Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's clear like January light against a blue sky.

"We've got a real economic crisis..."

It's redundant but that doesn't stop most from stating their position on our current state of affairs. Our own Peter Welch is the author of the generic words above.

I hold a different opinion and I am interested in seeing if there are others that may subscribe. I think we have a crises of honesty, integrity and courage which then manifests itself in different ways which we then redefine as "crisis".

Just read below. These quotes are from the last two days and are from people in leadership positions. You will notice that political party doesn't matter at all, just read the words and think about what it is these people are saying.

“Today we sent the message to the big banks and automakers that if we are to support them in a time of crisis, they must use taxpayer money responsibly and as intended,” Welch said. “There should be no tolerance for the rewarding of incompetence and mismanagement with taxpayer dollars.” (Burlington Free Press, January 22, 2009).

Does any one quote exemplify our current situation better than this one? How can Welch, or anyone, reconcile the two sentences above with the action that is being taken in Washington and Montpelier? If there "should be no tolerance for the rewarding of incompetence..." what is the "bailout" all about? Isn't Welch and others like him doing the exact opposite of what they are saying by bailing out companies in the first place? Isn't the bailout, exactly, a reward for incompetence and mismanagement with taxpayer dollars?

There's more.

"...we must make changes to align our program with the stark realities of our current budget,” Douglas said Thursday in his budget address (Burlington Free Press, Jan 24).

This is our Governor, who has held the reigns of leadership since 2003 and has been prominent in Vermont government since 1981 ( he was also a member of the Vermont House from 1972-1979) when he was Secretary of State, including 8 years as State Treasurer (1995-2003).

My question is, why now! Why now is it important to "align our programs with the stark realities of our current budget"? Do these words from a career politician mean that in the past it hasn't been important to align our programs with reality? And further why is it that Douglas classifies reality as "stark"? Reality is reality...it can only be "stark" by perception. Where does that perception come from? It come from "our programs" being based on emotions, not reality...for a long time...a very long time. Is it really any surprise that we would percieve a "stark" reality as a result of ignoring reality for so long?

Take the next quote as an example.

“We love Catamount Health,” said Christine Oliver, deputy commission for health care administration. “We think it is a great program for folks, but we have concerns about sustainability.” (Burlington Free Press, January 24)

It's all starting to make sense. Who is "We". And who cares whether anyone thinks it's a "great program" if it's not feasible! This quote is like Welch's in that it exemplifies the true crises as one of honesty and integrity, not financial. As a bonus this particular quote also demonstrates the essence of why government will not be able to solve the problems we face today. To manifest an idea or desire in reality takes an acknowledgement of reality itself. Because you like something or think it's great doesn't make it possible and therein lies the primary indictment of government because government thinks that liking something or wanting something is enough to make it so; like a 5 year old child, without the innocence.

The most disturbing thing about Deputy Commissioner Oliver's quote is that it represents the attitude of someone who has no direct link to the success or failure of the programs he or she "...loves..." or "...thinks is great for folks...". In the private sector if something isn't sustainable there are two choices, make it sustainable by finding resources based on trade or fail. In both cases the success or failure is a direct result of the effort of the individual (s). In the quoted case above and in all cases of government involvement there is only one choice when faced with unsustainability...force others to pay more money (actually there is another choice rarely discussed in earnest, stopping the involvement all together).

These quotes from just the last two days are representative of the true crises we face. The people we have elected to lead are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They are not only denying reality but they are celebrating it as well. Welch, like many in his position, touting, that he is tough on this and won't put up with that while acting in a way that supports the complete opposite is exactly what is wrong. We are not being honest.

The real truth of the matter however is not Welch or Douglass or Bush or Obama, they are simply examples of the effects of choices that WE, the American Public, have made. The real truth is that until We The People have the courage to look at our reality and demand the same of our leaders I expect that we will to continue to celebrate false victory and rhetoric over truth and integrity. We can no more talk ourselves out of our current state of affairs than we can wish something to be true. If you expect to be saved, if you want someone else to do the work, you will get your wish and never will it be more apparent where the cliche "be careful what you wish for" gets its power.

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