As we head toward Election Day November 8th, I have to wonder, what are we all fighting for? So we can have more stuff, bigger cars, more guns?

When my nephew was stationed in Afghanistan in 2013, bravely committed to his duties as a Joint Fires Observer seeking out and disarming IED’s, he texted me almost daily to keep me apprised of his safety. But he never once complained and was always self-deprecating and respectful of job. He was face-to-face with the Taliban on a daily basis and even after an IED took the whole engine and front end off of the truck in his convoy, his unwavering courage was awe-inspiring.

In 2010, I began writing my novel, Foliage: An International Bank Spy Thriller, because back in 1990 when I lived in Paris and Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the reasons for the US intervention were clear. It was an amazing time, watching the war live on CNN. But I never forgot during those days in Europe you could sense there was something going on behind the scenes and I always wanted to dig deeper, try to understand.

For my book, the goal was ambitious yet simple, write about complex issues in the form of a novel, with a story that moved forward quickly and was easy to digest. It took four years to write but as anyone who has read it will attest, it is a well-researched and yet not overwhelming look back at the cause of our dependence on fossil fuels, greed.

Another recently released novel, The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper, presents a mesmerizing look forward, a thoughtful and well-researched study of what is to come if we don’t start getting serious about what we’re doing to our planet. It is an all-too-plausible thesis of the near future, (only thirty years from now, according to Casper), a fresh look, moving, powerful, realistic and devastatingly beautiful. This book ties together the years of building dependence on fossil fuels and the culmination to the inevitable, which is now right in front of us. It explores human nature and our insane inability to learn from our mistakes.

That’s what we all need to think about. What are we doing it all for? There is cause and effect. Continuity. Things happen for a reason. But it’s not just about doing research, watching the news, surfing the Internet or reading a book. It’s about each one of us digging deep and exploring what we really think about what’s going on around us.

Think things through. It’s a simple lesson that I learned in college but one that changed my life. Our individual consciousness is a powerful thing when it makes up the collective consciousness. If we don’t reflect and really think things through individually to understand our own minds, someone else will tell us what we think. Knowing our selves. That’s the least we can do to honor those who have fought so bravely for us all. It’s also a show of respect for all those who devote their lives to public service. Yes I’m talking about politicians. It’s a dirty job, but deep down we know that those who do it have good intentions. Think about it.

Then go to the voting booth this November and be the cause to the effect.


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