You know, the election cycle is stepping up and even if you are trying to ignore it you’re getting wapped over the head with it on a daily basis, anyway. Unfortunately. I admit, I haven’t been paying close attention but one thing that I can’t seem to get away from is that favorite theme of politicians – change. All kinds of slogans come from this humble and common word, such as: A Time For Change – We Need a Change – A Change is Gonna Come – A Real Change.
Okay people, let’s get real. First of all, the concept of change has been used by politicians ever since Sam Clemens started writing editorials for the Mudville Gazette. Apparently, this word, change, has mystical and magical powers. A candidate utters it and suddenly whatever bullshit they happen to be pushing is instantly believed. Particularly if the audience is composed of young, impressionable adults whose whole lives are based on change, largely because their hormones haven’t stopped fluctuating and they haven’t yet entered the real world of bills, taxes and obligations. It is a luxury of the young to be idealistic without any reality thrown into the mix. Yes, change would appeal to this crowd to be sure.
But how about the rest of us? Do we really want change? And if so, what is it we want to change? We have 5% unemployment – which when Bill Clinton had close to that number he was said to be an economical genius – is it really unacceptable simply because a conservative is in the Oval Office? How about the fact that we haven’t had an attack on our country since September 11, 2001? Do we want that to change? Whether or not you agree with the war, are you really upset that we haven’t had a repeat, large or small, of 9/11? Okay, now what about the economy – the Dow Index has reached record highs – the likes of which we have never seen before, nor ever expected to see. Do we want it to go down to a nicer, lower number? How about tax revenues, they too have hit highest evers (because of the tax cuts), do we want less of that? We’ve de-burkah-ized millions of women and now those same women get to go to school, teach and even vote. Is that something we want to change?
Now, I know some of you are going to come back and yell at me about the price of gas and the real estate market. However, those things are changing all the time. And isn’t it change that we want? And also, sorry, but both of those are private industries – the housing market was poised to crash starting about three years ago – it simply finally caught up with itself. There was another about a decade back. It’s cyclic, as is the cost of oil. The fact that traders have managed to convince people that unrest in the Middle East equals a shortage of oil is actually laughable when you stop to consider that we get a mere 13% of our oil from that region of the planet. Our primary source of oil is Canada and Mexico, neither of which appear to be in a state of unrest, nor look to be developing nukes to blow us up. And too, my feeling is that likely the same people who are all freaked out about the price of gas are the same dodo’s who vote to add a tax to gasoline prices every time they want some public entitlement program. Those programs aren’t free and yes, you are paying for them and yes, likely you voted to pay for them, quite possibly because you didn’t bother to read the fine print on the proposition before you voted for it. Reading is a good thing. Know what I mean?
How about small changes? Say you have a favorite Trader Joe’s or drugstore that you like to go to. But every time you go in there, they have moved the eggs and coffee and forget about finding the toilet paper. Is it better that you had to spend an extra 15 minutes in that store because somebody changed the layout of the place? Or when your boss decides it’s time to change and downsizes his staff because the government has changed something, that makes a staff of 25 unaffordable for him? Is that good? Or when your spouse of 15 years decides that he/she might like a newer, prettier model. Do we like that change?
So, obviously change for its own sake isn’t necessarily a good thing, nor is it often even necessary. Sometimes, it’s downright destructive.
So, when I hear these candidates yammering on and on about change and how they are the merchants of change it gives me a shudder. An honest to God, clutch in my gut, because let’s face it, when was the last time a politician came up with a change you liked?
When they say change, I say: What change? How will you change? Why are you changing it? Why is it better than what we’ve already got? And the ever popular, What makes you think you’ll be able to change it?
What about you? Anybody out there know what all this changie-ness is all about? What are they a-gonna change and why? And can they actually do it?