Dec 092010
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

While the “adult” conversation is heating up regarding the national economy, the sheets are being tossed off to reveal a coyote-ugly bedfellow of partisanship. We now see ourselves inflicting the same nasty tactics domestically that we’ve practiced abroad against developing countries: Not letting the poor have a bone without the rich taking all the meat.

How convenient, though, that WikiLeaks has helped to reveal that America is playing the same two-faced diplomatic game every other country does by revealing our own country’s classified documents.

And people have also been slowly realizing that being gay does not make you a bad soldier, American or even, dare I say, less honorable for being willing to die for your country.

With all these issues in the public spotlight, I think it’s worth thinking about and possibly philosophizing about, the idea of what is fair, what is equity and where does democracy and capitalism fill in the holes of social equity.

In the past two weeks the media has bludgeoned us with the reality of what it means to be engaged in the rest of the world. Some of the “abstract” ideas of what we think of as life challenges that only happen on TV or in “other countries” –– increasing poverty, in-your-face imbalances of wealth and power and whole countries needing bail outs –– have crept up from our collective consciousness and into our individual lives.

Not so long ago, the British were infamously debating the “sexy-ing up” of government intelligence to direct the Western world into the war in Iraq. Are we “sexy-ing up” our economic-political situation –– and in particular the debate over the extension of the Bush tax cuts –– by using language that the other side is holding the middle class hostage?

I’m usually a pretty wishy-washy person who tries to hedge my bets. But, despite the threats of gridlock in the government and models that project a stalemate-flat line of mediocrity for the country for the foreseeable future, one thing I’m willing to stake a claim to is that change is on the horizon.

I’ve never really been much of a calm-before-the-storm kind of person. Sometimes when you’re out on the water or in the backcountry, you can feel and see the telltale signs that a storm is brewing. I’m not trying to claim to be any kind of canary in the coalmine (that doesn’t usually work out too well for the canary anyway), but at the risk of quoting old man Dillon, it certainly does seem like times are a-changing.

Looking back, it’s been a pretty energetic, if not spastic, year nationally as well as here in Colorado and even on our campus. And it’s easy to be pessimistic given the news and even our own personal woes we might be facing right now.

Without getting myself mislabeled as the overly spiritual hippie, maybe it is time for us to become more connected to what we really need. Getting back to basics of life, liberty and happiness just might help us to reconsider and balance ourselves as to what role capitalism and equity should be playing in our basic needs toward fulfilling happiness.

I wonder if the pace at which life is requiring us to drink from the fire hose these days has blurred our perceptions of the future outlook. For better or for worse, our country was founded upon and built upon overcoming hard times. I guess I am of the persuasion that all this chaos is precisely the problem that our iNation generation will thrive in solving, despite the charges of complacency we receive from our critics.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate student in environmental health. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

 Posted by at 3:14 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.