I feel like I'm having a hard time thinking about the news of late. I consider myself a informed member of society, who cares about responsible government, the environment, the economy, the whole shebang. For a long time, I've been content to throw my support to libertarians, whose philosophy matches my own for the most part. But, in this upcoming election, I'm starting to worry about the charge that I'm throwing my vote away by supporting candidates that can't win.
Anyone paying attention has to see that the United States is in an especially perilous situation at the moment. We suffer from a self-inflicted debt crisis, we suffer from hidden inflation caused by intentional manipulation of the value of a dollar, we have a housing crisis, an employment crisis, an education crisis, an imigration crisis, etc.
For a while the world seemed safer following the end of the cold war, anyone paying attention to events overseas has to be a little nervous. We live in a world of aging dictators. Nations throughout the middle east are fraying, but this is going to be small change when Pakistan finally falls apart. China's unrepresentative form of government is almost certainly doomed. In Russia, Putin has held onto power (even if he's officially been retired) for decades. What flows into the vacuum when he dies? When Somalia fell apart and couldn't put itself back together again, unless you lived in Somolia, it probably didn't affect you. But what if Mexico gets torn apart by its ongoing drug wars? What if there's another Tianamen Square incident in China, only this time everyone in China knows about it because of the internet? What if the Saudi king dies next week? (His prince just died today.)
All before me, I see bad choice after bad choice. I can support Obama, who apparently has adopted the unique constitutional view that it's legal for him to execute US citizens abroad, or I can support whatever deranged kook the Republicans regurgitate out of the digetive tract of their primaries.
The fear is strong.
My own life is actually pretty FANTASTIC! As the world falls apart, my life just keeps getting better.
1. I'm getting married! 11-11-11! And, I know that there have been other marriages in the world before, but this one is really going to be the best marriage ever. Seriously, Cheryl and I may be coming to this wedding game late in life (we're both in our forties), but I look back and wonder how the young ever manage to pull it off. I've never felt so optimistic about any choice I've made in life.
2. I'm a writer! I mean, I've been a writer for a long time, but suddenly, I'm a writer with books in print. I started writing when I was 25. It took me twenty years to get four novels in print. Now, in the next twenty months, I'll have at least four more in print, and maybe five or six depending on my stamina and the eagerness of my publishers. I was working on Hush earlier today and thinking, "Wow. I'm in the zone!" Is there anything more satisfying for the human soul than making art and having it find an audience?
3. I'm not broke! Maybe the rest of the world is heading for the poor house, but I'm doing pretty well these days. I'm not even close to wealthy, but my long struggle to pay of my debts has been successful, and these days the money that used to go to credit card companies is mostly winding up in savings. It's nice to feel like I've got forward momentum after two decades of either treading water or slipping backwards.
Which makes me wonder about all the doom and gloom at the beginning of this essay. You know, life has it's ups and downs. Ten years ago, a fair minded observer of my life might have concluded that I was heading for a train wreck. I wasn't selling books, my other day job was in turmoil, I was getting divorced, and I was piling on debt. Even I had my doubts going into the last decade that I'd make it out without being bankrupt and broken down. But, I kept on plodding. I set goals. I failed to meet them. I set new goals. I met some, failed others. I set more goals! And, little by little, things got better.
Perhaps that's happening on a grander scale. I've read that personal debt levels are falling and savings rates are rising. I've also seen stats that divorce rates are falling. Maybe we need rough times to make us push a little harder. If so, maybe all the doom and gloom of today's larger world is just a precursor to a future that might damn well be near Utopian.