As another year comes to a close, the world economy has taken center stage. Many have been blindsided as plants have closed and jobs have been lost. Many of us seem surprised by the levels of anger, greed and corruption that contributed to the fall of so many. The reality is that over the last several years there were signs all around us that greed was winning and the end of the boom was near. Anger and violence have become accepted as a part of everyday life. Somewhere along the line our focus moved from people to the dollar. Let's take a moment to look at some things that should have been wake up calls to all of us. These are in no particular order. They are just proof that we have completely lost focus.
Campus Killings -- It's easier to buy a gun than it is to buy Claritin D.
Kids Cage Fighting -- I guess there's not enough anger in our youth so we should put them in a cage at age seven and teach them to beat the crap out of each other.
Olympic "Glory" -- A seven year old with a magnificent voice was not considered cute enough to sing to the world at the Olympics so a lip sync substitute was used. And let us not forget the three year olds who are taken from their families to start their training as gymnasts.
Religious Wars - I just don't get it.
Hummers - People are spending the equivalent of the GNP of some small countries on an all terrain vehicle that will be used to drive to and from work as an accountant.
Video Violence - Let's make a game out of killing people. That would be fun.
Election Spending - The two parties spent over a billion dollars on the campaigns. I am not sure if that includes the $150,000.00 to play dress up.
CEO Buyouts - Let me get this right! You screwed things up and drove the company into the ground. Now you want us to pay you millions of dollars to stop doing what you did?
Extreme Home Makeovers - It seems we have decided that helping someone in need means building them a million dollar home.
Rich Spoiled Kids - Kids spending their parent's money while flashing their pantyless crotches are being treated like the world is better simply because they were born.
Cup Holders - You can now buy a car with a heated and cooled cup holder at the same time thousands upon thousands die everyday from starvation.
Pork - Our representatives couldn't help themselves. They had to slip unrelated pet projects into bailout legislation upping the price tag without contributing to the solution.
Reality Shows - Their realities are interesting concepts.
Bush's Exit Tour - It would be like Ozzie Osbourne taking a tour to talk about how he has lived a pure and innocent life.
NFL Snow Angel - Wes Welker of the New England Patriots made a snow angel in the endzone after scoring a touchdown in a blizzard. He was penalized and might be fined for it. How can a snow angel be bad?
This is simply the short list. With a little effort, I am sure we could find hundreds of other warnings but I would prefer to look forward. We have spent a great deal of time talking about change, about hope and about the future. Our world has led us to a place and time where we are chasing the dollar with the belief that we will find happiness there. We need to give up that chase. We will only be able to find true happiness if we quit pursuing it for ourselves and find ways to create it for others.