This is a piece first run for the election four years ago, updated a bit for today.
Election Day is not a national holiday, at least not in the traditional sense. But it is the one day that our nation asks something from all of us, even if it’s just a few minutes. If you follow calle ocho through Little Havana in Miami on Election Day, you’ll see a long line houses with the red white and blue of US and Cuban flags stretching off into the horizon. Families sometimes come together across generations, as with any holiday, before they go off to vote. Cuban exiles in Miami are a people that know what it means to be free because freedom and good times are often best measured against their opposite.
The election is a week away. It’s time to make a few predictions and offer some analysis, if only so that everyone can make fun of me when this is all over.
Regular readers know how much disdain I have for the horserace that characterizes most of the reporting, but in the end it comes down to that. Still, there are many issues revolving around the ability to call this thing properly that are fascinating, at least to someone too far into it. My fondest hope is that at least some of them break in ways that defy conventional wisdom and shake things up.
News shown out over the highway in big glowing numbers – 3.289, a number lower than anyone had seen in a while. That was the price per gallon of gasoline the last time the little purple car was filled up and piloted back down the highway. A few months earlier it was 3.929 at the same station, about 20% higher or $7.68 over a tankful. How can that possibly be?
Many things go into the price of gasoline, but the most important is the cost for crude oil. Something around 60% of the cost at the pump is the raw material that fuels our lives, the rest being more or less fixed costs in refining, transportation, taxes, and profit. It’s the price of oil that is notoriously volatile, driving the changes at the pump. And something is about to be done about it, too.
On a bizzy day, it’s time for another repeat. This one is from October 2010, just before the Republicans took the US House. I’m going to leave it just the way it is because I think the message is still important – but we’d be in a much stronger position if we too this to heart, IMHO.
As Democrats contemplate holding the minority position in Congress yet again, there are many ways we can handle it. We could all sit in the back and throw stuff, much as the Republicans did for the last few years. We could turn on each other and rip our own guts out in a festival of shame and blame. Or, if we’re intent on really standing up to our principles, we can use this time away from being the responsible ones and understand what it is that we, as a party really stand for.
We have a lot to offer if we can only get it together for once. But I, for one, think it’s going to take a much deeper understanding of our core values and what is really happening around us before we can make it happen.
Income inequality is one of those things that we find almost impossible to talk about in US politics. Simply raising the issue automatically leads to charges of “class warfare”, a term that is empty enough in meaning to raise emotions without much intellect. Yet it is important.
One of the great features of recent global economic turmoil is the downturn in the developed world amid continued growth in the developing world. What’s the main difference between the two? According to a survey by the Economist, one of the main features is that the developing world generally has increasing income equality but the developed increasing inequality. Emotional arguments aside, there is a distinct trend that raises real questions of global competitiveness, at the very least.