Showing posts with label We the People. Show all posts
Showing posts with label We the People. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Politics, Voting and the Fear Factor

    Do you have a feeling of utter confusion as you are bombarded with "facts" about this senator or that. about our president, or about the Tea Party, the Coffee Party, the shortage of oil, the tremendous supply of oil,  or a pending bill or proposition?  At this point I have serious doubts that future historians, with access to all that's been written, will be able to give an account of the true state of affairs in our country.

So what do we do? No thoughtful person will deny that voting is important. Neither can it be ignored that the existence of of politics is vital. Politics consist of a force that makes decisions, politics direct what is is to happen in the work place, what our children learn, the amount of taxes we pay and, in fact, the majority of things that affect our lives.

Think about this:
     Those who are adept at fear mongering exert a tremendous amount of influence.
     Those who are equally adept at spoofing at such influence create their own followers.
     Each are promoting their own beliefs, or fears, or very often, their own hatreds.
     It is impossible that each of us can be well informed on every issue, whether Islam or oil reserves.
It creates a problem doesn't it?

Recently I came across an article that appeared to be promoting the idea that Americans were a fearful people.  My early impression was that the author felt that our citizens were rather foolishly seeing bogeymen all around; that we were running from our own shadows, that we were behaving like silly, giddy people, jumping at the slightest noise. Irritated, I did not finish the article. I should have and then formed an accurate opinion of the authors point of view. The part that I did read, however, set some thoughts in motion.

My first thought concerned the use of the word, "fear." My feeling is that there is a lot of fear...justified this country right now. The certainty of saving enough money to provide for our old age has evaporated. Those who believed they had adequate savings are no longer sure. The Social Security Fund is almost depleted. Workers who have built their lives and future on their workplace have seen the entire national job market change to the degree that their ability and willingness to work is no longer an issue, because the worker is not needed. Mechanical or electronic systems may have eliminated the worker's position or worse, the job may now exist in another country. All this results in a very justified fear concerning the lack of security.

Then I thought of our early ancestors who surely had fear as they left their homes, probably because of some type of fear concerning their livelihood and faced what had to be a fearful situation in traveling to a strange land and surviving there by only what they could provide with their own hands. Others who have come here in later years, often came because of fear: fear of starvation, of imprisonment, or fear of death for themselves or their families.  It would appear that experiences such as those would create a renewal of fear whenever their new lifestyles began to feel unstable. Having at one time lived in fear, fear of similar conditions developing is certain to exist. These people were fearful but they were not cowards. They were braver than many of use have ever been.

So fear exists and it is neither cowardly or shameful. It is a natural reaction to the unknown and to possible danger. Wouldn't we be foolish to have so little fear that we never took precautions for our safety? If we are considered a fearful people, perhaps our fear will keep us safe. Don't hold up our fears in ridicule!

Back to politics: Is fear a factor in our elections?  Considering the above thoughts  concerning financial security and the terrors of some of the conditions many immigrants have left behind and what many see as dangerous changes in our own government, and  the answer must be  a resounding "YES"!

We need people who govern this country to understand that people can and should do for themselves if given the opportunity. We need people who understand the consequences of debt and waste, and who realize that it is not necessary to satisfy all their wants (and ours) at one time. We need people who speak straight from their knowledge and experience about what is possible and what is necessary, instead of making glib speeches that are only words meant to influence voters into giving this person a job.

How do we determine who these people are? I wish I knew a sure-fire method! We absolutely must start doing our homework of reading opinions, editorials, listening to interviews and even studying body language! Perhaps there will be enough information to point us in the best direction.  Before the day we cast our vote we may have found enough solid dependable information to guide us. Otherwise, to state it very inelegantly, we will need to depend upon our "gut" feeling....and that feeling, that intuitive reaction, may be a good way to go if you've listened to the candidate, seen pictures and watched that body language!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Memories of our nation's attacks; 9/11 and 12/7/41

Today, the memories of 9/11 are strong and as we recall the disbelief and horror of that unforgettable scene, there have been many of these expressed eloquently on many sites.

My son called me the moment he heard the news. I expect that all long-haul truckers  had been placed on an immediate alert by their companies.  I also made some phone calls and watched in horror and disbelief   as the scene was shown continuously on the TV screen. That such a thing was actually happening was beyond belief. The crash of the planes into the buildings, the towering smoke and the images of the tiny figures tumbling into space should have been scenes from a movie but they were terrifyingly real.

