Added on Tuesday 14 Aug 2012
“Met my dear Miss Landau again, Keith.”
“The president dropped by today, James.”
Once again, I’m in my cousin Keith’s apartment in Chicago, just off the Blue Line from Rosemont on the way back from the convention center where Juliet was appearing. It’d be fair to say I’d sat the whole trip back with a silly smile upon my face and my eyes parked upon a spot halfway to heaven, twirling a copy of Dear Miss Landau on my lap.
I’d trundled round the convention happily and anonymously – and yes, Drusilla was there, darting about like a little girl excited by the colour and finery and glitz and glamour of it all, sniffing the odd neck now and again before shooting back and grabbing my arm, momentarily scared by a Star Wars stormtrooper or similar striding by.
Afterwards, the Blue Line’s silver carriages had trundled back down through Montrose and California before slotting into the station at Clark and Lake with a satisfied sigh, I’d told the concierge who’d looked enquiringly my way as I bounced through the doors that I’d just had the best day in the history of the world ever; and perhaps you’d forgive me for thinking that nothing could top that.
Well, almost nothing.
“What, you mean here?”
I’d even bought a Drusilla doll that day (the one with the fangs, the bloody white dress and the blackened rose), placed it irreverently before Juliet and said, deadpan, that I really didn’t think my life could get any more surreal...
Keith looked at me patiently as I stood in front of him, holding a plastic vampire doll.
“No, not here. Where I work. At the Obama for America campaign office.”
The campaign to re-elect the president is centred on Chicago, Obama still has a home on the South Side, there’s only 80 days to go until America has to choose between a Republican nominee wedded to elitist ideals of tax breaks for the stinking rich and the destruction of Obamacare (and probably America) and a Democrat president and Party who at least seemed to be living in the real world; and he’d dropped into Campaign HQ to rally the troops.
However, a president never just drops in.
The Secret Service threw everyone out of the building for two hours before Obama came by, conducted a security sweep of the offices and a connecting corridor through which the president would walk, and then let the staff back in through portable metal detectors.
All this for a five-minute rallying call, and the way of life for a president.
Unfortunately, Obama decided to do a little walkabout, as a result the rallying call took a little longer than expected, and the connecting corridor through which the great man was due to depart?
It had been locked off, it stayed locked off, and that’s where all the restrooms were.
His loyal staff stood there gamely with their legs crossed, and there was a general rush for relief once the president went on his way.
Relieving America’s ills will not come so easily!
In his book First Principles (2012), John B. Taylor, Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford, made the clear and chilling point that:
...”if the fireworks graph [a graph showing the total amount of debt owed by the U.S government at home and abroad] is realized, it will be the end of America as we know it. The United States would be an impoverished debtor nation.”
Let me repeat part of that quote:
..."the end of America as we know it."
At the time of writing and according to the U.S. national debt clock, U.S. debt is nearly $16 trillion. Some debt is necessary and even desirable, but if a country’s debt tops 60% of of its gross national product (GDP), that country’s got problems. According (arguably) to James Taylor’s predictions, U.S. debt will be about 75% of GDP in 2012 and 100% of GDP by 2020.
The United States of America has many other problems – the worst drought since the nineteen-thirties in the Midwest and Southwest, the struggle to implement the Affordable Care Act, the rising costs of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, and a probably unsustainable defense budget ($525.4 billion requested for the 2013 fiscal year), but such problems might just be that little bit easier to solve without such an Everest of debt weighing down the can-do attitude and ingenuity of the average American.
In less than three months, the average American will have a choice between a party utterly opposed to any form of tax increase, period; and a party willing to accept that tax bills may well have to go up to decrease debt, but that spending will also be needed to stimulate the U.S. economy.
It is as if the United States is locked in the office and the Republicans will not let them into the restrooms, assuming average Americans will be able to find their own means of relief.
Personally, I’d rather vote Democrat. I like to be able to go to the toilet when I want.