It's all a big bunch of math. Who votes for who added up in each state by the various malfunctioning machines and methods. The higher count gets x number of electoral votes for that state. Then add all that up for the 52 cards in the deck. It all adds up to some number that should determine what kind of planet our children and grand-children will inherit. On the other hand, it probably doesn't matter much anyway, because all this presidential indecision 2004 is all just a big red herring dropped down a gully, getting us all looking anywhere but up or forward.
One candidate promises the victorious spreading of democracy around the world, like Skippy creamy peanut butter spread across some big slice of Wonderbread. The other promises to clean our air. One promises that learning is become the basics for education. The other promises to dig up the funding to inspire teachers to teach. One promises winning the War on Terrorism. The other promises to make new friends in the world. One promises to cut taxes. The other promises to not raise taxes, at least not for the majority of voters - those suburban fast-food-eating SUV-driving mall-shopping TV-watching middle class bunch of people.
One thing they both promise is to create more jobs. Not sure where they are going to get the magic wand to make it all happen. One could argue that hurricanes create jobs. Look at all the people who will be busy building buildings and fixing freeways in Florida once the storms pass. One could argue that terrorists create jobs too. Look at all the new security jobs being created. Cancer creates jobs too. The more people with cancer, the more jobs for doctors, nurses, insurance companies, medical equipment companies, and pharmaceutical salespeople...
It seems its those darn environmentalist tree-huggers that are causing all the jobs to disappear. All the clear-cutters have nothing to do now but twiddle their thumbs in the unemployment line. Then there are all those lay-offs in the factories because the factories have to install expensive filters on their smokestacks and don't have enough cash left over to pay their workers. And the tuna fishermen have to stop sweeping up all the dolphins and turtles and other things in their fishnets, so they are going hungry too. The oil companies are only making a few billion in quarterly profits because of all the regulations that stifle their efforts to suck oil out of the Earth. The farmers like ConAgra have been suffering because they can't use cheap pesticides as freely as they would like.
Gee, one could argue that the healthier our planet is, the worse off we all are. Having to cut trees in a less efficient manner, spending money on smokestack filters, fishing one fish at a time, not getting to suck oil out of Yellowstone National Park. It all adds up to more people at the unemployment line...
Who knows what plans Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee really have for us after the selections in November. They both talk about how much they care about the environment and do photo-opps in front of virgin forests, then go talk to the workers and tell them how their going to save their jobs.
If you took a poll of all the people in the world, you might actually find that most of them agree that we should not bite the hand that feeds us, whether it is our employer or the planet we live on. They might also agree that clean air, clean water, good food, good health, quality time with the family, and sunshine are all more important than the widgets we buy at the mall.
So, then, why is it so difficult to imagine the new jobs of the 21st century are in new industries like gourmet organic restaurants where you sit down and relax for a full hour or so while you eat? Do we fear that will cause layoffs at McDonald's or Burger King? What if those fast food workers say good-by to fast food and start their own slow food restaurants before they even get the axe? What if the laid off clear-cutters started working at the smokestack filter companies? What if the fisherman who love the sea, keep their jobs, but just start charging more for their dolphin-safe tuna? What if the oil companies start investing in alternative energy? Imagine that.
Well, if you do the math, you'll realize that none of it will happen until we regular folks (that number about 6 billion) start to demand it. And not just by writing our senators or hoping for the right guy to get elected as our fearless leader. It will only happen when we start putting our money where our mouths are. That gets the attention of everybody, even Chevron Texaco, Enron, Halliburton, McDonald's, ConAgra, Phillip Morris, Monsanto, Fox News, General Motors, General Electric, and General Bush or General Kerry.
And we don't even have to worry about the complications of the electoral college and the potential for dimpled chads and buggy voting booths. Just pay a bit more for locally grown organic food, and a bit less for your fancy shoes made in a sweat shop in China. Trade in your gas-guzzling SUV for a cheaper hybrid Prius or a 38 MPG Matrix at least. Or better yet, try out your public transit or carpool with your friends. The money you save in gas will help you afford the extra costs of the organic cuisine. Then the money you save in healthcare costs will help you afford something else of value, like solar panels for your roof. Take a canvas bag to the grocery store so you will never have to choose between paper or plastic again. And pay a few cents more for the dolphin-safe tuna. Many people have already started doing it and it worked better than any regulation could have ever dreamed.
Now we just need to get down the mercury levels a bit. Any ideas about how to do that? The regulations on mercury emissions are melting, and the factories have no reason to improve the situation until we stop buying their products. That is the power of the people. Even if most of us don't have a lot of money, when we make a statement with what we do have, it all adds up to make a big difference.
Imagine a world powered by that big wireless battery in the sky. No pollution, no poisoned food, no asthma, no cancer. More free time with family and friends on a clean beach, basking underneath our open source energy supply. It's all about values. If we value quantity over quality, then let's keep consuming as fast as we can and stop our whining. Or, let's start letting our money do our talking and feel the math at work. Every penny counts as a vote...