Serious issues face an entertainment-driven nation

Monday, February 11, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:17 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One of the privileges of independent wealth, I suppose, is that you don’t really have to care about the country you live in. If your lifestyle starts to deteriorate, you can just pick up and move somewhere else.

This is the only way I can make sense of the attitudes of the television political broadcasters who seem to think the upcoming presidential election is a barrel of laughs. Obviously, they don’t feel personally involved in the outcome. That has to mean that their families don’t have to care whether the country lives or dies. Many of them act as if it’s just another Super Bowl.

On the other hand, anyone who has to care about health care for their friends or family, for example, couldn’t possibly have so much fun joking about the exploits of the candidates. Folks who have to take these issues seriously would want to pin these candidates down and find out what kind of plans they have to offer. But for the rich and successful, I guess it’s all just another happy-go-lucky event. To me, this points out the necessity of getting serious people in responsible positions if we are ever going to get the country on a better path.

Frankly, inserting entertainment gossip in the midst of news stories indicates to me that the people who are bringing the news over the airwaves are just having a good time. I’m sure people around the world just shake their heads at how out of control American society has become. It appears that nothing is worth taking seriously in our world.

Everyday people have individuals close to them with life-threatening illnesses who are uninsured, and they know others who are in financial distress, in danger of falling over the edge. All of us need a reason to hope, something to cling to and apparently, the only thing we can truly believe is that our best days in America have come and gone. The electronic media have succumbed to the idiocy of the two-party system so we are without any opportunity to overcome the dilemma of a bought-and-paid-for government by lobbyists.

It’s hard to know what our future will look like. It certainly doesn’t appear to be promising for young people of the middle class or below. Education seems to have a low priority. Once again, having fun seems to be what so many young and old seem to want out of life. Anymore, everything seems to center around our need to be entertained. In that regard, I guess the television broadcasters are just giving us what they think we want.

As illiteracy takes hold of our population, I imagine our communities will began to fall apart piece by piece. Undoubtedly, we’ll have to bring more people in from other countries to fill our professional positions. With so many high schools failing to produce large numbers of graduates, skilled workers are going to become pretty scarce. I would say that professions such as teaching will be in trouble. As our technology becomes more complex and our citizens become less literate, we’ll have to depend on foreigners to maintain our lifestyle.

With the government in the shape it’s in and no help in sight, individuals are going to have to begin taking matters into their own hands if they want to see improvement. When citizens truly get fed up with poor schools, they are going to have to take a hard look at how their schools operate and to what extent state and federal laws contribute to their success or failure. Certainly, they are going to have to look closely at teacher qualifications. And of greatest importance will be the need to examine school discipline procedures. With what some school staff and teachers have to put up with, I’m surprised these schools are able to keep employees. To allow some of these institutions to continue to operate at taxpayers’ expense is nonproductive.

And people are eventually going to have to begin to see that their locally elected officials toe the mark, if they want to maintain civility in their communities. Most people have way too much on their plates, and so they let the small things pass. Unfortunately, those things add up to become litter-filled streets, ear-shattering music pouring out of cars, street corners filled with rowdy teenagers, nightly sprees of vandalism and all sorts of criminal trespass.

In other words, at this point, the political parties have become so powerful nationally that the only way that we may ever know government of the people, by the people and for the people will be at the city and county level. Therefore, it is important that we keep these officials under our control for as long as we can and demand that they serve our needs.

Tight money and a spiraling cost of living are going to make the coming months very challenging. The more things we have working in our favor, the better off we will be. The last thing we need is people on television adding to our misery. At least, in their case, we can turn them off.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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Mark Foecking February 14, 2008 | 8:43 a.m.

Well said, about todays children not getting what they need from the educational process. However, parents have to get involved with this also. Parents can fall victim to the lure of entertainment, materialism, and the lure of easy credit also, and they have more to do with forming attitudes and values than the schools do.

I must disagree about who is President, however. The President has little to do with the health of the economy, and the federal budget is generally set by Congress. I would say it matters little who is preseident to the average life of a middle class American.

THe best thing everyone can do now is learn to use less stuff. That way, they're prepared for whatever life throws at them.


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