Monday, November 22, 2010

The End of Ordinary Time

It's the end of Ordinary time as we enter the season of Advent. The liturgical calendar mirrors a seasonal truth, as the last of the fall gives way to the deeper mysteries and introspection of winter time. By focusing on the calendar and its meaning, it's easier to escape the despair of wondering where it is all pointing, which for everyone is death. We all have a healthy dose of neurotic ganglia firing away at the base of our brains, a clock ticking away, instilled by our genes, our parents and by life experience. And the urgency in some becomes a full blown life crisis, when the realization is lost that there is a deeper meaning to the days.
Markets are driven by the ordinary neurosis and fear of masses of people acting as a herd, running from death. Then nations declare bankruptcy, unable to pay for the long party years of the boom when the bubble finally bursts. Who gets left holding the bag? Not the robber barons who fed the orgy of bad loans and junk bonds. The old, the infirm, the unemployed, people at the bottom of the pile are the ones who get hurt when governments decide to shut down services.  
Certainly if the Republicans get their way there will be cuts. Perhaps it's inevitable, but it's not fair. And the irony is that experts say cuts in spending will not be enough to reduce the deficit if the economy fails to recover. Yes, we should pay as we go. I agree with the Tea Party on that.  Call me a Clintonian deficit hawk, but at this point our roof is leaking and we need to pay to get it fixed to avoid worse rot down the road. Let's see if the Republicans will be intelligent and humane or will they stand on their principles and pay the price at the next election. It is amazing how they seem to be prepared to shut down all good governance, including foreign treaties such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation agreement with Russia, in the hopes of winning at the next election. I think despondency on the part of progressives is uncalled for, particularly when you look at the demographics of the last vote, old, rich and white. Democrats need to stop despairing and get Obama on message starting now. Yes, a remake of the message is needed, but not a cave-in on the main points. What are the main points? I don't honestly know. For me, right now it's about giving thanks to God and concentrating on the deeper meaning in the days. Maybe that's what goes for our country, too.
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