ROSE NOLEN: Americans need to find a way to work together

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

When I hear people on television discussing how much money is spent on political advertising, it makes me realize that some have way too much money to throw away. While millions in the country struggle to find jobs, some who are rolling in dough throw it around and wait for their people to get in control so that they can get more. Elections for some people are just a way to have fun.

I worry about this country. I wonder if when they finally run out of money, what extremes are they willing to go to get more? We are told that Americans like nasty advertising. So the people running the political campaigns try to make them as nasty as possible to attract potential voters. What happened to truth in advertising?

In any case, the race goes on. Those who have vowed to keep President Obama from having a second term are waging a major war. The hatred seems to seep out of their pores when they speak his name. Perhaps, if they spent all of that energy in dealing with the country’s problems, we might get something done about the job situation.

While the gridlock in Congress seems to go on endlessly, the state legislatures seem to waste no time in getting laws on the books. The number of laws concerning women's rights and voter registration that have been passed by various states is noteworthy. Anxiety over voters and women’s rights have generated enough attention to get these lawmakers working hard at their jobs.

The absence of voter fraud has in no way stopped some states from keeping a look out over the way their ballots are processed. And the fact that women haven’t requested assistance from their states on how to take care of their bodies hasn’t meant they have been neglected.

One thing is obvious, as Americans we are no closer to finding a way to work together than we have been in the past. In our current environment, there is no way people would be willing to put their ideas and energies to work in a common cause. People seem to have their names and labels applied to each project to let everyone know, so they can be credited for their undertakings.

At this point, individuals, it seems, have put their markers in place, and refuse to let go of them. If anyone wants to work with them it has be on their terms. Our attitudes toward one another are poisoning the workplace, the gym and everywhere in between. Our children are growing up in a world of hate and negativism, where neighbor is at odds with neighbor — and it’s all about politics.

Life is scary. You can’t count on anything staying where we put it. The voting rights that we thought we had aren’t there anymore. We have to go back and fight that fight again, and our children will have to battle it again in their generation.

The lust for power seems suddenly to have invaded every aspect of our lives. That seems to be the driving force behind this need for an individual to have the world operate by his or her rules or no rules.

The plan is obviously in place and regardless of whether we want in the game, we are the players. So, like it or not, we go shoving, pushing, dragging and plowing toward victory.

And, actually, when it’s all said and done, where is that?

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Mark Foecking May 15, 2012 | 7:44 a.m.

"The voting rights that we thought we had aren’t there anymore."

Hyperbole. Can you find one person in Missouri that could vote four years ago, that would be denied a vote in November? I doubt it.

"So, like it or not, we go shoving, pushing, dragging and plowing toward victory."

First, we have to define "victory". Since different people have very different ideas of what that is, shoving, pushing, dragging, etc. would be expected, and that makes failure to reach certain goals (say, balancing the federal budget, or improving standardized test scores) pretty much a given.

I think we can work together just fine, if we work out what the focus of that work should be. If not, it'll be the same old partisan squabbling, accomplishing nothing.


(Report Comment)
Cheyenne Greene May 15, 2012 | 8:38 a.m.

as far as money being thrown around; I have a problem with being compelled by my union thugs to support a candidate who does not hold my best interest at value. The goal should be to become more productive not more divided.

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frank christian May 15, 2012 | 8:42 a.m.

"I wonder if when they finally run out of money, what extremes are they willing to go to get more?"

She should ask this question of her hero. Barack Obama, who has borrowed and printed more "money" than any other President.

This lady seems willing to write whatever seems to further her illusion that socialism is all that can "save" America and Americans from her enemy, capitalism, whether her words ring true or not. This provides us, a wasted read every time.

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 10:12 a.m.

This is just a continuation of a rather long legacy of missives that should be entitled: "Why can't everyone come around to my liberal, and obviously correct, way of thinking?"

To Rose, "working together" is unidirectional.

As for her comment: "The hatred seems to seep out of their pores when they speak his (Obama's) name."

Fair enuf, Rose....but where the hell were you when this was done (and is STILL being done) to the last President of the United States?

