It’s kind of funny how people seem to take what they want out of something and ignore the rest of it. Meaning, you can tell a body all about how you feel about a particular issue, and they’ll believe just the parts that they want to believe. Whether the issue is the price of oil, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war or school consolidation here in Maine. No matter whether you support an issue or not, what people think you believe is what they want to think you believe.

Think and want. Two simple words so closely linked, and yet so far apart, it’s what causes many of the problems we have to face today. Take a look at the entertainment electronics market today. Many places are selling these huge plasma TV’s with High def surround sound blah blah blah. A cool looking TV, so you can feel like you’re right in with all the action. But really though, it doesn’t actually make you feel like you are right on top of the action. You feel that way because you want to feel that way. A TV is not going to coerce you into feeling one way or the other.

The same thing happens with daily life and the issues we encounter. Some are just everyday ho-hum didn’t even notice it events. For instance, why did you by that particular brand of instant coffee? Or, why did you go to Starbucks instead of Dunkin Donuts? And it ranges all the way up to the really grand issues that affect us all.

Maine is heading into a rough patch of roadway in the coming months. We have a lot of ‘stuff’ that will cause tempers to flare and friendships to be tried to the breaking point. The bigger issues are going to be the economy, the state budget, and this deal involving Plum Creek Timber and the Northwood’s. Emotions are going to make it difficult to know which way to turn. We need to learn to start educating ourselves in the facts of these issues before rash decisions are made.

Take the issue of being dependent on outside fuel for heating. Maine doesn’t have any oil wells or refineries, so we obviously have to get our heating oil elsewhere. But every time there is a price war or some other reason for the products price to climb, we get all touchy about it and swear to do something that lessons our dependency on foreign oil. It’s happening now, it happened after Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, it happened during the 90’s price hikes and during the 80’s and so on, decade after decade.

So why are we so dependent upon foreign oil after decades of complaining about rising prices every so often? Because we let our thinking be controlled by our feelings and vice versa. If we’d stop a moment and let the two even out and balance each other off long ago, we wouldn’t be having the problems with the budget and heating costs this winter.

Economic analysts have been hinting of a coming recession for over a year now. We were told by many to brace for the storm. Did we listen? Of course not. We felt good about things. The economy was strong. Well, ask yourself now, is the US economy strong? The Canadian Loonie outpaced the US dollar before Christmas. Imagine that. The Canadian dollar, which was worth sixty American cents last summer, jumped up and knocked us down. If that’s not a sign of things to come, what is.

Things are going to get much worse here in Maine. Lately, some analysts have gone so far as to suggest we may be on the verge of a full blown depression, similar to the 30’s depression. We need to start learning how to base decisions on the facts rather than what we feel. The size of the government needs to be reduced. The amount the government spends on an annual basis need to be reduced. Those are the only two things our representatives in Augusta should be looking at in this year’s term. That is the only way Maine can begin to regain lost ground.

Sure, it makes us feel good to help the impoverished and medically needy. We feel good about educating our kids. We feel good about a lot of other programs the government is running, all at our expense. But the fact is, do we really need the level of funding that currently exists for all of these entitlement programs they run?

On another subject, I’ve completed another short video of some of my photography. This one is a selection of blooms and bugs taken last year. Please enjoy…..

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