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Columbia Missourian

DAVID ROSMAN: Americans need to regain altruism, humanity and optimism of Thanksgiving

November 21, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am grateful that my friends are healthy, and my family survived Hurricane Sandy. I am grateful that Kathy, her family and I are all in good health, have roofs over our heads and food on the table.

Yet many in the middle of the Midwest remain pessimistic on this day celebrating the altruism, humanity and optimism of the Wampanoag nation toward the Pilgrims in 1621. The reasons are too plentiful and affect us all.


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America is quickly running toward the “fiscal cliff” that the Republicans and Democrats agreed to two years ago and have since done nothing about. Today, some members of Congress are bellyaching, wanting to cut funding assisting our growing poor only to add funding to the military. Nationally, we abhor this same action by nations, such as North Korea, increasing their military at the expense of their people.

The bad economic news continues with a Pew Research Center report telling us what we already know — the middle class is being screwed. Pew reported that 85 percent of Americans “say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living.”

Sure, we can — and do — blame Congress for the fiscal decline of the American middle class. This simply verifies that trickledown economics, giving more wealth to the wealthy, does not create jobs or prosperity.

Mid-Missouri is losing upwards of 100 jobs with the bankruptcy of Hostess — from Boonville to Mexico — of some 18,000 jobs lost companywide. That’s 18,000 families whose holiday of thanks will be marred by our own objectivism. As of Monday evening, Hostess had agreed to mediate with the union.

There is the national story of Blaec Lammers of Bolivar who police said purchased two-assault type weapons and 400 rounds of ammunition, along with tickets to the new “Twilight” movie to, as his mother claimed, shoot people at the theater..

Columbia and Jefferson City have had an increase in gun violence, with last week’s shootings laying a solid gray cloud over the joy of Thanksgiving.  I warned the city about gang activity on these pages in 2007, 2008, 2009, and the last time in May. Mr. Mayor and Chief Burton: Increasing patrols will not stop the violence, as we have seen last week alone.

There are other ways. One solution is to call a “gang summit,” no weapons and no arrests, to negotiate a ceasefire.

Yet, Americans cannot have an open in-depth discussion concerning gun ownership, training and limitations. Why? Because the super-conservative arm of the NRA enjoys the fear-mongering and the pessimism it creates.

Now there are temper-tantrum politics with politicians who lost elections crying like 4-year-olds not wanting to share candy.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is claiming that President Obama “bought” the election by “going to an old play book … and buying votes.” How did the president do this; “…by showering 'gifts' on women, African American and Hispanic supporters, in his first published remarks since conceding (the) election.” Really? Isn’t that the nature of politics?

As the Republican Party licks its wounds, many are moving away from their more radical elements towards the GOP idea of moderate politics for survival. Last Sunday’s talking-head shows had such political luminaries as House Speaker John Boehner, former congressman Newt Gingrich and others claiming that the party has moved too far right. It also appears that the more radical conservatives might leave the party altogether. The result could be the creation of that unwieldy third party some wish upon our election process.

Pessimism is not part of the American psyche. Like depression it does, at times, become overwhelming. However, on this day of thanks we can start regaining our American and Missourian altruism, humanity and optimism. We are our own salvation.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.