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You've all heard the well known clichés that refer to the circular nature of the Universe in which we dwell . . . what goes around comes around, or what we put out comes back to us, and the ending of one thing being the beginning of something else comes instantly to mind. I'm a firm believer in this boomerang nature and I embrace a Natural Law 'cause and effect' philosophy in my life. It works well in helping me to understand the physical realm, as well as on an individual level in my own manner of thinking, planning events, and charting courses. It serves me most, actually, in the more Spiritual elements of my life. The last few days, though, I've been pondering this premise as applied to an entire culture.

No one can deny that our culture experienced a monumental turning point in history a week ago today. Regardless our individual joy or disappointment at the results of our election, we all greet another new era in America. Personal feelings aside, few failed to be somewhat overwhelmed at the scene emanating from Grant Park in Chicago last Tuesday night. Few failed to be somewhat moved by the words of our new president-elect as he humbly accepted his mandate. Few, too, failed to acknowledge the affable and gracious congratulatory remarks offered by his opponent. For a while, the nation as a whole had truly come together.

For the last few days, I've taken time to let it all sink in and reflect over the last two years; the politics, the incessant rhetoric, the campaigns, the policies and promises. The incredible task facing the new president-elect is still almost mind boggling to me. No doubt a ray of hope has been ignited for the people, and both political parties have vowed to work together to bring solutions to what appear almost insurmountable problems. Yet already, there are the murmurings of discontent in the backrooms of Washington as the new administration is formed. Charges and counter-charges within the campaigns themselves are really getting rude and old to me. More importantly, folks are still faced with unsolved dilemmas that threaten to get worse before they get better. We the people watch and wait and wonder what's next. And, that is exactly what we cannot do. We cannot just watch and wait.

I worry for the younger generations, even my own age group, who really can't relate to the Great Depression of the Thirties. Even though I've heard many stories from my grandparents and parents, ethics and culture have changed dramatically in the last eighty years. Many simply won't know how to cope should things reach that point again. The government is deeply in debt and there are going to be limits in what can be done. One thing is clear; drastic change is going to take time and a lot of help and understanding from each and every citizen.

The time for pursuing the blame game is past. Every element of our culture shoulders some of the blame. Even if through apathy or failing to be fully informed and demanding accountability from elected leaders, spending beyond means and feeding the profit machine, expecting government to solve all problems and corporations to meet all demands of a union,  lack of family planning, lack of ambition, lack of parental discipline and educating our children and ourselves to changing times. Everyone played some small part in the decline somewhere along the line, and everyone is going to have to play a part in the recovery if there is to be one. One president and one congress simply cannot do it without an unparalleled commitment from the people.

We can begin by joining forces in neighborhoods and communities. We can tighten our consumption of energy, volunteer with services presently provided by government so that government spending can be cut and budgets balanced, including our own. Even if we no longer have children in school, we can take interest in our schools by volunteering in after-school programs to allow their continuance. If we have school age children, we can demand less focus on entertainment and more focus on education. Kids are an invaluable resource and usually thrive when given responsibility. We can be a part of environmental and neighborhood cleanup and watch programs to aid law enforcement and fire fighters. There are a myriad of things we can do no matter how small they may seem.

It might be interesting, and fun too, to discuss ideas and share opinions on this topic right here at Fabulously 40. This column originated with a political and current events platform. The election may over, but political current events will be lively for some time to come. Someone commented on my last column regarding discussion and sharing ideas without rancor. By all means, we can do that. By all means we, as a nation, better.  

Susan Haley, Author

     **Susan Haley is the published author of two books, several articles and essays. She is an award-winning poet, copy editor and book reviewer for Pepper Tree Press Publishing and reviewer for AME Marketing out of San Diego. She also contributes a column to "The Florida Writer" the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, of which she is Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. The audio version of her novel "Rainy Day People" was awarded runner-up Finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work to various E-zines, newsletters and local papers.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • I have also been thinking for the past few days how now that the excitement of the election is over we can not go back to business as usual.
      I mentioned in another thread how we are all in the same beaten and embattled ship. All of us have had a hand in it’s taking on so much water. Thus we all have a responsibility to pick up a bucket and help to bail some of the water that threatens to sink us.
      thanks again Susan for your thoughts.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Nov 12, 2008
    • I totally agree with your comment Annie. I am hoping that people do realize the enormity of the task ahead not only for the new president but for the country as a whole and also the globally community. The kind of change that is needed will not happen overnight and most probably will not happen within the next four years.  

      Sometimes I feel the president elect will have and even harder time staying on track with an all democratic congress...everyone will always have their own agendas.

      It is also my hope that we all remember that what happens to one effects us all and consider this when we are making personal decisions in the future.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cheryl Guy wrote Nov 12, 2008
    • Very well said! I personally know a lot of people who are in a financial crisis because when they have money today, they spend it like there is no tomorrow! Well the money is gone and now they are loosing everything because they can’t make the payments. I know that I am learning a lesson from all of this to “save for a rainy day“. I have always been a spender & not a saver but I do not spend beyond my means. I still wish now that I had saved more because times are tight for my family. We own a car audio business and that is something that most people right now can’t throw away their money on. We know as long as we can hold our heads above water eventually that will change. For now, I am going to take your advice & figure out what I can do to help in anyway that I can.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Nov 12, 2008
    • Great comments! I agree with all of you 100%! Hey girls, maybe we oughta go run Washington! :)

      Great use of metaphor five-o! Yes, we are all on the same ship and it’s sinking so everyone better grab a bucket!

      Two words were used here that almost sums up the base problem, too. Expectations and agenda. If this nation is to come out of this whole and sound, I think we must prioritize our expectations and let our politicians know that the ONLY agenda they better have for awhile is fixing problems regardless of prior promises and votes. Problem with government is it’s one never-ending election! Already the rhetoric has started for 2012. We might not SEE 2012 as a democracy with that mindset. That is where the people come in.

      Barack Obama did say one thing over and over throughout his campaign. Agree or disagree, it is sure worth a lot of thought . . . change comes from the bottom up. It’s built family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town and state by state.  

      Agendas for the purpose of insuring votes from a region, an electorate, a special interest, or even assuring one’s own tenure in congress has been our downfall. Every voting citizen needs to be all over their congressman like a rug! Let them know the pork barrell and the lobbyists have reached the end of their party.

      I was so impressed with the huge response shown here in support of mztracey’s wheelchair plight. That is a perfect example of how reaching out and sticking together can affect change. If any industry in this nation needs a total revamping. I’d say it’s the insurance companies and the pharmaceuticals. I wonder if any of us really comprehends what horror goes on in their boardrooms. I sure don’t and I’ve fought the battles only to lose. My husband died.

      Great bunch of women here!


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