Maybe we'll wake up in 2012 and discover
the Obama years were just a bad dream
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I once was "lost," and now I'm found. I get it! Though I'm not sure I can quite explain what I get, yet.

It's right out there, in my peripheral mind, just out of reach of total comprehension. And it has something to do with a television series. Stay with me here.

I'm not the only one who's been waiting for ABC's "Lost" to tell us the meaning of life. And considering that much of my personal philosophy has come from things I've seen on TV, this isn't necessarily an unrealistic expectation.

OK, it was silly to expect something from "Twin Peaks." The grand finale of that series, which, if I recall right, had a dwarf running around a hotel from room to room while the writers wrote the script during the commercials, was a major disappointment. Much like the finale of "The Sopranos" where we thought we'd learn how justice could properly be served to bad people we loved, and instead got told: "Grow up, viewers, it's just a television show!"

But I remember "Wagon Train." I think it was Major Adams, the wagonmaster, who read his charges something from Scripture I hadn't heard before (because we Catholic kids were not encouraged to read the Old Testament).

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die ... a time to kill, and a time to heal ... a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."

I thought that was wonderful, so went to the library the next day to copy it into my quote journal. It spoke of balance, perspective, the world making sense.

I happily grew up and old, picking up clues to the meaning of life from television, movies and novels along with all the more substantive guides, of course.

I wasn't too disappointed with the "X-Files" movie, during which, if the truth was out there, the cast didn't find it.

Had better luck with "Star Trek," both the TV series and film. I have a Star Trek poster in the hall with words to live by and remember like, "Keep your phaser set on stun; humans are highly illogical; when your logic fails, trust a hunch; insufficient data does not compute; even in our own world, sometimes we are aliens." And, of course, the famous line: "When going out into the universe, remember: Boldly go where no man has gone before!"

Television series-wise, that's what "Lost" has been doing, going where no series has gone before. This season there is an alternate universe. Yes! Though I hear another show is also doing parallel universes, but I'm not watching that one.

I think I can see where it's all going. Say we are in a plane crash and lost on an island. We might wish the plane hadn't crashed. But what would our lives have been like if it hadn't? What if we can find out? And then discover that what seems, in our lives, to be a tragedy, turns out to be better than our original plan, or just another kind of adventure from which we learn for our karmic growth. Perspective, balance, the world eventually making sense.

Let's try out the theory on our present political situation. What if Barack Obama hadn't won the election? I can imagine an alternate universe in which the country continues its slow slide into increased debt, cultural sludge, unaffordable wars; the frog slowly boiling, oblivious to its impending death.

But in the real 2010 we have a universe in which the country dives over the edge, the debt heads towards $20 trillion and default, all criticism is "racism," and all dissent "fanaticism."

So the frog, tossed into the hot water, jumps out in time to survive. In this universe, the Obama presidency could become a blessing.

On "Meet the Press" last weekend, former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson stammered through his "Lost World" budget analysis, looking like someone who'd just swallowed a TARP. Alan Greenspan announced "the recession is over" and something about a "gradual reduction in the rate of decline." The plane heads toward "crash."

But out in the parallel America universe, challengers who pledged to cut deficits are running for office, scaring debt-hiking incumbents across America. Sarah Palin gives a barnburner speech at the Tea Party convention without using a teleprompter.

Political correctness is now ridiculed. The phrase "for the children" becomes a joke as citizens count the debt being piled on future generations.

We who had been feeling "lost" since the 2008 election have found our time to laugh, a time to dance with Sarah, and a time for the purpose of saving our country.

So having thought about it as I write, what I get is this: No matter where we are in time, we have another chance to make up for mistakes, to create our own universe.

Unless, of course, the clues to the meaning of life aren't really found in a television series, in which case, we may be doomed.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.

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