Economic meltdown. Global turmoil. Politicians using fear-laced words to rouse the lowest common denominator of voters. And the beat goes on. It’s enough to make you crazy, anxious, afraid and paralyzed. That helps nothing! I’ve stopped looking at my investment account. With deliberation, I’ve moved what I can, eliminated what expenses I can and now—it’s back to business. Hand wringing and catastrophizing do nothing. I’ve written letters to newspapers, business journals, and Congress regarding my views on bailouts, corporate malfeasance/greed, offshore tax shelters for military contractors, and my belief that adding up negative numbers will never produce a positive. (Duh—just ask a 5th grader!) Global turmoil? Nothing I can control here. Let it go. Fear-mongering? As a word merchant, I know that a simple word, given the right inflection and the right innuendo can stir up emotions. Claude Pepper, in a long-forgotten race for the Florida Senate, did just that in a rather uneducated part of the Sunshine State. He accused his opponent of practicing monogamy. He stated that his opponent’s sister was a known thespian in wicked New York City. Furthermore, his opponent was a devoted bibliophile. If you’re gasping in horror at these words - go use the dictionary. They are all positive words!!! So what can I control here? First—I need to listen carefully. I can alert my readers and my audiences to think and do the same. Insist that candidates focus on issues, real problems, and potential but-not-set-in-stone solutions. And lastly—vote! It’s the most precious way to control what we can. What can YOU control? P.S. It would also be helpful to insist that we abandon the Electoral College as an outmoded institution born early in our nation’s history.