I hope this will be the year when Americans wake up and decide to begin to repair the damage that we have done to the well-being of the country. While we have to accept the fact that there are always going to be those who refuse to believe that this country is on a downhill slide, rational people can look in every direction and see that we are rapidly proceeding toward a disastrous end.
In the first place, we are killing ourselves and each other with guns, with unhealthy addictions and with automobiles. We have allowed our freedoms to overtake our common sense to the point where we no longer control them. They control us. We seem to find ourselves incapable of saying “no” to anything we feel we have the constitutional right to do.
By our failure to control our borders or protect our national interests through wise trade agreements, we are risking our sovereignty and are allowing people throughout the world to pillage our patents and technology, to trash our infrastructures and institutions and even poison our children.
With the assistance of the politicians, capitalism has gone wild. It was one thing when loyal American inventors and entrepreneurs were trying to make life better for Americans by building better mousetraps, but nowadays, individuals with only their own pocketbooks in mind are out to rob the citizenry by shady schemes and enterprises. The big corporations now have a private club where CEOs and CFOs and other big bosses are the only ones who are allowed to prosper at the expense of the working and middle classes. Their minds are so clouded by dollar bills that they don’t even consider that they are destroying the foundation of the country. It’s not important so long as they can afford to live anywhere in the world, which is really what the global economy is all about.
And, of course, those concerned with keeping the American economy strong can be called protectionists to make it sound like they are the enemy. Common sense should inform anyone that providing citizens of one’s country with good-paying jobs is the way the country continues to prosper.
The entrepreneurs of old built schools and libraries, endowed colleges and contributed to the enrichment of the culture. Undoubtedly they wanted to make the place where they chose to live and bring up their children the best place in the world to be. They were not inclined to create a permanent playground, a perpetual theme park, crammed with material junk and enhanced with access to mind-altering drugs for their future generations to waste away in.
Will America recover from its own prosperity? This would be a good year to start the process.
Could we ask ourselves the question: Do we really need more I- or E-anything? It seems to me what we need more than anything else is a Great Awakening. We need to look around at the people who live and work in our communities and examine what quality of life we share. There is probably no greater project than finding a way to rebuild and strengthen our neighborhoods. How are our youth and elderly faring in this climate where the housing crisis is causing so many to lose their homes? What is the status of affordable housing where families can live without having to pay outrageous mortgages?
Under this unrealistic economy, housing developers have earned billions, and now there are more cheap mansions standing than there are people who can afford to fill them. Some experts say that we will not see the housing market straightened out until 2011. Many blame the homebuyers for purchasing homes they couldn’t afford. But that’s the philosophy the country has adopted. We live our lives on credit. The average person does not make enough money to pay for all the things they need to live the most frugal of lifestyles. The only reason that many people were able to make it through the Great Depression was because cities and towns didn’t have restrictive zone ordinances, so if you could only afford to pitch a tent, that’s what you lived in. Today, local governments determine how and where you live but don’t demand that employers pay salaries necessary to support the cost of living. Therefore, many people have to live above their means in order to have a place to sleep.
We need to re-evaluate the systems we use to determine lifestyles. It’s definitely time to quit thinking in a box. Creative thinking is not against the law, so we don’t have to live according to the standards currently practiced.
Making it possible for people to have a decent lifestyle based on one salary should be a goal. We should have qualified people to study our current way of life and determine what it would take to make that possible. A good quality of life has to be about more than earning enough money to live on.
Perhaps a lot of the problems we face could be eliminated if the need to make a living could somehow be made easier. Confronting the issues that truly make us miserable could signal the beginning of a change from merely accepting the way things are to making things the way we want them to be.
Today can truly be the first day of a new way of life.
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.