Seems to me you were (and are) rather....silent.

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Gary Straub May 15, 2012 | 10:49 a.m.

Fair enuf, Rose....but where the hell were you when this was done (and is STILL being done) to the last President of the United States?

Which one was that...Cheney or Bush? You mean the president that showed no emotion when he was told of the horrific act at the twin towers, and kept reading to the children as if nothing happened. The one who disappeared for 3 days while the other one ran the country and allowed the Bin Laden family to leave the country during a no fly period, without even questioning them. The one who presented a previously prepared document to congress and called it the Patriot Act. The one who signed the Wolfowitz doctrine. The one who had Bin Laden surrounded in Afghanistan and called the troops back. The one who started a war on Iraq under false reasoning, killing thousands of civilians and more of our people than lost at the trade center. Maybe you are talking about the one who pushed a TEMPORARY tax cut for the wealthy under the pretense it would stimulate the economy. Actions which nearly collapsed our economy and lost our place of being one of the most respected countries to being one of the most despised by the rest of the world. Or the one who outed a CIA operative for spite. Which one are you referring to?

(Report Comment)
Cheyenne Greene May 15, 2012 | 11:06 a.m.

so how do you feel about the B.O.'s Muslim Brotherhood friends?...

“The capital of the caliphate – the capital of the United States of the Arabs – will be Jerusalem, Allah willing,” Safwat Higazi said.

“Our capital shall not be in Cairo, Mecca or Medina,” he said, before leading the crowd in chants of “Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.”

This is current events.

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Sandra Hayes May 15, 2012 | 11:30 a.m.

What about the $21 million Obama raised in just the last week, out of the pocket of gay marriage supporters, talk about dividing the country quickly. I doubt Obama will use that money to put out ads that try to bring the country together.

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Louis Schneebaum May 15, 2012 | 12:01 p.m.

Cheyenne, you continually betray the fact that your taking your 'news' from some totally illegitimate sources. Barack Obama is no friend of the radical television preacher you mention here. Our own televangelists are nearly as ridiculous as he is. What connection are you even trying to make here? I can show you a picture of Bush holding hands with a Saudi sheik -- what's your point?

Citation for this $21,000,000 figure you have conjured up, please. Thanks.

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Louis Schneebaum May 15, 2012 | 12:09 p.m.

"To Rose, "working together" is unidirectional."

It may appear contrary to your beliefs because "conservative" philosophy is fundamentally individualistic--whereas true followers of Christ and other altruistic persons simply cannot grasp the profoundly heartless miserliness of the 'mine, all mine' paradigm.

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 1:54 p.m.

Thank you, Gary, for validating my post.

Rose's column is similar to the one Gene Robinson wrote the other day about violence in our community and similar to one written a few months ago by Tom Warhover on the violence in Syria.

All were written by folks in the enviable position of (a) telling us there is a problem we already know about, (b) pleading that we should "talk about it" as if we haven't, (c) offering no significant solutions of their own, and (d) having a venue to gripe, bitch, and criticize strategies and solutions offered by others.

Vacuous words all....fluff, if you will.

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James Krewson May 15, 2012 | 2:28 p.m.

I am sick of liberals complaining about the hostile political environment when in fact they have been the ones creating it. All you have to do is go back to what they did to George W Bush and see why there are bad feelings between the two political parties. Also, any time any Republican has a disagreement with Obama's policy, they get called a racist. So tell me Rose, how can we come together when your side is frequently and inaccurately calling us racists? Hmm? Until liberals learn to grow up and stop acting like playground bullies, we will probably never move forward as a country.

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John Schultz May 15, 2012 | 2:36 p.m.

Cheyenne, it seems to me that issues of Jerusalem are Israel's responsibility, not the United States'.

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Ellis Smith May 15, 2012 | 2:56 p.m.

Michael Williams & James Krewson:

There's a generic term for columns like Rose's: "Ain't It Awful" columns. As is noted by Michael, above, they pretty much tell us what we already know. Seldom is any solution proffered. Offering a solution would require both serious thought on the part of the writer, and for the writer actually stick his or her neck out. Can't have that!

