I don’t believe we have ever seen a time of turmoil and change as we have been witness to since 2001.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been witness to:
- The coordinated destruction of buildings and the lives of almost 3,000 people on 9/11, just to prove they could do it. It marked the major opening to the accelerated round of terrorism that has reshaped out lives.
- President Bush’s misguided effort to fight terrorism by democratizing the Middle East with force at enormous cost of money and lives.
- The 2008 financial crisis stemming from an overheated housing bubble which collapsed as a result of noncompliance with historical standards of financial conduct. It happened with the explicit compliance of predatory lenders; lack of congressional and Federal Reserve oversight; as well as the failure of a number of agencies in the Bush Administration to react to the balloon about to burst.
- The Arab Spring which began in 2011 as a grassroots citizen uprising against the totalitarian governments in North Africa and the Middle East. So far they all appear to have dug a hole which the Muslim Brotherhood, the only organized faction, eagerly stepped in to fill with a similar brand of non-democratic intolerance. It goes on today in Syria with the most destructive horror of life and limb of all these movements.
- In different ways, the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections were historic. In 2008 we were a part to the most positive, effective campaign which mesmerized the electorate about a somewhat unknown and almost totally inexperienced candidate. The 2012 election was easily the most raw political brawl of our time from a president who had a minimal record of achievement at best who won re-election by demonizing his opponent.
- In between we had the surprising emergence of the Tea Party who espoused strict fiscal conservatism and smaller government. They were effective in electing sizeable numbers of representatives to congress in both 2008 and 2010. On the whole, they conducted themselves responsibly at their rallies and meetings as clean, undisruptive citizens. On another side was the so-called “Occupy Movement.” I’m still not sure what they wanted to accomplish, nor am I sure they did either. As a group, they were rude, dirty, law-breakers, who created traffic jams, defaced property and created massive cleanup costs. As most anarchists, they self destructed.
- A substantial 20% or more of the economy is still struggling to overcome what they inherited from the debacle of 2008 while the top 25% are reaching and enjoying unparalleled largess. The efforts of the Obama Keynesian economic stimulus programs pretty much missed the mark and we’re still saddled with 7+% unemployment and under 2% economic growth.
- On the verge of hitting 17 trillion dollars in our national debt, we are approaching a loss of credit standing in the world, as well as having the cumulative interest on our debt sucking up more and more of our revenues. This also encourages even more government spending while the bureaucracy fattens up on millions and millions of duplicative efforts, waste and inefficiency.
- The saber rattling rogue nations of Iran and North Korea have tried to use their increasing nuclear capabilities as bargaining chips to keep them on the world stage. NK is literally starving its people to death in order to support a million man army and its nuclear ambitions. All done to be prepared to defend their ghost imagined enemies. Iran is in a somewhat similar position. They have thwarted and abdicated all rules or international law they agreed to.
Is there anybody out there who hasn’t felt some angst and anxiety in this decade plus two about the turmoil and uncertainty about what has been happening and what the future now holds?
We will survive. We are resilient, tough when it matters, and I hope smarter about where we’re going.