Tough year, 2008. Many Americans got badly hurt by the economic chaos which hit them like a back alley mugger. What a disgrace. Wall Street hustlers gamed the system by trafficking in bad loans while Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission looked the other way. Awful.
So, I learned a painful lesson from all that: Big Brother is not watching out for us. Orwell had it wrong. We are pretty much on our own, as the federal government simply cannot or will not protect the folks from danger. Never again will I assume the feds are looking out for me.
I understand that sounds cynical. And I do believe that the Bush administration did apply very tough policies that made it much more difficult for terrorists to attack us. But on the homefront, federal and state governments continue to tax workers to the max while wasting much of the revenue on foolish projects designed to get politicians votes. If this continues, it is only a matter of time before America’s economy completely tanks.
But many Americans, perhaps most, have not learned that lesson. They still believe the federal government should “provide” for them. President Obama has promised many things, most of them expensive. Of course, the United States does not have the money to pay for those things… just like many home buyers did not have the money to pay their mortgages. I hope Obama has learned from that. If he has not, duck.
The past year also taught me that the media can no longer be trusted. This has been developing for a long time, but media bias reached critical mass during the presidential campaign. Many in the press slanted their reporting to help Barack Obama; every independent study shows that. And all you have to do is compare the treatment Obama received to how the media portrayed Sarah Palin. That’s all you have to do.
So, the lesson here is clear: No longer can the American media be relied upon to bring us fact-based information. The news media has entered the ideology business, much like talk radio. This will greatly harm the nation, as unbiased information is critical for an informed citizenry. The collapse of journalistic standards was a huge but largely untold story in 2008.
Finally, I learned last year that, despite the terrible economy, Americans continue to be a generous people. My website has been able to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to help poor children, wounded vets and their families, and the homeless. We were able to do this because folks bought stuff on the site knowing the money they spent would flow to the less fortunate.
That’s a big positive story of 2008. Despite the cruel economic blows, the generous spirit of Americans remains intact.