A New Path for a New Year

by Prescott Johanson

I want to first start off by saying that I do not believe in New Years resolutions, they are simply too easy to break. I do however believe in change, on both the personal and societal levels. To me there is no better time to re-evaluate how things operate in the direct community and also in the greater, global world, then as the new calender year approaches and we begin the first days of that new year. It is high time in fact that we all take a look at ourselves, our country and our world and see what we can do to illicit change for the better. We in America have lost our competitive edge, we are simply too spoiled. Too me that is a fact, and I include myself in that assessment. Every person in this country feels they are entitled to everything they want, anything and everything is right at our fingertips, despite what we may have to do to get there. Some of these assessments are for both individual and country, and some are more geared toward one or the other. All of them make sense, and again, it is me that has to change as well as you, and as well as your neighbor. We first must take a hard look at ourselves and our way of live before we can truly see the problems. I'm not gonna dwell too much on each, that is for you to do, and me to do without the keyboard in front of me. It is time we all take a hard look at ourselves and see how we can help as individuals. It all starts with the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Since I really don't know where to start, I'll begin with two issues that are very important to me as an individual, and I don't think I'm out of line to say the operators of this website. The first is to work hard as a society to ween ourselves off carbon based fuels. Quite simply they destroy our environment, and they put our country's and our allies security in the hands of some of the worst leaders in the world. I cannot begin to tell you how terrible it is to me that our whole economy runs on a fuel that we have hardly any of, yet Iran, Venezuela, Russia, and Saudi Arabia have lots of. It is a recipe for disaster. As a country we must find alternatives, now, with a Manhattan Project style commitment. Get all the best scientists together and give them everything they need to find a clean, sustainable way to power our country and our economy. As an individual, please, please cut back your consumption. I am, and I am encouraging everyone I come in contact with to do the same. The consequences for our overuse of resources compared to the rest of the world is dire. Bush needs to immediately put better fuel efficiency standards in play for auto companies to follow. We need to raise taxes on gasoline if need be. The question to individuals is do you want to see this happen? No? Then act yourself, work towards lowering your own energy footprint. Start turning off lights, car pool, take public transit, do anything and everything you can to use less fossil fuels. We do love our cars, I love my car, but we have to cut back. Our consumption is simply unsustainable. I'm gonna leave it there because I will write many more articles on this subject in the future, it is the most important challenge we face as a world today.

The number two issue I want to start with is the need to change the way we deal with drugs and also legislate them. Marijuana is not that bad, really it isn't, so stop the prohibition on it and stop looking down upon it's use in society, there are so many more bigger fish to fry. It has never killed anyone, and yes, prolonged abuse will probably hurt you, but the same can be said for caffeine and a host of other substance. Chocolate will hurt you if you eat pounds and pounds a day. The fact is it simply is not bad enough for the amount of money we spend to fight it, and our tax dollars paying for the people in prison for selling and using it. There was an article recently that said it has become our biggest cash crop. Tax the shit out of it. Tax it for a specific earmark such as alternative energy development. Again, I write so many articles on this because I firmly believe that it has been a conspiracy to keep this "herb", that grows wild all over the world, illegal. God made this for our use and there are so many uses I can't name them all right now. Stop buying into the propaganda and the lobbying dollars from big tobacco and big alcohol, two much more dangerous drugs, and just make it legal. It's so simply, just do it. To you as individuals, make it happen, if we all want it, they cannot stop it. Phew, I'm rambling, enough of that for now, more articles in the future. The second part of this paragraph is to ask people to pretty please get rid of and stop using the real dangerous drugs such as Crystal Meth, Crack, Junk and all their derivatives. This stuff is bad for you people, plain and simple, so stop doing it, don't ever start. It's sick and sad to me that our world utterly and completely tells us that this stuff will kill you, it is super addictive and it will ruin your life, but yet people still pick it up for the first time. This is not propaganda, this is factual and we need to listen. There is nothing good about Crystal Meth. The people who make this shit to sell to my brothers and sisters should be punished harshly. Please, please, if someone offers you some crack or some Meth, turn them down and get away from them as quick as possible. Or do like Dog the Bounty Hunter does, and smash their pipe with your boot, you may just save their life as well. Trust me when I say this, there is nothing "cool" about those hard drugs, nothing but pain awaits you in the end. I know that people in small towns get bored, I'm from a small town, and yes that town has a "rock" problem. Find other things to do, it doesn't have to be the only choice, travel, write a book, spend time with your family and friends, shit, smoke pot if you must, but under no circumstances should you ever, ever smoke, snort, or shoot a hard drug!!!

