My laundry basket fell off a chair and a bunch of too-be-foldeds spilled out onto the carpet.  The earthquake of 2011.  What’s next?  Locusts?  (No: Irene.  Uh, oh.)


Steve:  “We are witnessing the end of empire.  It makes you want to cry that, over decades, The Powers That Be have made us a massive debtor nation rather than a massive creditor one.  No one on scene has the integrity, power, or guts to change that path, only hasten the decline with ‘kick the can.’ ”

☞  Well, President Clinton was able to halt that “over decades” thing.  And it was not The Powers That Be that caused this mess so much as, simply, the leadership of Reagan, Bush, and Bush – and their allies in Congress and at Fox.  So the solution is not despair or cynicism, it’s to work enthusiastically to keep as much political control as we can, because it’s fixable if people of good will and common sense are allowed to govern.  Bill Clinton did it; against truculent opposition, Barack Obama is doing it.


They say it about every election – “this is the most important election of our lifetime.”  And then they acknowledge they say it about every election – “I know: we always say that.”  And then they add, with conviction if a little sheepishly, “but it really is.”  Which could only compute if elections were becoming progressively more important.

And here’s the thing: they are.

Or at least I think two arguments make that case.

First is that the candidates seem to grow ever further apart.  The more divergent their views, the more important the choice.  Coke versus Pepsi?  Who cares.  Coke versus Pepto-Bismol?  A more important choice.

Second is that the human story, which used to creep glacially, races ever faster.  After 5 billion years of planetary evolution, the sustainability of our little species comes down to the next few decades. As the pace speeds up, and the stakes get higher, so does the importance of getting it right.

Andrew Jackson could not launch nuclear winter nor was he charged with preventing it.  Environmental catastrophe?  Not an issue until a few decades ago.  Not to mention our fragile, globally connected economic system . . . or cyber attacks.

When you have one Party whose candidates tend to believe in evolution and climate change . . . and another whose candidates hold prayer sessions to keep from taxing the rich to provide health insurance to the poor (because presumably that’s what Jesus would have done), it’s important which Party wins.


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