by John Cheek
In the four months since we started Fresh Greens we've seen bad news for the housing market turn into really bad news for banks into even worse news for us all. We've watched old divisions turn hot in places like the Congo and a new conflict erupt in Georgia. And now we've elected a new president as well as re-electing and ousting various members of state and federal legislatures.
Here in Oklahoma, voters held on to a Senator not particularly interested in sustainability, but I'm not really interested in writing that story now. Barack Obama and Jim Inhofe may well do great or terrible things for our communities and our planet. Both remain to be seen, just like the effects each of us may have on the stretches of earth where we walk and the much more distant places where our decisions echo through the years.
In his victory speech on election night, the President-Elect called for a "new spirit of sacrifice." I can only echo that plea, and pray that we have not forgotten how to be a people of work, ingenuity, and prudence as all three will be taxed to great measure in the coming years. Last week Bob wrote about a food crisis that may very well be following the current economic disaster. Sadly, both crises are due to a vicious blend of greed and irresponsibility that have become the staples of American economy. The very fact that we can call our system of commerce 'economy' is insanity itself. A multitude of financial talking heads have gotten rich telling people what ought to be absurdly obvious: "Work hard" and "Spend less than you make." Really? We need to read a book or go to a seminar to learn that?
When Phil Gramm suggested that we were a nation of whiners in reference to the financial crisis, the press savaged him and John McCain for insensitivity. That's the way of presidential politics, but really, he wasn't far off. I would say toddlers instead of whiners. Toddlers demand that they get what they want, when they want it. Toddlers will continue to eat poisonous fats and sweets until they vomit. Toddlers will scream and cry when not allowed to buy the newest toy. Credit cards. Processed food. New clothes, new cars, new houses. We're babies, and it's time to grow up.
Elections matter, and I hope the most recent ones will see our state, local, and federal governments move back in the right direction. What matters more, though, is every one of us, working, eating, teaching, living every day. We don't need a saviour; we need to get to work.