If there was no calendar, what day would it be?

Written by on January 2, 2012 in Education, Schools & Graduations, Politics with 0 Comments

Happy New Year!  Make it so.

We make such a big deal about a new year.  We convince ourselves that, somehow, this one will be different and better than all the others. And perhaps it will. Each of us, of course, has some power, some ability, and some opportunity, to make it a better year for ourselves. But increasingly, I think we, collectively, believe that we have less control over our own futures than ever before. Why? The blacks and whites (not racial terms here–just a descriptive term for issues) are melding into grays of varying intensities, and most of us feel trapped by those who seem to assert, with such certitude, positions that are so far to the right (or to the black) of us or so far to the left (or the white) of us that we are not sure we can even formulate a position of our own without risking major criticism from one side or the other, or even both. And so we often remain silent, while we suspect our world is imploding upon itself and upon us.  And we try to cheer ourselves up by focusing on little things: a new year; a holiday; a small raise; a stock market rise; a birthday; a new car; a new episode of CSI.

But still we are scared.  The institutions we once believed in are beyond our understanding, and seem beyond caring about any of us.  Greed seems rampant in far-off places, and while we like to think we can muster up some economic ambition in ourselves, it seems that there is something  or someone out there, unknown to us, that will somehow end up benefitting much more from our efforts to rally ourselves than we will.

And this frightens us in a way perhaps not seen before. Our efforts, we suspect, will be for naught.  Government does not work, we think, and we suspect that government is no longer owned by “the people” but by moneyed interests that we don’t know and cannot touch, but we sense that they are in our purses and wallets more often and more deeply than ever.  Even more, we suspect that they are in the purses and wallets of those we trusted enough to elect to office, such that what we want and hope for and expect from government is irrelevant in the face of the demands of the moneyed interests.

And yet, every couple of years, we are told how much our votes matter, and how important we are to the process, and how much our opinions matter. But we suspect we are being lied to, and we don’t know who the truth-tellers are anymore, or if there is even a truth-teller out there. More to the point, we worry that we have no one to speak for us, and we worry that no one would listen even if we found such a person to speak for us.  If we have no one to speak for us, do we have a voice?  Most people, I think, are relatively and quietly moderate, or they don’t care, until they figure out that their jobs are leaving town and they won’t be able to buy food because the grocery store is closing because there is no one capable of buying food even if they, individually,  had a little money to buy food. They can’t send their kids to school because the schools have closed because no one owns a home because their jobs left town and they couldn’t pay the mortgage, and the property taxes are unpaid and so there is no money to pay teachers and for school buildings and more maintenance.  And stop signs will not get replaced when they fall down, and fire and police protection will become sparse and perhaps ineffective.  And who will monitor those who would pollute our lakes and rivers and air? And who will inspect the restaurants to make sure food is safe? And who will make sure the airplanes are safe? And so on.

This country was truly founded on the backs of the middle class, and the upper classes knew this, and understood it, and accepted it.  Read Ben Franklin.  Read about George Washington. Read Abraham Lincoln. Read. Read.  Stop watching the TV (except CSpan’s Book Channel). Read. See how important the middle class was and is.  But when the middle class is squeezed into oblivion, it may be too late. And the end result will be that the upper classes will start to eat each other.  Why? Because when the middle class is gone, they will need to create another one, which will be made up of former members of the upper classes.  Why? Because they certainly can’t trust each other. They know how they are, and how much they need, and they know that  most of what they need is not very much except that they need all that they have and want no one taking any of it away for anyone else’s benefit.  But they know they need a middle class, even if they have to invent one from former wealthy people. Because without a middle class, there is no source of income to the wealthiest among us.

But no society can exist without fair taxation, just as a professional association  or volunteer organization cannot exist without dues.  If such a professional association charged dues in the same amount to every member, the poorer members will simply drop out once they cannot afford it, and eventually, taken to an extreme, only the wealthiest members will remain. And they will have to pay more to sustain the organization, if they wish to sustain it.  But in a nation, those who cannot afford to pay the dues cannot leave. What will happen when the middle classes can no longer afford to pay the taxes?  When that point comes, they will not likely not be able to buy the products and services offered by those who produce the products and services, thus affecting the economic status of those producers.  What will happen then?

So taxation is not the real issue. The real issue is this:  what kind of country do we want to have?  Do we want to weaken our country so much that only the wealthiest will survive?  Are you an employee?  Are you working harder and more hours than ever before?  Is more demanded of you than ever before? Are you told that if you cannot cut it, you can easily be replaced?  Do you feel like a slave to your job?  Are you sharing in the bonuses?  Who is?  And are those bonuses paid to other people far in excess of your own salary?  At the end of every review, do you feel simply lucky to still be alive? To still have a job? To still have health insurance?

Where does it end? It is 2012.  It is an election year. What will your life be like in 2013? 2014?  2020? Do you want to be controlled by the extremists?  By the wealthiest among us?  What kind of country do you want?  Where is the America you grew up with and loved?  Who owns it now?  When did they buy it?  Who did they buy it from?  And what did they pay for it?  Did you get any of that money?  Or did you pay for your own losses?  Do you suspect that you did?

Where is my America? Where is your America? Is it still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Or is it now the land of the greedy and the rest of us?

2012: Be an American. Be a voter.  Know the candidates.  Know yourself.  Love your country.  Change the ownership.  Make it your own. Start local.

 

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About the Author: Husband. Father. Friend. Writer. Lawyer. Businessman. Gift maker. Poet. Lover of learning. This site is a labor of love, a mid-life crisis come to life. I love words and I love making gifts that I know people love! They please the eyes and touch the heart! (I hope!) .

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