cleverly titled "Evanescence", which I bought with the green stuff after tending to more pressing needs like "being able to see" (I paid out-of-pocket for an eye exam and contact lenses today because my insurance apparently thinks I only need to see one out of every two years). But back to the music, so far I'm liking it (I'm on the next-to-last song on the album). Much better than 2006's The Open Door, which was the vehicle for the most depressing song of all time, "Like You". Overall, Evanescence is heavier than both The Open Door AND Fallen. I consider this a good thing. And in the continuing spirit of musical goodwill...
Song o' the Day: "What You Want" by Evanescence. First single/video from the Evanescence album. See/hear it here.