I know this is getting to be a real bummer reading this article, and you aren't gonna like this, but you're fat, I'm fat, we're all fat. Stop eating so damn much. I can hardly stand seeing myself in pictures anymore. Americans are gluttons, plain and simply. We eat until we can't eat any more, then we wait an hour and have desert. Our's is a fast food nation, which is probably the way it has to be because we are a fast action nation. We work hard, we play hard, and sometimes we don't have time to cook something good for ourselves. Fine, but that doesn't mean get the triple cheese burger, and jumbo size it. You all know who you are too, it's no secret when you are fat and unhealthy. Don't get discouraged, you can change your habits. I personally am changing my diet and gonna start working out more, I can't stand it, this isn't me, I need to be a better, healthier person. Our health care system cannot sustain treating people for things that are avoidable. Do you want to live a longer, healthier life? Then start eating better, and for god's sake get some exercise. This is tuff love people, please don't stop reading, these things need to be said, our nation and our people are at stake. I'm not excusing myself either, in any of this, I'm just as guilty.

Okay, I really hope you didn't stop reading yet, I know, it's hard to take. This is another problem for both individuals and the nation as a whole. We need to stop the U.S. culture of easy credit, plain and simple. From the time we turn 18 we are bombarded with credit card offers, with low rates, and prizes, and immortality, and 15 virgins when we die. No wait, that last one is for something else. Anyway, we need to fix the whole system, from a governmental level. I have no idea how, but our government has to do the same, stop borrowing from China, we are putting our economy at risk by the amount of money we borrow, it is unsustainable. As an individual you have a responsibility to your self, your family and your country. STOP BUYING THINGS YOU CAN'T AFFORD!!!!! What ever happened to saving up for something, or simply not getting it because your income isn't good enough yet. Why must we keep up with the Jones's even when some of us live in poverty. If you live in poverty you will never get out by buying a flat screen tv with a credit card, plain and simply. You must sweat and save and invest. Shit people, I've been there, and there's a certain school of thought that I am still there. I know that the only way to move forward is to pick myself up by the bootstraps and put off the instant gratification that we are used to in this country. I don't have shit, and I plan to keep it that way until I have shit, as should you, if that makes sense. My car is worthless, but is still running, same with my tv and furniture. Would I like to replace that stuff with nicer things? Hell yes, of course, that is why we work, that is the American Dream. I am realizing, and have known for awhile that the future is more important then today, that amount of money spent on those things, if invested properly, will give me much more in the future. I am sacrificing today for tomorrow, something we in this country have a hard time doing, and must find a way. Credit is killing us people, I know because I've worked in collections, including for a payday and auto loan place. Stop going to places like that. What happened to struggling a little. Eat a little less, put off buying that tv, for fuck sakes, save up for your children's future. Nobody owes you or me anything in this country, but the great thing about it, why this is the best country in the world, is because we can have anything if we go out and earn it. We need regulation from our government and we need responsibility as individuals.

Okay, too much, your getting bored, and disgusted by yourself, I know I'm disgusted by my self. I'm too damn spoiled, so lets move toward what is wrong and needs to be changed about our government and our system. I'll go quick on these so you can move on with your daily lives. First off, the old corporate system must go, we have to change it, they have too much power. Do you see the bonuses these people make these days, all for exploiting us? I am a strong believer in capitalism, and completely against socialism, but I know the system is slowly breaking down. We are losing the middle class, and we have to shrink that gap between rich and poor. Companies are global now, and they have way too much power. I don't know the answer but I know something is very wrong, just watch the news for a while and you'll see it too. As individuals we can ask more from our companies, there are many great, responsible ones. Support them, and punish the ones who you believe are not doing their part as far as helping the citizens of this world and our environment. There must also be a better balance between the worker and the shareholder. Right now the shareholder is all that matters, this has to change. I'm not a big believer in government controls either, although some may help, but I do think that a lot of this has to come from the corporations themselves. We are the workers, shareholders, and purchasers of their products, so we must make our voices count.

