The Backstory: fiscal cliff or lack of leadership?

I tried to stay out of this whole fiscal thing, I really did. Economic issues can be interesting, but not a few weeks into the Christmas season when I’m trying to avoid creating my own deficit with holiday spending. Usually at this time of year the only fiscal cliff I’m concerned about is my own. But, noooo….they couldn’t just sit down in Washington like grown-ups and resolve this mess. They just had to go all political, and part of my job is to call them to task for being juvenile.

bmx151mpI must have grown up in a cynical family. The only president I ever heard anything positive about was Eisenhower, and that was mostly because of his role in the war, not in the White House. Still, as a kid I was taught that a president is like a wise grandfather or father. He (or she) should know more than me, have better work habits than me, have higher values than me and so on. Unfortunately I came of age under Nixon and apparently none of that applied by that time.

Psychologists tell us that it’s perfectly normal, even if not politically correct, to be more attracted to people who are like us and share the same traits and values we do. We are, according to science, actually hard-wired to seek out our “own kind,” starting at the family level and diminishing as you take a more global view. That’s why people who travel, work and study abroad tend to be more tolerant of other cultures. Really, I’m not making this up.

Politicians have always known this and are using it more and more in elections. This past election is a prime example of how the American public was sliced and diced to maximize votes. Where does that leave people in the middle who don’t join the political groupings and try to deal with issues and people one at a time without stereotyping any more than necessary? Out in the cold mostly.

I’m currently working on a fiction story with this theme called “Tribes.” The story is about some people caught up in a society that is rapidly breaking down into primitive tribes despite the growth of technology that enables global communications. Sound familiar? It should since it’s related to the underlying theme of “us versus them” in all the zombie and vampire stories out right now.

To understand why many writers seem to dislike politicians more than just about any other species, you have to see what politicians they’ve had to deal with over time and how much they’ve been knocked around by constantly changing economic policies. Let’s face  it, politicians are good for politics and not much else.

The only question now is, when did I start sounding like my grandfather?

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