13 Mar


Louise Annarino

March 12, 2012

We were walking home from the library; a visit to the library a daily event. My mother Angela would allow me to roam the library for books to read to myself, as she read to my younger brother. We bundled into our heavy sweaters and stuffed our check-out books into the pouch on the back of the stroller,tucked a blanket around my brother Michael and headed home. I had been disappointed that my 6 year old older brother Angelo was able to go to school, but I would have to wait until I was older. The library visit was one way to appease my hunger for knowledge.

The library was a magnificent and, to me, magical building of brick and granite, with Doric columns and huge multi-paned windows. The architecture became less impressive as we walked to the South-End, under the railroad trestle, to the house my Great-Grandfather had built from used materials. The wood was so old and dense that it was nearly impossible to hammer a nail in the wall. Holding onto the handle of the stroller, chatting with Mom, noting the changing demographic markers from rich to poor as we walked home, I asked Mom, “Are we poor?”

“No”, she said, “I have been poor and we are not poor. We have plenty of food to eat. You have your own bed with blankets to warm you. You have dolls to play with and books to read. There will always be someone with less than you, and others with more. Never compare yourself to anyone else.”

“Well, I don’t see why we don’t put all the money in the world into one big pile and just let everyone take their share. Then, no one would be poor,” I offered.

“Oh yes, they would,” Mom replied. “Some people would grab more than they should. Others would not be fast enough to pull out their share. Some would spend their money foolishly and end up with nothing. Others would steal from people or trick them into giving up their money. And, we would end up right back where we started.”

Well, that was an education in economics I was not happy to learn. But, Mom was right, as usual. She told me to work hard, study hard, and not waste my money on cheap clothes, nor useless items. And to “NEVER follow a fad.” She said that fads made people spend money on things that were poorly made, not meant to last, and easily discarded. In other words, a total waste.

Politics, as well as other arenas of American cultural activity, has become a fad for too many Americans. They are “dittoe-heads” who watch hate mongers for entertainment. They don’t take the time to search for lasting solutions, for policies which are “well made” and fit the needs of the country’s long-term economic growth. Unexciting but sound ideas make poor “sound bites”. They look for cheap fixes such as denying women contraceptive health care.They would end the Affordable Care Act, instead of improving it as single-payer health care, which is the most cost-effective health care delivery system. They deny LGBT community its civil rights. They tell immigrants to “self-deport”. They love the latest fad constructed by Karl Rove or the Tea Party.

The voters follow the fads of wall street and hedge fund investors, and commodities and oil traders; instead of regulating their activities, and despite the fact their un-regulated trades and investments brought this country to near-bankruptcy.

The approval rating of  President Obama rises and falls with gas prices, despite the fact he has increased US oil production to an all-time high, his policies have reduced the demand for oil, and he has expanded the development and use of alternative energy sources. Oh, and while he was doing all this, he saved the entire world from a second “great depression”. His administration is not a fad.

Thanks to Angela, I never follow fads. I look for sound economic policies with lasting impact. I am voting for President Obama.

Those who refuse any support for President Obama’s economic policies should have taken a walk with Angela.


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