Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Coming Together

Robert Downes - February 2nd, 2009
Talk about bad timing.
When Rush Limbaugh states his wish that President Barack Obama’s policies fail, he might as well desire that millions of Americans be laid off. Of course rich talk-show hosts are unlikely to experience the anguish of unemployment, but it seems astonishing that anyone could hope for more suffering by his countrymen.
Is Limbaugh also hoping that Obama is a failure as Commander-in-Chief, leading to unnecessary deaths of our troops? If Rush really feels this way, he must be enjoying attempts to sabotage bi-partisan efforts by our lawmakers that might relieve the pain of Americans unemployed and not covered by health insurance.
No one, including Obama and Limbaugh, knows for sure what, if anything, the government can do to fix the economy. Yet, we only need to flash back a couple of generations to discover the short-term solution for helping Americans who are hurting financially.
During the 1930s, the Great Depression ravaged the United States and global economy far beyond what we are currently experiencing. By the peak of the Depression, 11,000 of the 25,000 banks in the United States had failed. 25 percent of Americans were unemployed compared to less than 10 percent unable to find work today. The average household income dropped by 40 percent between 1929 and 1932.
Still, the impact of such economic crises goes far beyond a stack of dire statistics. Many of us recall or have relatives who have strong memories of surviving the Great Depression era.
During that time, my dad’s family took in two children left homeless by the sudden death of a co-worker. My grandparents didn’t think twice about raising these young children and opening their home to others in need.
My mother is old enough to remember that her grandparents lost all of their life savings by bank failure during that period. Not long afterward her grandfather died, forcing his wife (and daughter) to move in with another family as a full-time housekeeper. A little later, my mother’s parents took in her recently divorced uncle who was recuperating from a leg being amputated. While he recovered, the six other family members slept in the home’s only other bedroom.
Bottom line - there was no government safety net for financially distressed families during the Great Depression. There were stimulus programs that helped put people back to work over a period of years, but in the interim most people pooled their resources to help each other survive until the good times returned.
Today, we can’t expect politicians to bail us out of our financial problems. Even the president stated that government is not the ultimate answer. He implored us in front of the largest gathering in Washington D.C. history that “we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America.”
Immediately after September 11, 2001, virtually everyone stood behind our president, George W. Bush, in unity. The current economic crisis, too, is not a time for divisiveness or to wish failure on anyone.
The moment has come, again, to pull together as Americans. Sometimes we forget that life isn’t all about money and possessions - which come and go. I believe my mother when she tells me, “People are the important thing.”
 
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