I certainly don't know, but I suspect that "Ain't It Awful" isn't considered particularly good journalism. Perhaps Tom Warhover and/or the Missourian staff might comment on what IS considered good journalism in such circumstances. That would be something useful and informative to readers.

We find whining intolerable in children, even though we expect a certain amount of it; in adults it's disgusting.

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frank christian May 15, 2012 | 3:02 p.m.

Sorry, James K, our liberals are grown, tho their propagated fiction such as that of Mr. Straub's above, may not indicate it.

We can move forward, however, when we remove them from positions of control in our government. This is now happening and is reason for the paranoia so often exhibited among them. We will prevail, but you must realize and accept that the name calling and false accusations will increase, not subside.

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Tom Warhover May 15, 2012 | 3:41 p.m.

@Ellis Smith: I'm not sure what you mean by "such circumstances," but I'll take a shot anyway.

A columnist doesn't have to offer solutions, although many do. A columnist doesn't have to be neutral. Her or his job is to raise consciousness around trends/issues and provoke thought and conversation in a responsible manner.

What's responsible? Accuracy in reporting facts, even if the analysis and conclusion from those facts is debatable, and using some semblance of logic in those conclusions.

Does that answer your question? (Or was the question rhetorical to begin with?)

@Michael Williams: You're right that I made no attempt to provide solutions in my Dear Reader letter about the death of foreign correspondent Marie Colvin. I didn't complain that her job was too dangerous. I didn't plead for you to talk about anything. The purpose was to share the incredible heroism of some of the journalists who have lost their lives to report the news in war zones.

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 3:44 p.m.

Ellis: "...and for the writer actually stick his or her neck out."

Precisely. While journalists SHOULD indeed stick to the facts and leave us to our own conclusions, editorialists and columnists have a much wider latitude. Unfortunately, "sticking one's neck out" is generally not a part of that latitude. On a local level, JKarl certainly does it and even Hank Waters at the "other" newspaper does it at times. Most all others simply reiterate what we already know, whine and moan at our collective fates, ask "Why can't we all just get along?", and then start thinking about their next column with no worries left in their wake.

In Centennial, James Michener wrote these words:

"My strong aversion to this kind of writing stems from the period during which I served with the army in Korea. I was in charge of a billet used by newspaper, magazine...., and each Friday the correspondent for a distinguished magazine would lug his typewriter in the bar and groan and...type with bold beginning, "So at week's end, the free world could be sure of one thing...." And then we would sit around and try to discover what mind-boggling truth the free world had come upon that week....Finally, some central tendency would emerge and the correspondent would type it out, and it always sounded just dandy, and when it created the impression that only the editors of this journal were in touch with the infinite.

But two weeks later, if one looked back upon the earth-shattering discovery of the previous fortnight, one realized how empty it had been, how largely irrelevant and, usually, how wrong."

Centennial is a wonderful work of fiction based upon modifications of actual history. This partial quote appears after the chapter entitled "The Massacre" if you wish to look it up. There's more I haven't quoted to which writers of ALL sorts should pay attention. Me, included.

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 4:37 p.m.

It's called "iridescence without illumination".

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 4:43 p.m.

It's called "iridescence without illumination."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 4:47 p.m.

Sorry about the double post.

Note the time: 6 minute gap. I thought I posted it the first time, but it took 6 minutes to show up and I thought I had hit "preview", but not "post", then exited out. So, when it didn't show up, I posted again and lo-and-behold both posts show up.

I offer no excuse other than a 6 minute impatience.

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Gary Straub May 15, 2012 | 7:21 p.m.

There are many solutions proposed by the so-called leftist, socialist, whiny, bullies but they are not heard, so I will put out 10 of my solutions.

1.All national elections will be paid for by the public, giving each certified candidate equal funding and X amount of airspace provided by all media which use our airspace for free. (this keeps elections from being bought)

2. No person holding a public office will be allowed to use their influence obtained from that position for 5 years. (thus keeping people from using an office only as a stepping stone.)

