Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 9/18/2008 [Archive]

Martha's Big Adventure - Now What

Martha's Big Adventure -- Now What

By Martha Randolph Carr

We appear to be in calamitous times with nothing but bad news rolling out from the economy, the weather, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost of fuel just to name a few. But what often matters to us most is how it breaks down to the local level. It's overwhelming to take on all the troubles of the world and lately there's just too much of it.



Normally, we divvy up the suffering as we watch some of our neighbors get pummeled by the variable rate mortgage that's exploding into a payment they can't afford and find out someone at work is considering quitting over the cost of their commute. We might have a child or spouse in active duty in the war who is serving their second or third tour of duty and hope that the wars end soon. We feel compassion for others' suffering but go back to our own problems and hope for things to get better.

However, it's starting to sink in that these problems have grown into beasts that can enmesh us all. AIG was the latest failing private sector business to be bailed out by the U.S. government to the tune of 85 billion dollars because it's financial dealings were so spread out it could take all of us a peg or two lower as well. That's on top of the billions already pledged to fix Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from a government that's borrowing as fast as it can from Japan and China while sending billions overseas to fight a war on two fronts.

No one seems willing to mention that all banks eventually can run dry and there are still plenty of sub-prime mortgage bombs left to go off. We all know it; it's just that we don't know how many or who they will all be just yet. The government can't continue to bail out all of them. It's the equivalent of pouring the booze down the sink hoping sobriety will naturally follow on its own. Even the enabler who deregulated the industry gets worn out at some point.

What we haven't heard are any long-term solutions. The stock indexes are falling in record numbers this week and still there's no plan. Interest rates went unchanged by the feds, which was at least a small concession that the old tweaking is no match for the new problems. But where was even the beginning of a new idea?

Alternative fuels are being considered by more jurisdictions than ever before but there's still a lot of local resistance. Troops are scheduled to begin to be removed from Iraq but most of them are being shifted over to Afghanistan where things are going from bad to worse. The price of staples such as bread, milk and eggs continue to rise to new levels.

So, here's the beginning of a solution. Go local on as many issues as possible. Support local efforts to bring in wind or solar power because it will help the people right around you and will make a difference in your community. Buy local produce or local meats because you can see where it came from, how it was raised and can help out your neighbor, the local farmer. Loan money to local families who are looking to buy a house and keep the loans within the community bank. Even consider micro-loans and band together to lend smaller amounts to local groups who have a good idea that you can check and even help grow. Partake in local debates over the school board or city council because this is the part of the world where you can make a real difference.

It's ironic in an age where we can chat in real time with someone who's across the globe that we are still most effective in the part of the planet that is within our reach. However, many of us have forgotten the rule that great things are always built one step at a time and with the tools at hand. We have a choice right now to wait for a rescue from a government that appears to be more interested in pasting over the problem or to begin to save ourselves and knit together a solution one community at a time. More adventures to follow.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. If you'd like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Martha's Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. Email Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.

© 2008 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com. Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo.

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