I am a 67 year old, disenfranchised American male, father, grandfather,
former Navy medic, safety professional, heart attack, prostate cancer, melanoma
scare and now incurable leukemia survivor - and I am fed up.
I can relate to the plight of the 99 percenters having lost my career, the house my children grew up in and my daughters car in just the last few years.
I remember never having to lock my door at home when I was young. I do
remember walking barefoot in the summer, making snow angels in the winter and jumping into variegated colored leaves, piled high in the front yard, in the Fall. I remember when gay meant happy and glad was not indicative of a sexual preference. I remember a country with clearly defined enemies and equally defined friends.
I remember when a “pop on the butt” when we misbehaved was a learning tool, not a class B felony. Our concerns were aired in the privacy of our homes, not on prime time national television. God was not only not dead, but a viable, integral part of community life. “In God we trust” and “Under God” were part and parcel of the fabric of our national persona, not a perceived trespass on the rights of others. We saluted and respected our flag as a symbol of our nation and burned it with honor only when it was in tatters. It was a much kinder, simpler world.
I miss it so much.
I have been told that this is progress but I ask “at what cost?” Where are the values that defined us as a nation and made us the melting pot of the world? We are an Internet society of instant gratification. Rather than improving our education system when disparities exist, we lower the standards to achieve some nebulous balance while ‘hyping’ our FCAT tests which some of our own teachers are unable to pass.
Forget “No child left behind.” The world has already passed us by educationally. It is no longer Americans sitting in the seats of higher learning.
I recently learned that the engraving of the content of a famous speech by President Franklin Roosevelt had been amended to omit his closing, an affirmation of faith, on a monument in his honor,“… so help us God,” for fear of offending some nameless segment of the population. Germany tried to rewrite history too. When “politically correct” overrides the truth, we have bent over backwards one time too many. Sins of omission are still sins regardless of the self-serving rhetoric that accompanies them.
Our politicians pass laws for the “greater good” but then deliberately insulate themselves from having to participate in them. If the massive healthcare reform laws are being characterized as major advances in healthcare for the nation, why have these same lawmakers exempted themselves from participating in them and continue to vote themselves “golden parachutes” at the expense of the very voters who elected them? What’s wrong with this picture?
I suggest that we add a constitutional amendment that says: “Congress shall pass
no law from which it may otherwise or in any manner exempt itself.” What is
good for the electorate is equally good for the elected! “Constituent” does not
mean idiot, regardless of what some of our duly elected representatives seem to
Let us be the "silent majority” no more! Write to your congressmen and see if you get more than a form letter in response. Get involved. It was time for a change when Obama was elected by a landslide of the uninformed and disenfranchised. It is, unfortunately, still time for that change where the voices of the people are actually heard.
“Let’s make deal” needs to be supplanted by “let’s make it real.” It is ironic that, in one of the richest countries in the world, greed is rewarded. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." There is rampant unemployment. Families and children go homeless and hungry. Don’t let the same unbridled greed and arrogance that ran Wall Street and our 401Ks into the ground continue to run this country.
Hunger and disease respect no ethnicity, gender, ideology or geographical border. Send money to the victims of floods and earthquakes to help them in their time of need but don’t forget our own back yard.
Two years ago, I wrote: In six days, I will have been unemployed for a full year. A car was repossessed and sold for a pittance of the debt. The company is looking to me for the balance. I am still waiting to hear if I am qualified for a mortgage reduction or if my home of more than twenty years will be foreclosed – no surprise, I didn’t qualify. The house is now no more than a memory. Whatever happened to those trillions of bailout dollars given to the banks to aid in “our” economic recovery?
Yet, I am more fortunate than many who respond to my online diary. With local unemployment still at or above the national average with no end in sight; the light at the end of the tunnel still appears to be an onrushing train. Unable to find a job in my chosen profession despite a degree and several certifications, I was forced to early retire. Current chronic health problems have now precluded anything but part-time employment but my dissatisfaction with do-nothing politicians remains as intractable as ever.
Any elected official irresponsible enough to say that we have turned the corner needs to take off his rose colored glasses and see the real world. Most of the corners that I see are still occupied by men and women holding signs saying “Will work for food” or similar sentiments.
Of course, Tampa and several other local municipalities have solved their “offensive” homeless problem by legislating them off the street corners unless it is Sunday or they are selling newspapers. “Out of sight, out of mind!” It is
nothing more than trying to put a bandaid on a traumatic amputation.
I recently read an article about how to catch wild pigs. It's simple, really. Discover where the pigs live and leave some food. The next time erect a single side of a fence and leave more food. Each time you leave the food add a side until the pen is completed. Be sure to do it gradually so that you don't bother the pigs. Once they are totally enclosed, they will complain for a while but as long as you continue to feed them, the complaining will lessen and finally stop. The morale of this story is simple: stop feeding at the government trough. If you ever need a helping hand, there is a great one at the end of your arm!
Small business and self-reliance was the backbone of this country and should be again today. We must become more than the sound of one hand clapping. It is time for a change, a real change. There is only one way to make our voices heard; at the ballot box. Before casting your vote for status quo, take the time to learn about the issues and where the candidates actually stand on them. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain. The recently televised republican debates were nothing more than “sanitized mudslinging rhetoric.” I fear that the
upcoming conventions will be nothing but more of the same.
There is still time to be part of the change. Register and vote. If you don’t, you have no right to complain. Vote the issues and the candidates, not the parties. I want my America back and pray - yes I still pray- that you do too! Don’t
forget to vote! It is both your right and responsibility as an American citizen. It was paid for with the blood of legions of our brave young fighting men and women.
That's what I happen to believe but then again, that’s just one man’s opinion. What do you think?