Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

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HOPE AND FEAR

May 26, 2011

Those of you that know me personally recognize the important role the IRIS – the symbol of HOPE –  plays in my world.

I have a guest bathroom filled with irises…my bedroom walls are hung with iris images – from Monet’s “Field of Irises” to a needlework collection of flowers hanging above the bed with the iris front and center; I often sport an iris pin when I am out and about; and from April to mid June, my home is decorated with irises from living room to dining room to kitchen….in preparation for a regular June visit to the IRIS GARDENS north of the metro area.  And through-out the year, every time I pick up my phone, the luscious blues and purples of my iris wallpapered home screen remind me to remain optimistic.

For me, the IRIS is the counter-weight to balance out a tendency to fall off that cliff of hope into the valley of depression – a state of mind so hard to climb back out of.

So with all that emphasis on hope surrounding me, one would think that it would not have taken me until this week to apply the correlation between hope vs. fear – to the political world we live in today

From Clinton’s roots in Hope, Alabama, to Obama’s Campaign of HOPE that led to the White House –as a moderate with left leanings, I generally relate to the Democratic view of the world……but only Tuesday when I read the STRIB – did I recognize hope as the counter-balance not only to depression but to the FEAR tactics of the far and mid-right Republicans. In her column that day, Gail Rosenblum labeled this state legislative year as the Year of Fear, and so much of that fear was unfounded. As I reviewed the list that forms the legacy of the 2011 MN Legislature, I could not agree more. 

Although elected to address the budget shortfall and temporary fiscal fixes that Pawlenty left behind in his wake, our Republican legislators instead, stuck to rhetoric and chose to lead by fear. 

“Rampant home intruders who should be shot.  Fraudulent voters who must be stopped.  Same-sex couples whose simple desire to love and be loved somehow threatens that right for others….a gun bill designed  to expand citizens’ ability to use deadly force in self-defense…” and this addresses our state’s troubled financial issues how?

  These people need a big bouquet of irises – it might help them find their way through this scary and threatening world in which they think we live.

Why, also on Tuesday, the fear I had been wrestling with that perhaps our summer work project would allude us was proven unfounded.  We learned we would move forward as partners with CRV to create the CRV Exposition. 

Watch for more in the Fall, when long after the delicate papery blooms that inspire me have disappeared…CRV employees will return to campus…Spreading Hope. 

I’m sure the world of irises that surround me right now had something to do with making that come to fruition!

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A GLIMMER OF HOPE…

November 9, 2010

This morning’s editorial pages in the Strib (other than one column of space wasted on Bachman) were filled with opinions about how the elections will impact taxes and the looming expiration of the Bush Tax cuts. 

And of course, most reflect extreme positions on either side of the issue and the continuing buy-in to rhetoric whether it is based on fact or fiction from either side.  But with a header of “On taxes, let’s get Bush out of the equation”, a column reproduced from the Bloomberg News caught my attention. 

The Bush Tax Reform was passed by the majority in Congress with an expiration date of December 31, 2010.  One has to assume, then, that it reflected the majority of the people of the United States, right? This was a TEMPORARY cut – a stimulus to keep us going as threat of a serious recession loomed ahead in the early 2000’s. 

Please don’t digress into the assumptions that the Republicans fully expected it would become permanent on 12/31/10 and the Democrats fully expected it would expire, but the only way it would get passed is to set a date far enough out in the future to give hope to both sides, that they would have enough control in 2010 to get their way.  As we know, that did not happen; so let’s just move on.

Instead of stimulating growth because of the extra dollars it put in business and consumer pockets,  the growth we experienced in this century’s first decade was brief and  based on consumer spending that exceeded personal income as America lived on credit cards and home equity loans to falsely manufacture the appearance of economic growth, as our consumption was enabled by irresponsible financial institutions.  And we all know what that led to – The Great Recession of the Bush Administration – for which we are still suffering.

It did not work, folks – just like the tax cuts in early Reagan years did not work.  Maybe we are supposed to let the country try again – so that when a third attempt also fails we can stand up like the umpire and signal, with three strikes “You’re Out”! And then going forward, have we put this battle to bed?

I think not.  Hence, Kevin Hassett’s column caught my eye, as he positioned we let the tax reform as it stands expire as planned.  And what would we have then?  AN OPPORTUNITY!

An opportunity to go forward neither defending nor attacking the inherent issues with the that temporary bill…an opportunity to start with a clean slate…an opportunity to clearly define the issue in plain terms, brainstorm possible options to alleviate the problem, and through consensus and collaboration reach agreement and common ground.   In truth, we all know we need a tax overhaul.  Wouldn’t it be simpler to accomplish if we did not have to divert our energies to defending  or attacking old baggage?   Out of a disaster, can we not mold a better way?  Isn’t that the American dream and mantra?

Hassert purports that if we start from scratch and collaborate as adults, Obama could deliver on the promise of change, and the Republicans could lock in their political gains of this election by showing voters they can govern effectively.  A WIN-WIN for the American people?    A phrase that has almost disappeared from our  vocabulary as we wrestle in this false fight to protect the past.

According to the NY Federal Reserve, somehow over the last 21 months, the American people have reduced their personal debt by almost $1 trillion!  Perhaps that new tax bill could incorporate their methods and we could not only put an end to this meaningless tax argument, but show some reduction in the national debt as well!

And wouldn’t it be music to our ears to get the ineffective “Bush Tax Cuts” out of the conversation?

I know, I’m dreaming – but all it took was that glimmer of hope to take away for a few moments the despair regarding the current situation.  So I thought I should share.