Peter H. Brown
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Short Takes For a Hot and Troubling July

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Photo: Michael Vadon

Leon casino,  

Yes, these are troubling times for many with Brexit shaking the global economy, police killings on both sides, ISIS and random Middle East bombings, global warming spiking the temperature, Trump raging against just about everything, walkable cities plagued by an invasion of cars from the sprawling suburbs, the awful wealth gap, and nativist unrest against the elites in Great Britain, Europe, and elsewhere. Yet Pete counsels: “Take heart; don’t be discouraged; these troubles have already started to work themselves out.”

  • The fallout from Brexit is subsiding; the global marketplace seems to have recovered from the initial shock. Leading U.S. economists are saying that the impact on the local and the U.S. economy will be minimal, certainly in Texas. The stock market has recovered nicely.
  • Donald Trump is likely to be stopped. Even if you believe that we need big changes beyond polarized government, the highly likely Clinton/Sanders/Democratic victory in November heralds the kind of big change people want, especially for Millennials, the middle class, the urban poor, and the rest of the “99 percent.”
  • Thanks to Bernie Sanders, the Democrats’ platform is clearly not “business-as-usual,” but an innovative progressive step forward – cracking down on Wall Street, a more affordable college education at public universities, reasonable gun regulations, and I hope most Free Press Houston readers, like Pedestrian Pete, are still “feeling the Bern!”
  • The end of punitive austerity, brought about by historically low interest rates for government borrowing. This should enable savvy local and state governments to finance much needed transportation (think rail transit), road and bridge, and airport infrastructure projects, and public education on a national scale.
  • Get Out The Vote! Especially you and your friends. If you want to make a difference, get informed, get active, get registered and vote… for what you believe in. Except in a few states like Oregon, which offers online voting, voter apathy is dismally low (think 20 percent of eligible voters), especially among the younger folks and Millennials, and Latinos. FPH readers, you have a key role to play here.
  • Two other promising prospects: First, after the November elections, there is a good chance for common-sense firearms regulations, even in gun-saturated Texas (folks are packing more guns in Harris County than in the entire state of Louisiana!). Pedestrian Pete believes that more guns out there in private hands will inevitably lead to more violence. That’s exactly what we don’t need! Secondly, there is a good chance to improve ObamaCare with a “public option.” This means that those left out of the system can purchase less expensive health insurance from the U.S. government, bypassing the profit-greedy private insurance companies. Former President Clinton has repeated many times, “we are the only developed nation in the world with a for-profit health insurance system.” Think about it; it makes no sense. Give people the “public option,” especially those in financial need and poor health, like Medicare and Medicare! Those programs, aside from too much bureaucracy which can be fixed, really work.

And as final thoughts, Pedestrian Pete says this:

“As fortunate Americans, living in the most advanced nation on earth, our diversity is a great strength, provided we embrace one another with tolerance, compassion and understanding. Inevitably, diversity will increase, so let’s make it work. The irony of this political season is that “the party of Lincoln,” most but not all Republicans, has managed to divide us socially, economically and racially. This is a tragic backsliding for all of us.”

Pedestrian Pete says, “Let’s all walk hand in hand together, proud of our already great nation; and let’s listen to Lincoln: a house divided cannot stand!”