Saturday, February 28, 2009

what I wish the President would say

I can always pick out a thing or two in his speeches that I really like, that I agree with, that I think the nation needs to hear. This last time, in the non-State of the Union speech, it was that this latest ‘crisis” was not unforeseen -- that we knew about the energy crisis in the 1970s and we as a nation did not respond in any responsible way to it.

I would continue that to say that we know and knew that not everyone can invest in the stock market and “make money” year after year because the stock market is basically a bet and you really cannot invest in it money that you cannot afford to lose. We know that when you buy a house, you should have 20% down payment at least and the payment should be less than 30% of your income. We know that more people cannot be consumers than are producers, takers than are leavers.

Yes, there is not any part of this crisis that sensible, sensitive, awake people did not foresee.

Here is what else, what else he didn't even come close to saying but needs to say. There is only so much sunlight that hits the earth and that is the maximum amount of energy that we can use. We’ve cheated with fossil fuels. We can cheat only so much longer.

The lifestyles that fossil fuel use has provided are as bankrupt as the housing market and as empty as the capped oil wells. We need to build new lifestyles, not attempt to resurrect dying industries and prop up ponzi scheme false ideas of security. We do not need the government to create “good paying jobs”. We need to see our way to a life that doesn’t take so much money and doesn’t involve so much fakery. Manual labor is not enslavement and abundance is not stuff. We need as humans the satisfaction of creating real things, and really useful things.

It is not a bad thing to live smaller, to let the world be a bigger place and to more fully inhabit our little piece of it. It is, in fact, a good thing, a thing to be embraced, celebrated even.

We no longer expect the free lunch or respect the workaholic. Rather we expect that all people will work, and work rather hard, all their lives . . . but they will always have the time to sit and have a piece of pie with a neighbor. We will not honor idleness and fakery or seek what is false.

Our hope is not the hope of seeking the status quo, is not the hope of the ever-expanding middle class, it not the hope of the growthgrowthgrowth (cancer) economy, is not the hope of what we have come to know and expect, but the hope of moving into a new paradigm: A paradigm where, simply, less is more.

I’d like him to acknowledge that real freedom, real liberty, begins with securing food because if you don’t have food, you are a slave. So the victory garden becomes the liberty garden. Arbor day becomes orchard day. Every household and every community ought be challenged to grow more and more if its own food.

Sustainability is about being willing, and being able, to do things every day, every year, forever. It isn’t about looking for retirement or living for “one day”. It isn’t about sacrificing for a bit now in order to get something in the future. It is about living now the way we can live forever. Embracing. What we need to do now is not to sacrifice but to embrace a way of being that we can keep up forever.

That’s some of what I with the President would articulate.


annettelikesrain said...


barefoot gardener said...

Wonderfully put, CG! I wish more folks could see this. I wish more folks could BELIEVE it.

"It is not a bad thing to live smaller, to let the world be a bigger place and to more fully inhabit our little piece of it. It is, in fact, a good thing, a thing to be embraced, celebrated even."

This says it perfectly.

PocketsoftheFuture said...

Great post.

I was happy when Obama was elected but was always aware that there was only so much he could do or that he would even publicly stand for that was bedrock truth. It is only politics, after all, and politics is neither the root nor the solution to the problem. In any case, he has chosen to be a politician and that says something too. Boy, I wish him well with the battering he is going to get.

If I may, I would make a small amendment to your important point about sustainability according to my own way of thinking. That is, I think the first step is to experience the fact that our inner worlds are bigger than our outer worlds and, consequently, deserve rather more of our attention. Once that all important fact is settled and things are re-balanced within the human system accordingly, then we may attend to our liberty gardens knowing that they are not the goal but are a necessary support for the inner goals.

I just think that without a working knowledge that the inner world is the point (by which I mean inner development, love, spiritual pursuit and so on) grounded in actual practice, nothing on the outside will ever be truly sustainable. It is also the only way to properly assess what it means to be free as opposed to being a slave - a point you nicely bring out.