3. All resources coming from public lands will be bought at market value and only by companies that are headquartered in the US. (raising billions of dollars)

4. Break up all banks who are too big to fail that are insured by us. re-instating the Glass-Steagle (sp) act.

5. Energy will be considered part of national security and trading of it will be strictly regulated.

6. The repairing of our national infrastructure will be the highest priority. (creating jobs and doing what needs to be done.)

7. Aiding and supporting small business' with the money saved by not assisting large corporations.

8. Create a national sales tax, eliminating income taxes. With food and medicine exempt. Tax any entity doing business in this country for any profits taken out of this country.

9. Reduce military spending (which is now over half the budget) by closing foreign bases that cannot be shown to be for our national protection, and not buying weapons that we don't need.

10. Require every able bodied citizen to perform 2 years of public service after high school or college.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop May 15, 2012 | 7:42 p.m.

Socialism doesn't work. Capitalism does work. No, capitalism isn't perfect. Socialism is totally imperfect, and just a precursor to totalitarianism or social collapse. But the founding fathers were strident in their condemnation of an overreaching federal government. They warned time and again. If you can't learn from those who have tried and failed at it, then you are a fool. The rich do more to cure the social ills of the country and the world than any other group. The average millionaire fails and goes broke several times before making it big. But they get up and try and won't stay down. Most of us, regardless of our status in life, know that most of our own misery comes by our own hand. Whether it's drugs, alcohol, infidelity, poor business practices, bad investments, not wearing a seat name it. The individual is normally the tool of their own self-destruction. However, when the government interferes with the private sector beyond what is wise, normally society as a whole will suffer the consequences. The housing market collapse was just such a result...forcing lenders to make poor loans under threat of government sanctions, and then denying there was any problem when faced with obvious facts.

The result was obvious. Every university study shows that conservatives give more to charity as a percent of income, and devote more volunteer time per capita. What conservatives refuse to do is to dissolve personal responsibility as a qualifier for assistance. Most conservatives are willing to help anyone who realizes they've screwed up, and is changing to a more productive lifestyle. The attitude of liberals, as exemplified by President Obama, is that it's not my fault and I need only do more of the same to ultimately reach success.

Bill Cosby found out what the consequences were for stating the merely obvious. The backlash for having the courage to state the truth was incredible. I'm glad he was brave enough to say what needed to be said.

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 9:16 p.m.

Gary: I think that's a good start for a whole lot of discussion; i.e., it's a decent list. I'd especially buy into #2 even though I think there would be legal problems with limiting someone's income potential....still like it, tho. For #3, I wish the feds owned very little public land but see no reason why a state can't. I don't like #1 but I agree with aspects of #9 except the weapons part....I support the ability to reach out and touch someone so our folks come home. Three or four staging bases seem ok to me, and to hell with those countries who take GI money with one hand and give us the finger with the other. I'd have to give further thought on the rest, tho.

Decent job; hope you are the creator of the list.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 15, 2012 | 9:16 p.m.

Mr. Straub has, knowingly or not, given us a "road map" for the destruction of our representative republic, now enjoyed by millions, for the first time in the history of the world, for nearly 250 years.

Nothing else to say, except, "with the money saved by not assisting large corporations.", Gary, when have you ever heard that the government you prefer has Ever, Saved any money? It must always be "reinvested" to help our people in some new way devised by those in control. You need more study. Or, less!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 9:20 p.m.

Oh, and #10 is a winner, too, but the devil would be in the details.

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Michael Williams May 15, 2012 | 9:24 p.m.

Gary, would you support strict voter ID laws with #1?

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frank christian May 15, 2012 | 9:44 p.m.

Gary's #2 - Whom should we suppose would run for an elected office, knowing that their career after office would be so constricted? How about one whose intent is to gain as much wealth while in office? A list of examples may be obtained from our present elected officials.

#3 - Would restrict competition from foreign bidders, giving American Companies a monopoly, which would raise market values and Cost billions of dollars.

