Frivolous distractions prevent us from solving real issues

Monday, October 12, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

It’s disheartening to hear so many people say that they are disgusted with the wrangling over health care in Congress that they have tuned national news completely out. Most reasonable people understand that the only individuals or families who don’t have problems of some kind with their health insurance are those who don’t have health issues. To have to deal with the reality that so many members of Congress have apparently sold out to the insurance companies is sickening.

However, we are going to have to settle on the fact that money talks louder than anything else in America. If that makes you angry and sad about the country, remember we are the ones who made it that way. We allowed the lobbyists free rein with our elected officials, and so it is to the lobbyists that our Congressional leaders listen to. If we didn’t want it that way we would have stopped this practice long ago.


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But you see we’re easily distracted. Sure, we have an excuse right now with the tight economy, unemployment, threat of foreclosure and bankruptcy. At times like these, people, and rightly so, are concerned with their own personal financial condition. But look at all the good years we’ve had when our plates were relatively uncluttered and we should have banded together and run the lobbyists out of Washington, D.C. But when we don’t have to worry 24 hours a day, we squander time, get focused on entertainment and the small things of life and forget that we have major problems that we need to overcome.

How long has this crisis in health care been hanging around? What were we doing when the financial markets were sound and the country had a surplus instead of a deficit? OK, come on guys, let’s face it, a country made up of smart, humane individuals would have insisted that we all sit down and work this challenge out.

But no, we spent a lot of time standing in line waiting to get our hands on the latest electronic toy. Or we were busy clicking on the television to watch the latest scoop on whatever celebrity meltdown was going on at the time.

And speaking of television being all about money and ratings, why do we put up with these newsreaderswho prod us into warring with each other? We are like children, we need strong public voices of reason to guide us into taking positive steps to heal the nation’s wounds and encourage us to work on becoming the great country we should be. We can’t afford to be antagonized by these paid-for agitators who earn a living by keeping us all in turmoil. We need to hold our ground.

One thing I know for sure is that when Americans set their minds on a goal they can be awesome. When the women set their minds on suffrage and got organized and when the civil rights advocates decided their time was then, neither hell or high water could have turned them around. We’re going to have to get serious with the knowledge that if we want this Congress to follow the will of the people, then we need to start organizing as many groups as we can until we gain enough strength to demand that the country’s political leaders do what we put them in office to do.

We cannot afford to leave the fate of future generations in the hands of people like talk-show hosts who are semiliterate and apparently emotionally disturbed. I don’t question the patriotism of Americans who are happy that Chicago lost their bid for the Olympics, I question their sanity.

Some may find their hatred for the current administration helpful, just as others may have found their hatred for the previous administration helpful, but personally, I wish these folks would be more explicit and give me examples of how hating anyone actually helped improve the plight of the country.

People have the right to hate, and they also have the right to constantly tell us about it, but I hope they don’t mind if we keep organizing for positive action while we listen. Some of us don’t feel that we have the time to waste when there is so much work to be done.

I really feel sorry for all these political partisans who put in so much time getting their favorite candidate elected to office only to find out that he or she was in fact working for the corporations that are their enemies. But we’re lucky in one instance, we live at a time when we have ready access to means of communication. So, rather than turn off television news, why not e-mail, snail mail, fax or telephone your member of Congress and let them know how you feel.

Silence, in this case, is not golden. It can, in fact, be deadly. Get on your favorite horn and toot. In the morning, you’ll be glad you did.

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

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Allan Sharrock October 12, 2009 | 4:08 p.m.

This was a good read. Not partisan and no bashing of America. It provoked thought without provoking anger.

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