America is not living up to its potential

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:15 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 8, 2009

As a summer person, I normally don’t look forward to fall. But this year has been different. I’ve spent much of this season trying to marshal the extensive growth in and around my property. For the first time in many years, I did very little gardening and most of my flowerpots were left empty. In fact, I practically deserted my lawn chairs since any time spent under my shade trees served as a reminder that there was mowing and trimming that needed to be done.

The only positive thing I can see that derived from my life in the jungle is that it kept me away for a while from the television news programs, where the cantankerous politicians have succeeded in making sure that we all know that we’re still, as a people, doing business at the same old, racist, sexist, homophobic stands and the last thing they want or will tolerate is change. I’d rather do battle with the weeds on my property; at least they don’t ramble on and on.

I really think it’s time for me to give up the hope that America will ever have political parties whose members will put the will of the people above their own re-election. I’m sorry it took so long for me to accept what George Washington knew when he was president. For so long I had hoped that one day America would live up to its promise to become the nation that the world could look up to as a shining example of democracy at work. What they are looking at now are groups of people who hardly bear any resemblance to civilized human beings. They are more like a forest full of grizzly bears, bellowing and thumping each other on the chest.

I don’t believe any other nation in the history of the world has had a greater opportunity to create a country where everyone could reach his or her full potential and where individuals could bring their gifts together for the common good for all humanity.

Unfortunately, the ideals were greater than the poor souls could wrap their minds around, and so the gifts were squandered as they resorted to taking the slightest opportunity to reduce themselves and each other to their lowest common denominator by appealing to that which is most vulgar and demeaning among man’s many vices.

The health care reform argument is a perfect example of what can happen when people lose their ability to reason. Suffice it to say, those who are educated realize that if those people who have lost their jobs have little to no income and lack health insurance get ill, there will be a public option to take care of their medical bills. It’s called Medicaid and its run by the government and paid for by the taxpayers. And in case no one has noticed, all those rich insurance companies, whom people of means believe should not have to compete with government, will spare the taxpayers not one dime from footing the entire bill. I find it rather sick that people should love the corporate executives who are willing to buy their votes more than they love themselves. When people become that dedicated to the dollar, their souls are definitely in danger and the only thing the rest of us can do is stand aside and listen as their bodies hit the ground.

I am sure there are many who are more optimistic than I am. And I hope they are right. As far as I am concerned, I don’t hold out any promise that America can right itself. We have had too many chances and we have blown them all. Nothing disgusted me more than having people in my community who refused to fly their flags at half-mast to honor the person who initiated and passed the Americans with Disabilities Act that benefited millions of our country’s families. If he was not a member of their political party, is that reason enough to disrespect his contributions?

When the country’s history is written, I am sure that people will be mystified at how such a noble experiment came to naught. But they will only have to look at this period to understand how the few were able to undermine the many with their schemes and parlor tricks. That it was all about power and greed will be evident and that it was a case of education being unable to prevail will be obvious.

I hope these future readers will take into account the many ways in which our parents and grandparents endeavored to make the country a haven for those who sought justice and equality. Maybe, they will know that our medical technology was the greatest in the world. Perhaps, something will be mentioned of our great artists and architects, our writers and musicians.

But let them make much of the spoilers, those who never really understood the concept of forming a more perfect union that was the basis of our striving. The sad thing is, their children will have to live in the world of their creation. Some people call it karma.

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


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tina fey September 8, 2009 | 8:36 a.m.

Here are quotes (simply cut& pasted) from Ms. Nolen's commentary above:

"all those rich insurance companies"

"I find it rather sick that people should love the corporate executives"

"Nothing disgusted me more"
"it’s time for me to give up the hope"

"The only positive thing I can see"

"we’re still, as a people, doing business at the same old, racist, sexist, homophobic stands"

