e-words: election and economy

ask your local gift shop, clothing store, or restaurant owner how business has been in the last few weeks and they may well tell you that it has not been good.  our customers are anxious-- afraid of how this election will go and how it will affect their financial worlds-- and that anxiety has been keeping them away from the establishments they usually frequent.

and they are not alone--

i have heard it said that we are currently experiencing the worst recession of the last hundred years.  that includes, obviously, the GREAT DEPRESSION of the 1930's.   those of us who are in some ways on the economic fringes-- those of us who are self-employed, marching to a different drummer, unable to find work, working in an alternative economy-- may be more aware of this 'great recession' than most-- but we are all affected by it.  i hear my customers and clients talking about their financial fears every day.  i have watched many of my wholesale vendors go out of business in the last few years, or change significantly the way that they do business so that they are able to stay IN business.  every day i have people-- local artists and artisans-- asking me to carry their products-- all trying to find a way to make ends meet at a time that ends just don't meet.  working downtown i see more and more people on the street-- people who are not always noticed by the rest of us who are just coming and going-- people who might have had a place to live and the support that they needed at some point, but who have now fallen through every safety net and are now largely spending their time on the street.

the economic prosperity we enjoyed in the last few decades was a myth-- a bubble created by our bad banking practices, our international exploitation of cheap resources and labor, and a result of our putting greed and profit ahead of taking care of ourselves, our neighbors, and our planet.

it is my belief that we will only truly come out the other side of this economic crisis if we collectively address the real problems rather than trying to find a shiny, sugar-coated-- more palatable-- way of seeing things.  we need to start understanding that there are all kinds of good ways to ensure that our products are made well and made ethically-- AND that if we regulate and tax our corporations we will have more jobs, more affordable consumer goods, AND more money to spend on our communities; we need to see that it is possible for EVERYONE in our country to have access to good health care-- and in fact that it is a financial necessity for the health of our nation;  and we need to understand that we have a CHOICE when we go to the store, when we decide what to throw away and what to recycle, when we drive our cars, or buy our clothes, or power our houses-- and all those choices make the difference in whether or not our planet has a future.

therefore it is no secret that i will be voting for barack obama today.  i have not always agreed with everything he does-- but it is unlikely that any one of us will ever agree with every choice a president of our country makes.  i am voting for obama today because he DOES think the way i do on issues like healthcare, the supreme court, women's rights over our own bodies, equal pay for equal work-- and i agree with his understanding of our current economic situation.  obama does not try to sugar coat the truth of our economic world-- nor does he try to increase his own charisma by telling us something sparkly about what can be done to get us out of this mess.  over the last few years he has been slowly and steadily implementing the plans that will lead us to true economic sustainability and prosperity-- for ALL of us-- let's not turn back now.

vote, people.



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