On Election Day: Balance in Contentious Times

Terry Mock, SLDI Co-founder

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

November 2008

In what surely will be noted as one of the most remarkable stretches in history, we have had a collapse in the housing market, which triggered a meltdown in our financial systems, which has now created a slowdown in economies around the world — all in short order. With all these financial woes weighing on investor confidence, I couldn’t help thinking of what President Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Fast forward to 2008, specifically to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s recent testimony to a House Oversight Committee hearing on the roles and responsibilities of federal regulators in the current financial crisis. He acknowledged to the hostile panel of questioners that the crisis exposed flaws in his thinking about the working of the free market system, telling the Committee that his belief that the banks would be more prudent in their lending practices because of the need to protect their shareholders had been proven wrong by the crisis.

This “once-in-a-century credit tsunami” has come to a head just weeks before the electorate goes to the polls to pick both local candidates for office and a new president. Whichever party wins will make history as well. The barrage of extraordinary events makes for fascinating times and presents a rare opportunity for strategic long term investment, according to seasoned experts such as Warren Buffett. But politically, it can be treacherous sledding, as personal angst and partisan fervor are unleashed full blast. In his Farewell Address, George Washington was particularly adamant in warning the nation that this “spirit of party” was “not to be encouraged” because it was – “A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

T. Boone Pickens, Al Gore and the Sierra Club are creating strange bedfellows and setting an example of non-partisan collaboration by discussing the combination of domestic wind power and natural gas in an aggressive US domestic energy plan. In a related effort to provide a bridge from the current inefficient, carbon-heavy electric grid toward more sustainable development, SLDI-member HBH Gas Systems is partnering with land developers nationwide to provide central community propane gas systems – bringing clean-burning gas fuel to communities where it was otherwise not available.

Innovative collaboration is the answer. See the featured article below on the SLDI Pilot Sustainable Land Development Best Practices Model.

Your participation and comments are welcome.

Sustainable Land Development Initiative

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The 21st century will overturn many of our previously-held assumptions about civilization. The challenges and opportunities land development stakeholders now face – to fulfill the needs of society and achieve a favorable return on investment without harming the environment – have vast implications on the sustainability of our communities around the world.

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SLDI Co-founders:
Terry Mock
Tony Wernke

Read The Fractal Frontier - Sustainable Development Trilogy.
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9 responses

  1. September 9, 2012 – CBS Sunday Morning

    Divisive partisanship: Yes, we built that

    (CBS News) “The Daily Show” writer Kevin Bleyer says the Framers
    of the Constitution did not mention political parties, and now we know
    why . . .

    The Constitutional Convention that created this country ended 225 years ago next week.

    This past Thursday marked the end of two political conventions, hosted by the Democratic and Republican Parties, both of which insist they know how to fix this country.

    Turns out, they don’t agree.

    Now, it’s worth pointing out that back at their own convention (that
    early one, way back when), the Framers wrote nothing about political
    parties in the Constitution.

    Back then, the “them” in “Us versus Them” was still “the British.”

    So they deliberately omitted any mention of parties, hoping that
    their new nation would never succumb to what they called “factions.”

    Well, we did! And we just celebrated it with two weeks of balloons and confetti.

    And it got ugly.

    “Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party,” said Clint Eastwood. “Just a kind of, kind of a grin with a body behind it.”

    “Governor Romney said that as President he would take a jobs tour –
    well, with his support for outsourcing, it’s gonna have to be a foreign
    trip,” said Joe Biden.

    “With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money, and he’s pretty experienced at that,” said Paul Ryan.

    “Their number one priority was not to put America back to work – it
    was to put the President out of work,” said former President Bill

    By the last night, I was beginning to feel that the problems of a
    lack of bipartisanship don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy,
    polarized world.

    And then, SHE walked in. Gabby Giffords, the Democratic
    former Congresswoman from Arizona, strolled delicately across the stage,
    held her weaker hand over her heart with her stronger hand, and pledged
    her allegiance – not to a party, not to a platform, but to a flag, and
    to the republic for which it stands.

    She’s that kind of Democrat – and that kind of Republican.

    Now don’t worry, I’m not going to cry, again. And I’m not going to be naive to ask that we all “just get along.”

    But here’s what we know: The Framers designed a Constitution that
    ensures a peaceful transition of power. But a two-party system, devoted
    to tearing each other down? We built that.

    That’s our convention.

  2. We Vote, They Rule: The Case For Voter Rebellion
    Sep 16, 2012
    By Scott Tucker – j.mp/PlupDc

    Democratic and Republican politicians keep each other in business…

    Today we can say that the wizards of high finance take more care to hide
    their worst gambling habits, but when the truth comes to light they
    still enjoy full impunity and remain entrenched in Wall Street casinos
    with lordly disregard of the proles below. The only practical policy for
    the defense of democracy is an independent, class conscious and civil
    libertarian struggle against the corporate state. Without widespread
    rebellion among voters on Election Day, and without social movements of
    resistance every other day of our lives, we will never regain the spirit
    of revolution expressed in these simple words: We, the People. That is
    the lost treasure of our republic, and until we dare to dive among the
    reefs to find it again we can be sure that the only golden rule among
    the ruling class will remain the pursuit of power and profit. By all
    means, occupy the elections. But occupy our workplaces and neighborhoods
    and public places as well. Otherwise we vote and they rule.

  3. Associated Press
    EPA methane report further divides fracking camps
    By KEVIN BEGOS — Apr. 28

    The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?

    Oil and gas drilling companies had pushed for the change, but there have been differing scientific estimates of the amount of methane that leaks from wells, pipelines and other facilities during production and delivery. Methane is the main component of natural gas.

    The new EPA data is “kind of an earthquake” in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental group based in Oakland, Calif. “This is great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks.”

    great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that
    existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks.”

  4. AlterNet – December 17, 2014 – http://www.alternet.org/americans-are-sick-death-both-parties-why-our-politics-worse-shape-we-thought?paging=off&
    Americans Are Sick to Death of Both Parties: Why Our Politics Is in Worse Shape Than We Thought

    … both direct poll evidence and common sense confirm that huge numbers of Americans are now wary of both major political parties and increasingly upset about prospects in the long term. Many are convinced that a few big interests control policy. They crave effective action to reverse long term economic decline and runaway economic inequality, but nothing on the scale required will be offered to them by either of America’s money-driven major parties. This is likely only to accelerate the disintegration of the political system evident in the 2014 congressional elections.

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