Meanwhile I have to learn all about growing corn and beans!

Thank you,

CG said...

I love your point about the inner world, Leslie, but I have to say that in my experience the very best ways to access the inner worlds are the simple outer tasks that support sustainability -- like gardening by hand, cutting wood by hand, milking the cow by hand, making supper from scratch. It is the repetitive, meditative aspects of these things that help allow the chattering mind to quiet enough for the inner worlds to come to the fore. Or something like that. None of which invalidates your point!

And yes, nothing is more important than corn and beans. Except maybe potatoes and squash.

PocketsoftheFuture said...

You know, that is a great point. We personally meditate in order to really drop everything and go to the internal world daily. However, simple outer tasks are so congruent with all of that. They can relieve you of distraction which is most of the battle, it seems to me. They can be a way to the inner world and/or support whatever else you may be doing to reside in the inner world.

All of which goes to show you that every step onto the natural path tends to bring you one more step down that path and, contrariwise, every step off that path tends to take you farther off that path. Like you said in your last comment to me two posts ago, there is a flow. You either are flowing towards naturalness or sustainability or away from it. Events along the way are self-reinforcing so whichever direction you have chosen, you are going to keep going along in that direction unless something enormous intervenes (like will force or economic collapse or something).

OK, I have got it now. Corn and beans. Potatoes and squash. Meditate. Plant. Knead bread. Weed. Hand wash laundry. Harvest. Mop floors. Process. Cut wood. Eat. Meditate again. Done.


Deb said...

Edward Abbey once said "Unlimited growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." Or something like that. We cannot sustain the level of growth that has over-inflated house prices and led to unrealistic expectations of luxury in the middle class. It's time to get back out in the garden and do an honest day's work.

Great post. said...

I really admire our president and am grateful that he speaks so beautifully and is trying so hard to fix what is ailing. But I fear that the problem is so huge and so deep that unless we all face up to what is really going on, we are in for a big shock. The bright side to all of this, is those of us who do live a bit too large and have not thought about so much of our impact personally, will begin to think more and do more to make a difference.

CG said...

naw, he ain't tryin'. He either is stupid and doesn't know, or he's dishonest as the rest. IMO. He's not eloquent without a teleprompter either, and even with the teleprompter, mostly says nothing at all (or speaks out of both sides of his mouth). oh well. GW probably didn't know either (although as an oil man, you'd have thought he had to have a clue as to peak oil), and was a confirmed globalist (as are the Clintons) anyway. If you'd like a clue as to how living "smaller" by your standards won't matter a whit, read My Ishmael. Life must be VERY different, in which wealth (as in money) is not accumulated at all. It is a whole 'nother world view.

But I'm so psyched you finally got to comment on this blog Amy!!!! And I do love your perspective even when I disagree with it!

Zanna, Rasta Wombman said...

CG - thanks for the beautiful message. I like to think that we each have our own way to the inner sanctuary. Chop wood, carry water works as well for some as does pray, chop wood, pray, carry water. The point is that it's not only the destiny that counts, but the manner in which we arrive there. I am an ardent fan of yours and appreciate the pull you put on my life. Namaste.

thingfish23 said...

I like and voted for the man, and concur with your analysis that he always says something I strongly agree with, then follows it up with pabulum. I find this galling in the extreme.

Part of the reason I voted for Obama was because I thought he could make the case you state above in a way that many (not all, but many) could eventually accept. Instead we have him, as today, promising to continue propping up a cultural scheme hell-bent on its own destruction. In this instance, particularly, I speak of his speechified commitment to keeping the American automobilophile cultural identity alive and well. "We'll see the cars of the future rolling out of Detroit..." FOREVER. Sigh.

I wish he'd just get on with a REAL message of change and hope as true and succinct as this one is. But then again, we're a nation that has the audacity to make fun of a simple suggestion to keep tires properly inflated, so...

Yes, I am still alive.