The Summer of 2012

For those of us who regret the end of summer, who refuse to believe that it is nearly done, well, it is that time of the year again when summer is breathing its last breath, when each day at the beach is one of the last days at the beach this season, and when the evenings are just a bit cooler and the mornings, too.

The summer is ending as it began, with questions about who is going to lead this country and whether or not it can be led to a different place.

In 70 days or so, the presidential election will show how American voters are thinking.

Will President Barack Obama win a second term or will Mitt Romney defeat him and bring the nation back to its pre-recession potency?

The summer is ending as it began, with the American electorate discussing and debating nagging questions about the future, about the economy, about job creation, about Medicare and Social Security, Food Stamps and health insurance.

Are we better off than we were four years ago? Can a better job be done by someone else? Can Romney create jobs without further destroying the economy? Can we trust either of these men and their political parties to steer America down the right road?

Many of us ask ourselves how Romney can campaign to cheering crowds in Michigan where he said he would not have given the auto industry a bailout.

Does he mean anything he says? Why does everything coming out of his mouth sound platitudinous and one dimensional?

Then there is the President speaking so brilliantly and giving powerful speeches with the flair of an evangelist. He seems to mean everything he says but what, in reality has he accomplished?

The nation remains a changed place during this, the end of the Summer of 2012. There is not as much hope around, not as many jobs, not much of a feeling about an economic future that shines.

There are more questions than answers. There are more recriminations than new ideas. No one seems to know the way.

Romney can talk about bringing America back to its greatness. He promises 3 million new jobs right away with energy initiatives – but he fails to tell us how he is going to accomplish this. In Michigan last week he made a speech about energy. He’s going to dig more coal, pump more oil, dig for more gas and allow off-shore drilling. He told the crowd America will have energy independence. The crowd cheered.

All of us who use oil to heat our homes and who pay for refined gasoline to run our automobiles understand that the more oil we pump, the higher the price it fetches on the international market. We’re damned if we do. We’re damned if we don’t.

The fact of the matter is that we pump nine million barrels a day of oil domestically while we consume 15 million. The largest bit of consumption is caused by automobiles. If the government mandated that every automobile sold must get 40 miles to the gallon instead of most American cars getting about 17, we would stop importing foreign oil. According to Romney, the government shouldn’t be able to do this.

But here we are at the end of the Summer of 2012 and we’re not a changed place at all.

We face the same challenges. We suffer the same inequities. We yearn for the best parts of the past knowing there is no return to yesterday.

There is only the end of summer. The falling of the leaves. The cooling down of the temperature and the ultimate – the election in November.


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