How Much is Enough?

The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency.  It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgement to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man as their president.
 The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America.  Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.
The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool.  It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president. 
Vaciav Klau, Former Premier of the Czech Republic

Now the above quote could easily be applied to nearly all of the Presidents during the history of our country.  There are some obvious exceptions to that, but as a rule the 40 plus men that have held the highest office are mostly only remembered because of the office they held, not for any significant accomplishments they had.  As an example, can you name either of the President's pictured above.  The man above was John Tyler elected Vice-President in 1840.  He was the first vice-president to assume the presidency in 1841 with the death of William Henry Harrison (the man on the left) who died one month into his presidency.  See you probably didn't know either of them and why would you.  As an additional bit of trivia John Tyler has 2 living grandsons (Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr and Harrison Ruffin Tyler).

Our founders tried to limit the significance of the populace on Presidental elections by creating the Electoral College.  Many of you might not be aware that US Senators were "elected" not by the populace but by their respective state legislatures.  This changed early in the 20th century, but imagine that half of your US Congress (not by number but by body) was not directly elected to their six-year term by the people they represented.

Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, shits on the board and then struts around like it won the game.

Vladimir Putin - 2013
Again, the statement could easily apply to many world leaders, but this quote reflects the first one at the beginning of this post.  We elected this man, we are responsible for how he represents our country throughout the world.  He may be the face of the problem, but we are the problem.

In a recent article, it was reported that a retired Sheriff in California was suing Ventura County for an increase in his annual pension.  He retired in 2011 with a pension of $227,000, and it has since been increased to $276,000 with additional cost of living increases guaranteed to up his annual pension even more in the coming years.  He claims it is not enough and is suing for an additional $75,000 because it is allowed under the law.  An Orange County attorney retired with an annual pension of $224,000 ($14,000 more than his final yearly salary).  Over 20,000 people in California have annual pensions exceeding $100.000.

Don't fault the employees, you're no different than I am, everyone wants to get paid as much as they can.  So they ask for it and elected officials, at the time, and over the past 35-40 years, granted those increases.
Geoff Dean, Current Sheriff of Ventura County, California (in response to the former Sherriff suing the county for an increased pension)
The purpose of presenting all of this information is not to point fingers at anyone in particular.  Our public mindset cannot be to take whatever we can get.  Sheriff Dean may speak for himself and many others, but he doesn't speak for me.  That is not to say that I don't want to be paid a living wage that is comparable to those around me with a similar job.  I will never be rich, but I should never have any expectation of making more in retirement than I did actually working.

Our country is stuck with the mindset that getting as much money is the only goal in doing any work. Money does not bring joy.  It can make life seem simpler, but it doesn't make life better in all cases.  The stories of bankrupt lottery winners are quite long.  Former athletes who blew it all, yeah that happens frequently.  Rags to riches to rags is a very American story.

We all have the dream of being rich, but each of us has to decide what being rich truly means.  How can we expect our leaders to "fix" things, when we can't even agree on what fixing really means.  Ask 100 adults how to fix the economy, and you will probably get 50-60 differing opinions, parroting of some talking heads and at least a handful with no idea whatsoever.  If you aren't happy with your current circumstances, you have one of three options: 1) improve your circumstances to better match what you want for your life 2) stay exactly where you are but learn to enjoy the ride instead of envying others around you 3) remain miserable and envious of the "rich" even though it is a false dream and rich isn't always better, just different.

It would appear that a large percentage of the voting public in our country fall into option 3.  Until that changes, our once great country will continue to descend.  Our current (past and future) president is elected by the largest portion of the country.  We need to find more people in categories 1 and 2 if we have any hope of change.  Remember you elected all of these officials and you are responsible for choosing correctly.  If you can't find a good candidate, run yourself.  It certainly can't be worse than what we already have, you may actually be better.  We should always be happy in the moment, because everything could always be worse.  There is beauty all around you and things to be thankful for instead of being bitter and angry.  Work to improve yourself, enjoy the ride, and you will make this country great again.