We must give more support and encouragement to teachers, health care professionals, firefighters, aid workers, and all others that help to better our country, and our world. These are not necessarily high paying jobs, but they are extremely important. The education and protection of our country is the future of our country. Respect these individuals and lend your support to them every chance you get. Encourage the youth of this country to participate in these professions. As a nation I don't think I believe in a draft for the military. What I am growing towards is a couple years of service from every citizen like the model Israel uses. Young people can work in some of the above professions, or build bridges, clean up New Orleans, whatever. There is a definite disconnect in our country that we as citizens have a responsibility for the United States future. This would help wake that back up, let every citizen serve wherever he or she chooses, as long as they serve. There can be college credit at the end, or some other form of reward, but lets all lend a hand to help out where we are needed. It is honorable to teach, to care for the sick, to save lives, to defend, and to help build up communities, and the people who do these things deserve our respect.

Stop suing everyone, for God's sake, please, don't call a lawyer for every little thing, it is ruining our legal system. I can't even believe the things people sue for, and win! This is something that mostly has to be changed at the governmental level. Tort reform is a very important policy change that has to be implemented. It is ruining some very good people, ideas and businesses. You want to know why health care and insurance is so expensive? Well, one of the big reasons is the size and amounts of law suits that happen. Which, I have to say, an easy way to help would be for juries to simply stop giving so much. I mean, if someone is wronged, and deserves compensation, it doesn't mean that because of that we need to make them multi millionaires. Use common sense when doling out those rewards. The main reason is because the lawyers get most of the money anyway. Look around town, the lawyers are some of the richest people around. Now, I respect lawyers, they study hard, and they work hard, but I just don't agree with the type of money they make in some of these cases on the backs of hard working Americas.

Lastly, our political system is tiresome and boring, lets inject some life into it. Who's tired of watching 2 robots with nearly the same policies and beliefs, from the same ivy league schools, get chosen for us year after year in election after election? Yawn. Seriously, we do have a choice, but it is a choice between two people already chosen for us to chose from, chosen by a bunch of wealthy aristocrats. Did you get all that? This isn't the 1800's folks, every vote counts. Lets mobilize, lets get some third party candidates out there with new ideas to at least challenge the status quo. The two party system is broken, and disgustingly flush with money. That is the second part, we need to change the way money is given to politicians and how it is spend. When you hear how much money is spend on these campaigns don't you ever sit and think about what good it could do going to help real problems? I do, but instead it pays for tv ads and private jets. It absolutely disgusts me, but we can foster our own change. Take a close look at 3rd and 4th and 5th party candidates. Encourage them to run, and support them if they have fresh, bold, and innovative ideas. This is what is needed. Most of that money is given by corporations anyway, which is exactly why we can't move forward and change anything, because it would lose money for some global corporation. Bullshit!!! We need common sense approaches to very real problems, not inhibited by some congressmen, or senator, or president in the pocket of the corporation standing in the way. This one is important. We live in a free society with elected officials, they work for us, and they need to answer to us. There are so many problems, and we need to start fixing them.

In closing, I know this wasn't always easy to handle, and was somewhat harsh. If you look close enough, all around you, you can see what I'm talking about though. Most all of our people are good people, but we simply choose to ignore the consequences of our actions, or inaction. I want you all to change, I need you all to change, the country needs you to change, the world needs you to change. I'm not immune, shit, I may be worse then anyone reading this, which is exactly why I wrote it. This is as much a letter to myself as an article for mass consumption, but I have made the commitment. I have chosen to work out more, to eat better, to stop drinking so much, to lower my own energy footprint, to stop buying stuff on credit that I don't need, to get involved with issues I support, and to support those people who represent my ideals, and that help our world move forward on a path of peace and prosperity for all men and women. Most of all, and this may be most important, I choose to love my family, friends, neighbors and all people more and show compassion and understanding in dealing with all people. I choose to change, and you can to. Please have a safe and happy new year, and may you all have luck in your lives and healthy family and friends. There is no better time then now, and there is no better place then here.

PJ

@Copywrite January 2007 Prescott Johanson

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