Critiquing Ms. Nolen's commentary reminds me of the old Chinese proverb "be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it". Here, in Ms. Nolen's own words, is the negativity that plagues America, or the base and dark stereotypical phrases and comments that plague liberal media operatives who thrust their pain and aroma onto the good American people. Ms. Nolen, what do you mean by "those" insurance companies? You, of all people, should refrain from encompassing one group into a comment like "you people"...
In American society, every company provides value. Insurance companies provide value. Profit is a natural byproduct of good business and value addition. Most companies add value by balancing societal goodwill and organizational profit. Wake up, you live in America which is founded on the theories of capitalism. Why are you sick that corporate executives and be loved? It's clear that you disdain them, but why? Why do liberals feel the need to demonize corporations and the good people who work within them? They are your brothers, your sisters, your mothers, your fathers, and your friends. When you demonize corporations you are telling your loved ones that you hate who they are and why they live. Perhaps you don't shop at Wal-Mart or buy gas from Exxon. I guess that you live in the woods and eat wild berries and do not need your brothers and mothers to create goods and services.

(Report Comment)
tina fey September 8, 2009 | 8:36 a.m.

Why are you disgusted? There are many reasons to smile and lift up those around you and serve as a beacon of happiness. You are giving in to the dark side when you throw in the towel of negativity.
Don't give up hope. Step into the light so that others might see in you all of the wonders of life. Be an example to those who might forgo hope. A glass empty can be seen as half full. Why just one positive thing? Life offers us many wonders. Do not despair and look down. Always look up.
Why castigate the American people to base stereotypes? Is it because YOU are a stereotype, because you are angry, because you think that since you are educated that you know how to unravel the mysteries of everyday life so that they are no longer glorious, but vain and hopeless and you want everyone around you to feel your pain, your regret, your unfulfilled regret? Ms. Nolen, I hope you take this to heart. I have just used your own words to expose you. You need to understand that when you speak to 'us' people that you are projecting your own senses of insecurity and unravel. I know that you need some time to heel, so I would recommend that you go out into that yard with a renewed sense of adventure. God Bless You Ms. Nolen.

(Report Comment)
Paul Welch September 10, 2009 | 10:11 p.m.

Lovely article, Rose! Tina, I'm pretty sure it's okay to throw a demonstrative adjective in front of things you don't like as long as it doesn't represent actual people devoid of any context. You know, saying "Those right wing nut case blogs ..... or, "Those silly birthers" is not the same as saying "Those people ... " when you are referring to "Black people" in general. Actually, it is interesting that you would equate the two as if they were equal.

I didn't feel Ms Nolan was attacking capitalism, or all insurance companies. I felt she was criticizing "those" insurance companies that have been bleeding their customers, such as the ones that President Obama referred to in his speech. Or like in that cool movie "The Rainmaker" with Matt Damon (Isn't he something!).

Do you really think that "every" company provides value? You make every company sound positively saintly. Well, maybe they do. But I guess it's what you mean by value. Some of them do create a lot of value for themselves!! Oh! God bless you! (I didn't want to wait until the end of my post before I did that!!).

We live in a pretty sad world where the weak are still victimized by the strong. Yep, it can be a sad place. We would definitely be better off if there were happier people in the world who were so satisfied with the way things are. Surely, commenting on injustice and calling for America to live up to its potential is an exercise in negativity and insecurity.

I have to admit I did not exactly get the last part of your comment. The part about Ms. Nolan's "unfulfilled regret". But I'm sure it has something to do with her being an educated, black woman. I think. But I'm not sure. Now I am completely lost! Hey, point taken with a grain of salt.

God bess you and your little pink house, Tina!

Rose .... things are probably much worse than you think!

(Report Comment)
David Wallace September 17, 2009 | 5:04 a.m.

Fantastic article Rose! And great comment Paul. I'm afraid Tina (Fey?.. she sounds more like Sarah Palin) would think even worse of me. I happen to feel that this country is actually closer to Rome in it's last days. This country has proven to me over and over now that money is more important than a human life. I want to love this country but admittedly no longer can. People like Tina who -should- be upset with corporations sending large portions of their profits overseas so as to avoid taxes (which we get stuck paying) and needless to say jobs that should be ours (i.e. India, Mexico) for the sole purpose of increasing those profits... befuddle me. As long as we have people of this mindset in this country, this country is doomed to failure.

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