What are we missing?

So, I am watching the TV news earlier this week and at the end of the story about 30 soldiers dying after their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, the local TV anchors expressed surprise and remorse at the “tragedy” of the situation. It was as if they were surprised U.S. soldiers had died in such a way. That has stuck with me. What am I missing? The surprise is that we are in a war in a place where the government and a lot of the people don’t like us and it hasn’t happened more often. Thousands of innocent Afghan civilians have been killed during this war and the anchors have never referred to that as a tragedy. In fact, last Saturday a NATO air strike on a house in southern Afghanistan resulted in the killing of a family of eight with six children. That is a tragedy. Take away any surprise that soldiers are killed in a war, and this incident is another reason to get the heck out of Afghanistan. The fact Obama seems glued to wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya is disappointing.

• Now politicians are almost always disappointing. But how many Democrats didn’t go out and vote in 2010 because Barack Obama was “disappointing” and are now shocked at how he has to try to deal with the right wing of the Republican Party? Okay, so maybe you voted by not going to the polls and sent a message to the President. Happy now? The U.S. House gets crowded with very conservative Republicans who sign pledges to never, ever raise taxes. They seem to feel it is more important to defeat Obama on every issue rather than look out for the best interests of the overall country. But these new Congresspeople have always said they didn’t want any more taxes. Why is anyone shocked today that the people who got voted in stayed on what might be considered an extreme position with the debt ceiling and national deficit discussion? And the result is that we now live in more interesting times than we did just a few years ago. Politicians are always disappointing. But action, or non-action, has consequences.

• Politicians now want to investigate Standard and Poor’s for downgrading the United States credit rating. For months, the company cited both the country’s growing debt and proclivity for political gridlock. The stock market didn’t sink after the S&P announcement, it started tanking on July 22 when Speaker of the House John Boehner broke off talks with President Obama on how to seriously look at solving the deficit problem and raise the debt ceiling. S&P did what it said it was going to do and the politicians express shock at that? But there is irony. The only entity that has not responded with consternation is the bond market. The AA+ rating has yet to shake the worldwide belief that U.S. treasuries are a good investment. Yields on U.S. 10-year Treasuries have actually dropped since the Standard and Poor’s announcement, as investors put money into Treasuries. That is somewhat unbelievable. Maybe you should look at mortgage rates right now.

• Locally, a big worry continues to be airlines in the winter. What am I missing? I am thinking that if the community could fill the seats we have now, more planes (and seats) would follow. That appears to make sense in a supply and demand sort of way. So, it’s not so much finding a way to come up with money to fund airline guarantees, but the better move might be producing a reason for people to get in the current seats and come here. And come back. This summer has shown that with an elevated product, and good circumstances (highs in the 70s here and over 100 degrees everywhere else in America) people will find a way to the valley. A new zip line, fantastic bike trails and great weather works in the summer. It goes to Norton’s call in his recent columns for supplying a new and better product. Let’s figure out what will again work in the winter. That is something the entire community can participate in figuring out.

So I may be missing something but it appears that we are all missing something. Instead of banging on each other and different ideas, a shared sense of purpose is called for. Peace over war. Prosperity for all over corporate profits and prosperity for the CEO. Enticing product over subsidies. We can argue over the details but if we are focused on a worthy goal, that is when things get accomplished. What are we missing?

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