OPINION

JUST PLAIN TALK: The Middle East, money and American women

Buz Livingston
Buz Livingston

A few weeks ago, we took a family vacation to the North Georgia mountains. On the first night, a little shower came, just enough to cool things off. Afterward, it was so peaceful and quiet; I had to wonder why anyone would want to vacation anywhere else. Little did I realize, my Moderna vaccines turned me into a chigger magnet. I guess the anti-vaxxers were right. With a quick slap, you can dispatch a yellow fly or mosquito after they bite, but with a chigger, scratching is the only option.

Also complicating things, only the two grandkids, Texas Tornadoes, could successfully navigate the Roku. Since they are big Disney fans, we had a news blackout, and by the time we got back to the ATL, Kabul had fallen. It was reminiscent of Saigon in 1975, but not exactly. Unlike Vietnam, there was no mandatory conscription. Plus, nations at war have historically raised taxes, but now war costs are added to the national debt. As a result, few Americans have skin in the game or, at least, even cared until recently.

More importantly, insurgents seizing control in Afghanistan is infinitely less dangerous to your investments than an insurrection in Washington, DC. Finally, modern prosperity depends on the rule of law; without it, prosperity vanishes. Please show me a single prosperous authoritarian government. Take your time. I'll wait.

In addition to military experts, there is social media angst about the future for women and girls in Afghanistan. But mama was the first generation of American women who could vote their entire lives. As late as the '70s, one of my clients could not get a credit card in her name; she had to use her husband's. Even today, according to the Labor Department, women in America earn roughly 80% of what men earn.

American women are second-class citizens in other ways. To wit, the Violence Against Women Act, which passed in the '90s, failed to be reauthorized by the U.S Senate. Kat O'Brien, a former journalist, shared her story of a Major League ballplayer raping her almost 20 years ago. Until she spoke out, she never told anyone. "I knew that if I told anyone what happened that it would ruin my career." Twenty years ago, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby were respected in and out of Hollywood. No one would have believed her.

O'Brien grew up playing sports, and sports journalism was a natural extension. She was a good journalist and, despite the assault, her career advanced. But the burden was too much. She turned down a promotion because it entailed covering the team her assailant played on. So to escape the pressure, she changed careers and no longer writes. We should do better.

I love America, and as Mary Gauthier reminds us, "my country could use a little mercy now." The Taliban is a bunch of religious kooks, and the Afghans who supported us face death and despair. It bothers me.

You can't always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP, can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.