In the following hours, other thoughts crowded in: those of the hundreds of firefighters making their desperate attempts to save the trapped occupants of the buildings, a jolt of realization of the dedication they had to their duties and the dangers they were facing, and the memories of another time when our nation had been surprised by another attack: that of December, 7, 1941.

On that Sunday, so many years ago, there were no scenes to watch; only a voice on the radio, which in our household was a powered by its battery. Regardless, the news was sobering and the next day's school assembly to hear our president speak was equally so. I  remember very little of President Roosevelt's  speech except the words "We are at war" spoken in that unforgettable voice.

The serious demeanor of the principal and other teachers was impressive. We
were only naive kids; they were aware of what was before us, but we were soon to learn. We were seniors and before many months boys in our class were  taken into some branch of military  service. Rationing went into place, young men teachers were drafted, the labor force was depleted and women went to work in fields they had never before considered.

In fact, these fields had never before had a need for more workers, but as the nation found themselves pitifully unprepared for war there were shortages on all fronts. The need for airplanes, all types of ships, clothing and food, and various forms of transportation, became acute. We never knew how desperate our situation was until years later, because along with rationing, we also had censoring of everything that might provide helpful information to the enemy.

Two terrible attacks on our nation: similar in destruction and loss of lives, yet different in so many other ways. In the Pearl Harbor attack there was no doubt concerning the identity of the attacker and our response was immediate. In the 9/11 attack there was doubt and confusion. After  Pearl Harbor the nation united as one; an ant bed of activity, ready to sting anyone who dared venture close. How different 9/11 has been. The nation was ready to lash out but there was no place to land a blow. There was uncertainty and confusion. Our citizens had divided opinions concerning how and where to retaliate.
We became frustrated---and still are.

Like  Pearl Harbor, the memories of the 9/11 attack remain but with the 9/11 memories, anger and the frustration still exist as shown in the ongoing controversy concerning the plans of a Muslim group to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Our graphic memories are not fading and this controversy is not going away. I expect that  even after the affair is settled it will remain as a contentious matter. Today, however, it occurred to me that there is one point of view that I have not seen discussed: that of the reactions of patriotic citizens.

Surely, the members of this group are U.S. citizens and as such shouldn’t they share our outrage over the attack on our nation? As citizens, don’t they understand that the attack was meant to be a slap in the face to the United States and all that it represents. It was meant to show disrespect: it was an act of hate and a disregard for life. As citizens, shouldn't they have felt outraged at the attack.  And however unfortunate or unfair it may be that their name is connected to the attackers, that will not change. It was a confusing situation. 

 In the minds of many, rightly or wrongly,  it is that association that is making the building of the mosque so near ground zero an act that insults the memories of lost lives and reflects the the attackers' hate and disrespect of our nation. As  citizens, natural born or naturalized, how can this group disregard the insult and injury our country suffered? How can they not feel the pain of the loss of life? Why do they not realize that their planned building appears to be another slap in the face?

I would hope that those who choose to live in our country and enjoy its freedoms and benefits, would also share our injuries and losses. If they accept this nation as theirs, how can it be otherwise?

There must be other sites; ones that have no disquieting memories, ones that reflect peace and calm instead of discord. How else can this controversy end without continuing conflict?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Question

A question occurred to me while writing the Rationing blog: What would be the reaction today to such a restriction? A reader commented along the same line.

There are great differences in the generations of the 1940's and that of today's generation lifestyle and expectations. The “Silent Generation” of those years had endured the difficulties of the depression years; in fact, the nation was not fully recovered making the citizens accustomed to continued hardships.

1932-getting ready for work >

In President Roosevelt’s efforts to remedy the problems that created the depression, had passed laws that were extremely controlling, and although there was grumbling and even a few Supreme Court reversals, there was no widespread coverage and discussions of the pros and cons. At that time, there was not a continuous media coverage of each day’s happenings, nor were our leaders' qualification continually under scrutiny.
Today, we have a society used to many comfort: Running water, light at the flip of a switch, refrigerated food, and cars that purr instead of chug. We also have almost continuous TV coverage of events and issues, compared to the meager radio and newspaper coverage of 68 years ago.

What would create such a necessity? How would we react? How would we cope? What other restrictions would be necessary under such conditions? Would someone start a “Bread Party” in protest, or would we tighten our belts and show the grit that built this nation?
Like Scarlet O’Hara, in Gone With the Wind, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

1928 swimming party in water storage tank