I got to the train station this morning about 5:45 and immediately noticed a very long freight train stopped on the northbound tracks. Since I park on the east side of the station, the train blocked the platform crossing to the southbound (to Chicago) trains. Perfect.
I followed a couple other early morning commuters to an underpass and around to the west (inbound) side of the station. Getting up to the platform about a minute before the 5:54 train was due, a disembodied voice came over the loudspeakers saying that the inbound train was going to be delayed. And you were thinking you can’t improve on perfection.
I shuffled along with the sparse, dispirited group into the station for warmth and reading light. I’ve only been “training” for about a month, but cranking up the ipod and cracking open a gruesome murder mystery is like a vacation from life. If I power off the Kindle and close my eyes, the music and the motion are like a soothing rhapsody. All that for another day, though.
So at 6:00 AM the station is filled with campaigners and candidates scurrying about trying to make some last minute connections with voters. It was mostly friendly chit chat, handshakes (I hate handshakes, who needs their germs?) “Hi, I’m so-and-so, running for this or that”. Nothing too intense. I jokingly asked, “You think they’ll blame this train thing on the hurricane?”. To which one of the campaigners replied, “They’ll probably blame it on Bush”. He wasn’t kidding.
What is it with these people? I understand the tendency for Republicans to want to hang the whole unemployment mess around Obama’s neck, especially with they fictitious, negative image some have worked so feverishly to create. It’s just that it doesn’t jibe with reality. I think at one time they actually knew that, but unchallenged lies become truth, especially if they coincide with your core beliefs.
If you’ve ever driven a boat, you know they have no brakes, which is why new boaters are always smashing into docks. The bigger the boat, the longer it takes to stop, the long it takes to turn. If this economy was a boat, it would be a thousand times bigger than Disney’s 1,100 foot Dream Ship, which means it takes a long time to change course at normal speed. Imagine trying to turn a cruise ship around when it’s doing about 70 mph, which was what was happening here when everything cratered at about the same time.
There’s two kinds of people in the world: those who think there’s two kinds of people in the world and those who know better. Every Republican shouldn’t think exactly the same thing and neither should every Democrat. There should be some agreement on historical events and actual facts. Some of what happened in 2008 was in the works for years. Unfunded wars and tax cuts and deregulation accelerated the consequences of a lazy economy toward terminal velocity. We were definitely staring into the abyss and no one can possibly think that could turn around in 3-1/2 years. Maybe not even in 8.
Objectively, every metric of our nation shows us in a better place than we were in January, 2009, when we lost 750,000 jobs. Maybe better than we had reason to expect. Waiting for private equity to save GM would’ve cost us another million jobs, possibly pushing us into something worse than the Great Depression. We’re adding jobs, albeit slowly. Housing seems to be stabilizing. The wars are winding down. Life still sucks if you’re unemployed, but as whole this country is in better shape than it was 3-1/2 years ago. Those are the facts.
If you’re into any of the human rights issues, we’ve moved on health care, equal pay for women and fair treatment for soldiers regardless of their sexual persuasion. If you want to give trickle down another shot, vote for Romney. It hasn’t worked so far and that goes back to Ronald Reagan. If you think one group’s religious beliefs should rule us all (like the Taliban), again, Romney’s your guy. If you think military action should be the cornerstone of our foreign policy….you know who to vote for.
Obama wants four more years, but let’s be realistic. A Romney administration would be four more years, as well. Four more years of the policies that got us into this mess. That should be clear in Red States as well as Blue States.