‘Troublemakers’ taking troubles out of the world

Monday, October 1, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:43 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Rose M. Nolen

Many of my favorite people are known as ‘troublemakers.’ They tend to make waves. They find it impossible to tolerate injustice, if there is the slightest chance that they can correct it.

They don’t make good team players, because if the team is traveling in a bad direction they have to get off of it. Most of the time it’s hard for them to keep a job, since they tend to be truth tellers and often get on the bad side of the head honchos. But as money these days controls everything, especially human behavior, I don’t know how much longer ‘troublemakers’ will last.

I was thinking on that subject after I read about the United Auto Workers striking against General Motors. They are hoping to get job security, which for many years was the kind of thing people who were good workers and went to work on time everyday could take for granted. That was the day when business owners were loyal to America and Americans. They understood that if they wanted to sell their products in this country they needed to make them here, hire their fellow country people and support this economy, so that consumers could afford to shop at home. Unfortunately, under the terms of their strike fund, each employee could only receive $200 a week while they are off the job causing some concern for how long they could be out of work and still pay their bills. Years ago, early ‘troublemakers’ had made enough trouble to keep the cost of living livable, so union members without strike funds had been able to put back enough to support themselves if they needed to strike. I can personally remember, walking the picket line for two weeks without missing any meals.

So, I hope those that are trying to secure their jobs can stay out on the streets long enough to win. Too bad that their government is so bent on the global economy that it keeps making trade agreements that leave American workers out on the limb.

“Troublemakers’ make the world a better place in many ways. They rat out public officials who are not doing their jobs or are stealing public monies. They let us know when people are selling defective products or running scams. Also they get an enormous amount of work done because they are constantly changing things for the better or advocating for change.

It’s true, they are seldom popular. Most people prefer to associate or work with people who just want everyone to get along. These folks love the status quo. They don’t believe in disturbing the comfortable. They would rather wallow in misery for years, than make the effort to root out the basis of their pain. In my opinion, the accomodationists are responsible for most of the problems in the world. They wish to avoid confrontation at any cost. No one ever taught them that exchanging views is a healthy process that can lead to improved circumstances. These folks see every heated discussion as a breaking of the peace. I had a minister once, who was so reluctant to confront wrongdoing directly, that he had to leave the ministry. Although I liked the man personally, I consider that he did the church a favor

And, of course, ‘troublemakers’ lead exciting lives, because they enjoy affecting change, they are not likely just to sit around and let life happen to them. Once a problem or difficulty arises they are ready to take action to find a remedy. While others are sitting around complaining, they are busily evaluating the situation.

Lately, for a writing project, I have been studying the lives of people who are living other people’s lives. Sisters who are living their brother’s life, friends who are living their best friend’s life, secretaries who are living their bosses life and others. Not all the central characters are troublemakers, but they have similar tendencies. They are always actively involved in a project, a plan or a purpose. The people, whom I call peripheral characters, are like vessels without rudders. They are roaming aimlessly through life waiting for it to happen to them, attaching themselves to activities in the life of the central character to make themselves feel significant.Almost everything in which they are involved is related to the central character’s project, plan or purpose.

Like the ‘troublemakers,’ these central characters are not universally popular but usually have a small, dedicated group around them. In the central character’s case, this is true because he or she usually requires total loyalty and the majority of people have lives of their own.

Anyway, I’m appreciative of the extroverted nature of ‘troublemakers,’ that causes them to be willing to risk being shunned and disliked for doing what they feel is the right thing. One cannot help but believe if more folks like them had acted on behalf of the American people, the country would not be in the mess it’s in. Over the past few years we have seen blind loyalty at its worst.

Just think, if a few ‘troublemakers’ had stepped up to the plate, we probably might have a universal health care plan today. Instead we have political leaders who have chosen the profits of pharmaceutical and insurance companies over the state of human health.

America, America, where are we?

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

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