Saturday, October 11, 2008

In which I set the world aright

Because of the merging of my real-life and online personas, I occasionally forget that I am still an emperor, and that I have imperial duties to which I have to attend.

The latest call to action was inspired by Steven Hodson, who is now an official contributor to the Inquisitr. Hodson wrote the following:

Sure the rich folk might have to tighten their belts; but you won’t be seeing them standing beside the rest of us in lineups to the foodbank. Yes people living the high life on trumped up paper valuations for stupid ideas might actually have to learn what a business plan is; but you won’t see them on the customer side of the soup kitchen counter. Along with this the stock market is beginning to resemble the deck of a ship in a storm with its up and down movement; but unlike the 1929 crash no one is jumping from windows or putting a bullet through their heads. Now that was a crash that forever changed the world; or at least the US, but to equate this shakeout of the market on the same footing is being nothing more than a fear monger.

Hodson's references to 1929 bring up the word "depression," which certainly changed the United States and certainly changed Germany. It's important to remember the difference between a recession and a depression.

"Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his."

OK, Reagan (who said the words above) is dead, and Jimmy Carter was out of the loop even in Bill Clinton's time. (While some claim that it's Clinton, not Carter, that's out of it. For a history of the frosty relations between Carter and Clinton, see this Carol Felsenthal post.)

But let's get back to Hodson.

People like Robert [Scoble] need to stop the doom saying and step up to the plate and start using their personal soapboxes to help us through this trying time; and trust me it will try the best of us.

(For Scoble's response to Hodson, see this post.)

As it turns out, Hodson's plea was similar to one that I had read earlier. Before I talk about that second plea, let me describe the context within which I read it.

Three months ago (after some temporary setbacks) my nephew reported to U.S. Marine boot camp. On Wednesday night, we headed down to San Diego and (after experiencing some temporary setbacks of our own) witnessed his graduation from boot camp. Needless to say, the two days' worth of festivities emphasized honor, courage, commitment, duty, and the need for us to serve others.

So I got some and read this item from Christopher S. Penn. Here is the operative excerpt:

If you have reach that exceeds 10 people, then you can step up to lead. If you have reach that exceeds 100 people, then you may be asked to lead. If you have thousands who follow you and call you a leader whether or not you feel like one, then you must, here and now, accept that mantle of leadership. You must don the cape and boots even if you feel as though they were made for someone else.

You have been called.

Here is what your followers need of you. They need not only to be pushed away, but to be pulled towards.

It’s not enough to say what to avoid; you have to provide your followers with something to do. A mission. A calling. A focus that will let them in their passion and intensity drown out the voices of panic around them so that they can generate momentum with you. Pick your cause, pick your battle, and engage your followers.

My reply at the time?

I have over 100 followers, but no inspirational message.

Well, if I did have an inspirational message, what would it be?

Unfortunately for Hodson, Riley, and others, my current inspirational message is targeted solely towards Americans. However, I'm sure that non-Americans can apply it to their own situations in some cases.

Let's look for a moment at the despair afflicting some Americans. Perhaps you've heard that we're getting ready to hold a Presidential election in a few weeks. And you've also probably heard that we have two choices in this election.

Technically, both of these statements are incorrect.

We are going to vote in a few weeks, but we will not be selecting a President at that time. We will be selecting electors, who will then report to the Electoral College (in December, I think), trash some dorms, and hold the formal election as described by our Constitution. Which is one way of saying that your vote means nothing.

And, in many cases, there are not two choices in this election. Yes, I know that many people think that there are only two choices in this election. And this has driven them to despair:

But, if you take a look at your ballot, you may find that you have other choices in this election.

Now, in my case, I cannot see myself voting for Obama next month. I can't think of any Democrat, other than perhaps Feinstein, for whom I've ever voted. However, I'm not necessarily sold on McCain either, and if Palin were the presidential candidate - well, forget it, because people like Palin and Gerald Ford only become presidential candidates in extraordinary circumstances.

And perhaps it wouldn't be a surprise for you to find out that I'm not planning on voting for Nader or McKinney either.

Which, in my case, pretty much leads me to look at Baldwin, Barr, and McCain as possible presidential choices.

Now, I have to admit that this will not sound inspirational to many of you. But to my American voters, I urge you to vote your conscience. If you truly believe that Cynthia McKinney is the hope for America, don't waste your vote on Barack Obama just to keep McCain out. Similarly, if you believe that national salvation lies through Chuck Baldwin, don't waste your vote on John McCain just to keep Barack Obama out. Because as long as we continue to vote for the John McCains and Rudy Giulianis and Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons of the world, that's who we're gonna get.

At some point I'll try to research my oft-delayed comparison of the positions (and, if possible, the votes) of several of the presidential candidates. But if I don't get to it, do your own comparison. Don't let someone else do it for you.

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