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Course Correction

To the Editor:

Try as I might I can’t seem to find this crisis that everyone seems to be raving about. From the President to the economists to the newscasters, the talk is all about some global recession, as if the sky were falling, but it all looks to me like some higher power finally decided to put the planet on a crash diet to get rid of all the flab that’s been burdening our collective health and well-being. It’s about time we retooled our existence to get along with fewer new car sales, and learned how to live with our obsolescent washing machines and DVD players. Time to quit behaving like a bunch of spoiled brats who require mindless manufacture of non-essential goods, hastening the exhaustion of the world’s diminishing space and resources.

My idea of an appropriate economic stimulus package would involve free distribution of sacks of bread flour and packets of yeast; garden seeds, shovels, hoes, and wheelbarrows. Because bread still rises and seeds still sprout, whatever the federal deficit or the number of euros it takes to buy a dollar. As of this writing, the basic stuffs of life are still available in local markets. Instead of bailing out the banks and investment companies, we ought to be shoring up our farmers against possible fallout from unstable economic conditions, not to mention finding ways to provide people with a guaranteed roof over their heads with runaway mortgages and inflated prices.

No surprise, however, that instead of jerking the rug out from under the unsustainable system, we just prop it up and borrow more money from an unsustainable future, like heroin addicts who can’t give it up. I still don’t see the crisis, except in terms of rising sea levels and temperatures. The sun still shines over the Sangres and the hens still lay; if the brakes fail I can still roll around in the dirt with the wrenches and find the problem; there’s still water from the well and wood to burn for warmth in my house which was never a pawn in anyone’s real estate game. The crisis, if you’ll let me define it, is that since the rise of industrial capitalism, we (collectively) have put our bets on the wrong hoss. We’ve come to believe that we are entitled to any- and everything that our money can buy, from polluting coal power to vicarious pornography to colliding satellites to enable our latest communication baubles.

Maybe this alleged Armageddon of high finance will help separate the wheat from the chaff, put us through a cold-turkey withdrawal from our collective addiction to mindless entitlements. if not, then maybe the species isn’t fit enough to survive the march of cosmic time. Maybe this so-called crisis is just one more indication that our famous Old Testament god who gave mankind dominion over the birds and the beasts has decided on a course correction. Maybe the heavens are sick and tired of a species that prefers text messaging to gathering in each other’s company to lift our voices in harmonious song.

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove