James Carville used to boil the issues down to one: "It's the economy, stupid."
And the economy is the main issue in most presidential elections. But it should be an issue in every CONGRESSIONAL election, too. Voters aren't giving Congress the blame it deserves. Because there's another saying I picked up during my life in politics, and it regards a voter's own representative in the federal government: "He's an asshole, but he's OUR asshole." So individual members of Congress are re-elected and the entire body keeps on keeping on...and doing horrific things to the U.S. economy.
But the real reason I wanted to vent here isn't the presidential race or even the pathetic U.S. Congress.
It's the voters. Us.
I am so sick and tired of people waiting for someone to ride in on a white horse and save the economy. At least in Hershey, the voters have an excuse -- we had a benevolent dictator rule our town for a long while, and that's the best kind of government, and we got fat, happy and used to being given things. But people in Hershey and everywhere else in the U.S. need to wake the fuck up.
Our economy is tanking because of US. Because of OUR actions.
We signed up for interest-only mortgages. We thought it was a great idea to shop at Wal-Mart. We took advantage of the great prices we got on Chinese-made goods. We planned parties for our kids with the crap in the Oriental Trading catalog. We didn't invent, create or start businesses.
The good news? WE did our part to screw the economy over, and WE can make a difference in the recovery, one person at a time:
We can hold our legislators accountable (OK, I went back to Congress again, so sue me);
We can buy products made in the United States;
We can support local businesses;
We can eat at locally owned restaurants;
We can stop buying plastic toys mass-manufactured in China;
We can buy local food (for God's sake, it took me 20 minutes at my local grocery store to find apple juice that was made from U.S. grown apples, and I live 30 minutes from Adams County, Pennsylvania -- a HUGE apple-growing area);
We can stop borrowing so much money (perhaps the banks will take care of that for us, at least).
This has been bothering me for some time, and it feels better to get it in writing. My fingers are crossed that it occurs to a few people that personal responsibility is cool. Then, when you're tired of blaming yourself and your neighbors, go ahead and read Ben Stein so we can point a few more fingers at Washington: