We heard it for a while, but we didn't want to believe it, how America was slipping back, ignoring its infrastructure, abandoning its focus on creating jobs and prosperity for all Americans. We had an inkling that we were somehow overextended, though we could still go to Wall Mart and fill up our carts with cheap merchandise.
When we couldn't fill up our gas tanks, when the cost of one week's gas was as much as the weekly grocery bill, we began to voice our concerns.
When September came and our kids returned to schools that were a bit more decrepit, a bit less equipped, a bit understaffed, we didn't pay attention. After all, schools have been complaining all along, nothing new.
It took the big news of Wall Street collapsing for us to notice our Main Street had been ignored and forlorn for a while. When a rescue package was put together in Congress with more zeros than we would have picture in our household, we began to comprehend. These troubles are big. This situation involves all of us in America. Pensions, retirement funds, college savings, life savings, houses, jobs, health care, food inspection, environment, all, all aspects of everybody's lives are in this meltdown.
We noticed that the global markets took a hit as well. And that in places like Europe, coooperation and planning took place quickly and efficiently. We noticed that solutions have been worked out and somehow, if we are lucky, we will find solutions in America as well.
I wonder how we got so far behind the curve. In my lifetime, the European nations had become a bunch of rubble and broken people at the end of a war, and they too had domestic and foreign terrorists for decades. But they managed to coordinate efforts, support infrastructure building, life-style accomodations for all their citizens, provided for the welfare of those who couldn't do it for themselves, and built a new economy and a strong solidarity.
In a couple of weeks we will vote for a new leadership. America cannot stand alone in the world, doing the same things and expecting miracles. Let's roll up our sleeves and work at solutions the democratic way.