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Friday, November 09, 2007

Afraid to over-react: Is the Sky Falling in?

Honestly, it's not in my nature to over-react. I tend to be cautious in most things. I want everything to work out for the best. I try to be patient and let events resolve themselves before jumping to conclusions, but these are trying times.

It's hard not to feel a bit panicked by the clouds that are gathering on the country's horizons (see Fed Chief Warns of Worse Times in the Economy from the New York Times). The dollar is plummeting as foreign investors seek the safe harbor of more stable currencies. The housing market's overblown bubble is in full burst, and mortgage lenders have a hand out to the Federal government in hopes of a bailout of their improperly hedged bets.

Over-extended homeowners have little expectation of any help from Uncle Sam. The threat of inflation is mounting as the daily cost of basic services continues to climb, and the oil based economy feels the ripples of record breaking petroleum prices. State and local budgets are in perpetual crisis as federal monies are drained by an all-consuming war.

Most Americans don't offer more than a glimpse at the business page, but that's where all of the action is these days as the Federal Reserve Bank pours millions into the market to try to soothe the overheated minds of skittish money changers. The hard-pressed Chairman is doing everything he can to prop up an economy teetering on a foundation of self-deception.

We can't look for leadership from Washington, as our politicians have outfitted themselves in the rosy habit of Pollyanna; preferring to ignore the looming dark omens rather than suffer the fate of Cassandra (the image above is from a painting of the ignored Trojan seer by Evelyn De Morgan).

As we're abandoned by the top-down leaders who cast off their social responsibilities in favor of a threadbare government nakedly in service to their corporate masters, we'll need to build a new foundation from below. Before we can do that, we'll have to overcome the conceptual gaps keeping us from connecting with each other. It's time to trade in our aloofness and cynicism for compassion and hope.

Where I End and You Begin
(The Sky is Falling in.)
by Radiohead

There's a gap in between
There's a gap where we meet
Where I end & you begin
And I'm sorry for us
The dinosaurs roam the earth
The sky turns green
Where I end & you begin
I am up in the clouds
I am up in the clouds
And I can't
& I can't come down
I can watch but
Not take part
Where I end & where you start
Where you you left me alone
You left me alone.
X will mark the place
Like a parting of the waves
Like a house falling into the
sea

I will eat you all alive

And there'll be no more lies
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