2008-01-04 / Sam Bari

The New Year promises more that we'll never understand

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

The New Year is off to an auspicious beginning. The system is burgeoning with things we can't understand. Where should we start? That is the question. I suppose we could begin with discussing the way business is conducted in this crazy system, or lack of system, depending on how you want to perceive it.

Christmas decorations are not quite down, but retail stores are fully stocked with Valentine's Day cards, gifts, candy, and other promotional items tailor made to fleece us of our hard-earned dollars.

Ad campaigns designed to make us feel guilty if we don't participate in a buying frenzy to support yet another gift-giving event are in full swing. Valentine's Day isn't even important enough to be declared an official holiday, yet we buy into it as if the survival of our love lives were dependent on its success. Is that what love is about? I hope not.

What's even crazier is that Easter items are lined up behind the Valentine's Day merchandise so the cash registers don't miss a beat ringing up even more sales of stuff that none of us need. What is wrong with us? Why do we allow ourselves to be ruled by guilt? Our stomachs are governed by the Cadbury Egg, while our wallets pay yearly homage to the Faberge Egg, or at least a cheap rip-off of the famed bauble.

I'm not one to deny a child an Easter basket filled with colored eggs, or two lovers the joy of expressing their feelings for each other with a small gift. But, the commercialization and importance given to the monetary value of seasonal merchandise has all but destroyed the purity of the intent. The emotional value is getting lost. What happened to romance?

Advertising campaigns implying that the path to a woman's heart is paved with diamonds found in Faberge Eggs are insulting to women of any substance. Can true love really be bought with diamonds and pearls? Maybe we don't want to know the answer to that one. I am going to blindly believe that is not the case.

Okay, let's shift to the election scene for a minute. The airwaves are overloaded with hype from the campaign managers and politicians competing for the top seat in the most powerful country on the planet. The fact that the job doesn't pay all that well, considering the responsibility involved, and comparable salaries being paid by smaller countries with much fewer problems doesn't seem to matter. These candidates want to be prez.

And to stir up the coals in this crazy election fire just a bit, why are the caucuses being hosted in a state with demographics so far from average America that you'd think it was in a different country?

Nonetheless, the issue of who best manages the war situation appears to be the deciding factor in who's going to get the most votes. One would think that the candidate with the best plan for peace would be the easy winner. Unfortunately, according to those supposedly in the know, the way to all the voters ballots is not that simple.

It seems that more than just a few million eligible voters out there are making big bucks working for the Department of Defense. And those lucrative DOD contracts have built many a mini-man- sion. The people benefiting from those cash cows are asking questions like: Will we be out of our cushy jobs if the wars end? What about our mortgages, gas guzzling SUVs, and our over-the-top credit card debt? And if we bring all of those boys home, where are they going to work?

As unconscionable as it may appear, candidates must follow the money and see who is holding the biggest piece of the American pie if they want to win. Whether or not we like it is of little consequence - greed has no conscience.

When we stop and think about it, the oil producing regions of the world are always at war. If not with each other, they're fighting with outsiders who want to control or at least have access to the resource. But take notice - while the wars rage on, the oil never stops flowing and the money never stops changing hands, mostly from our hands to those involved in oil production. It's a nasty business.

If the space guys are studying us from their little ships or from far-off planets, they must view us with trepidation. They have good reason to avoid this area of the galaxy for some time to come. I think they don't make their presence known because they are aware that we have issues - serious issues.

Despite our many problems - the year looks promising. There is plenty of fuel for this ongoing saga about living in a system we'll never understand.

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