#9 - Every base in the world can be shown "for our national protection, by someone and the human beings in control of our defense budget, now and in the past, all are and have been in favor of "not buying weapons that we don't need."

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 16, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.

@Don Milsop:

That Conservatives give more to charitable causes, while laudable, may be less a function of Conservative values than it is of Liberal values. After all, in Liberal thinking it's the COVERNMENT that's supposed to satisfy the population's needs, so why donate significant sums to the private sector?

Government, in particular federal government, is the Alpha and Omega: everything, and everyone, else is clearly secondary.

How long will it be before Athens, Georgia, Athens, Ohio or Athens, Texas are as bankrupt as Athens, Greece now is? I might even live to see that, although I'm definitely not looking forward to it.

It's just amazing how so many people like government handouts but so few like austerity. :)

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 16, 2012 | 6:44 a.m.

I think my #3 should say "reduce" market values.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub May 16, 2012 | 9:35 a.m.

Michael, I wrote every word but I cannot say that every idea is only mine. "originality is only undetected plagiarism!" (author unknown). They are what I believe.

The weak idea that only pure capitalism can make a society is pure hogwash. None of the longest lasting societies were based on capitalism. In fact communism has had a longer history, but not the kind that has been tried in the last couple of centuries. I believe that a combination or compromise of ideologies would be the best. Pure capitalism cannot work because it would be only a matter of time before everybody killed each other. Socialism will never work because there would be no way to support the masses. Trade is necessary and extremely useful but unless anarchy is the goal people need to have a sense of togetherness not competitiveness. History has shown time and again that when the people become too disillusioned with their leaders they will revolt. As much as we like to believe we are not just another species occupying this planet, we are in fact herd animals. WE are most content to be part of the group and let those who prove their leadership take us in the right direction.

(Report Comment)
Gary Straub May 16, 2012 | 9:54 a.m.

Frank, concerning #2 the kind of people that would run would do so because they are passionate about the job not because it will give them a revolving door. And, #1 will give them the chance to do what they believe in not what they are told to do.

On #3 you think that any foreign country should be able to make a profit in this country without contributing something? This may be hard for you to grasp but business will always go where there are customers, something which no business can do without.

On #9 if you believe that that the defense budget is not full of pork and many weapons are built only because the company that makes them is in some politicians state, then you are sadly mistaken.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 16, 2012 | 11:30 a.m.

GS - Passionate about the job? Your every post on this subject indicates that none of our elected officials are passionate about the job and each and every one only awaits the dishonest lobbyist to corrupt them as well. You include human nature in the makeup of your candidates as you see it in your dream and ignore my more apt assumption that more dishonest candidates would run. The present threat of prosecution by liberal D's for every contrary decision or act, must certainly be a part of the decision of a passionate, honest, candidate who must run against them.

I paid little attention to #1. Imo it would never get passed 1st Amendment.

"On #3 you think that any foreign country should be able to make a profit in this country without contributing something? Governmental conditions concerning the attempt to earn a profit in our country. You, as usual, can only relate to benefit or not to the Government! Foreign producers operating in this country do same as others, provide jobs for Americans! Our Japanese auto makers did no find it necessary to participate in TARP. Here is J. Stossel on Obama's, Buy American.

My reference to #9 was to show that all your suggestions are now and for a long time have been, in effect. Crooks such as D' Rep John Murtha walked right around them all.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum May 16, 2012 | 12:40 p.m.

"Socialism doesn't work. Capitalism does work."

Oh, my dear, dim-witted Don--what a silly thing to say. Unbridled capitalism doesn't work, we tried it, just look back into your American History 101 textbook. Socialist experiments haven't worked so well either. We also don't live in a democracy. The ideal situation is a social democratic capitalist system. Please stop trying to think about huge, complicated issues like the 'ideal government' in the same way as a football game. Did it ever even occur to you that we (humanity) haven't reached our intellectual/functional apex, and that the best form of government has yet to be invented? What makes you think the absolute answer lies in either of these failed experiments of the past?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 23, 2012 | 9:14 p.m.

Gary, would you support strict voter ID laws with #1?

(Report Comment)

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