The "red" counties voted for Mitt Romney, the "blue" for President Obama. There are really not too many too many surprises above, and I believe that the trend of the voting population is clear: that "traditional conservatism" (that America is a "Center-Right" country) may be dead or in danger. My conclusion is disputed, in that many feel Romney was NOT a "real conservative" in the mold of Ronald Reagan, but I believe the logic of a "New America" is more important than the credentials of candidate Romney.
What does this mean to those of us concerned with an America deeply divided and deeply in debt? First off, none of us (as individuals) can change the reality that we have President Obama for four more years and that the Democrats now have cemented two important realities:
1) Obamacare will not go away, we are stuck with it
2) The Senate remains in Democrat hands, this means that Supreme Court nominees and treaties with other countries ("Agenda 21" and the small arms treaties of the UN for example) will further cement President Obama's (and that of the Democrats in general) policies in place as far as the eye can see.
So as individuals, we cannot change the above realities. The Democrats can go to town. And noting that President Obama can see how he had but two years to act before the Republicans seized the House, I would expect fast action by the Democrats while they are strong.
I have recently crystallized my thinking re personal action into three simple phrases: "Physically Fit, Financially Fit and Spiritually Fit". I believe that each of us should be in as good a condition as possible re our health, our financial circumstances and our spiritual foundation and growth. I am "eating my own dogfood here", that is trying my best to improve my fitness in all of three of the above.
I briefly discuss each of the above as to how it pertains to me (and perhaps to you too). My personal GUESS is that we are in for a few hard years. Being in good condition in ALL THREE will make it easier for each of us to deal with any trials to come.
I mean this in all the normal ways that the term above is usually perceived. Our health is very important! In any strenuous time, being fit means that we are able to endure more as well be able to carry out more difficult tasks.
Now is as good a time as any to improve our health!
Exercise! (I do Tai Chi and other exercise each week)
Eat better! (As time goes by, I make some progress here)
Lose bad habits! (I am working on that, one of them IS being lost!)
Maintain good health! (eg, get a check-up at your doctor)
Don't forget your brain! (Exercise your brain, especially by doing something different)
Do I have to even cover this one? Almost all the readers of my blog understand this one! But, allow me to point out certain aspects of financial fitness that we should all be aware of:
Diversification! Diversification is the easiest way to make your financial position more secure and also to allow the possibility of greater gains. Diversification allows one to sleep better at night...
Get out of debt! In bad economic times (coming to America soon?), DEBT can be a killer. Prudence would suggest that if any of our debts are high, that it is better to reduce them ASAP.
Save! Even though interest rates are very low (and so destroying the value of savings because inflation is higher than most interest rates that savers can get), saving for the future is one of this centuries-old ideas that is still good... Remember there are other ways to save other than getting very low rates on bank CDs or in Treasury Bonds. One of them is gold...
Plan carefully! The tax laws are changing... Taxes are likely to go up. NOW is a good time to consider two things: SELLING some longer-term investments that have gone up (as capital gains taxes (and dividend taxes) are likely to go up in 2013), and GIVING money to your children or grandchildren (estate (death) taxes are almost sure to go up, probably gift taxes as well).
Also, as financial conditions deteriorate crime and scams become more common (as we have seen in history). Do not be conned into parting with you money or becoming involved with anything illegal! You will likely lose...
And what do I mean by this? Nothing dogmatic. I am not suggesting that you go to church every Sunday. I am not telling you to take up Buddhism, nor to meditate on the beach or in the mountains every day.
Being "spiritually fit" will give you emotional strength to withstand the ups and downs of life! Life IS difficult, and it might become more so. History is full of cycles: things (nations) get strong and they decline... Certain families become wealthy, and then many of them lose their wealth... Lao Tse, the founder of Taoism wrote: "The Ten Thousand Things rise and fall without cease." That means that things are always changing, the only thing that remains constant is change...
I suggest that there are several things each of us can do to make progress spiritually, to strengthen our internal selves:
1) Become more aware of your day-to-day actions. Your actions not only affect you, but they affect others, and to a degree each action you take affects the world...
2) Most of the world's great faiths suggest many of the same things:
- acting with kindness to all others
- being humble, acting with humility and being honest
- acting to improve oneself in accord with the world we live in
- ACTIVE prayer or meditation
- "Faith without works is dead." <-- means faith is not enough.
Personally, I believe there are many routes to God, if you will. My personal belief is that the key here is acting according to the "will of God, as we understand Him to be."
What I believe is important is to progress spiritually, we will never attain spiritual perfection, we (most of us) are not saints... So to me, the general principles apply: love they neighbor as thyself, be aware of your actions, try to improve every day, etc.. Spiritual progress seems to be the key concept.