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Archive for November, 2016

What shall we do?

I need to work on a new book, prepare a statement for court where I will testify against two people who tried to rob me at knife point, wash laundry and clean my house. I can do none of that, can’t concentrate on any of it, because my head is spinning from all the politics, the hatred, the debates, the firebombing and the meanness which people are throwing at other people. I have to write about that instead.

We are trapped in a moment in our history where it seems we all hate each other; name-calling, fighting, and threating others. How did we get here? Here, in what is arguably the greatest country in the world, how have we devolved to this behavior? I have pondered that for quite some time now.

I live in the south, but I have voted Democrat in every election but one. If you live in Tennessee it was the election between Alexander and Butcher. I wouldn’t vote for Lamar today but back then it was a choice between a nice guy and a serious criminal. I won’t apologize for it.

I own a gun, in fact, my husband and I own several. I am pro-choice, a feminist, mostly against the death penalty, hate racism, not terribly politically correct, a non-Christian, small business owner, and born and raised in the South. Possibly an anomaly.

I live in a large city in the South, Nashville. We have our problems with drugs, and crime, and traffic. But, most of us who want to work can find a job. So why are so many Southerners so angry with the system in which we live they are willing to listen to the Trumps, the Colters and even Rudy? I believe the answer has many layers.

When you look at a map of how people are voting, you see blue in the big cities, the coastal areas and red damn near everywhere else. In the cities, we don’t think much about the heartland, most of us couldn’t find Kansas on a map. They are out there somewhere, but we are unaffected by the others who live in far off places. We have our jobs, places to shop, cable, comfortable places to sleep, restaurants and things to keep us occupied.

In many of the far off places, many people don’t have many of those things. All across this country we have lost jobs. Manufacturing has closed down, packed up and moved to the other side of the world where they can pay people .30 an hour and not have to worry about safety concerns and if the whole damn factory burns to the ground and everybody dies they just move to the next town. In other words where the owners can treat the workers like slaves and there are no repercussions. But, that is a blog for another day.

Many small towns all across America are one industry towns. Be it the aluminium plant, the tractor factory, the textile mill, coal mining; steel mill, the list goes on and on. For decades these businesses have closed and left the resident without jobs, without pay and without hope. Do you wonder why meth is rampant in the small towns and rural areas? There is nothing else to do and there is no hope. Factory jobs allowed people to live a middle class life and have a home, and cars, and food on the table. That is just not true anymore. These people have been left behind and they feel like no one cares or understands. They watch their children move away to get jobs in the city and wonder what will become of them. So yes, they are fearful. They see the news and believe foreigners are coming here to take their jobs. They are angry. Yes they cling to their God, and their guns because they don’t know what else to do. And no one has had an answer for them, until now.

Trump and the Republican party has an answer, elect us and we will make America great again. The illegals are coming to take your jobs, rape your women and rob you, but we can make that not happen, we will build a wall, deport millions and put the white people back in charge of this country. Oh and while we are at it, put the women back in their place, and the blacks, and the gays too.

When you are fearful, someone who appears strong can be seen as a savior. There are too many examples in history which prove this point. However it has never turned out well for the population. These would be saviors just want power and money and the status quo will remain, despite the many promises made on the campaign trail. These people draw on the fears and bitterness of people and stir them up to irrational behavior. They play to their audience. Look at what we have right now, people hating anyone who is not white, beatings, death threats and worse. I lived through the 60’s and I never want to see such horrors again, but we are headed there. How do we change this?

First we have to understand people have legitimate fears and concerns. People are being marginalized and ignored. This pisses them off and rightly so. When someone ignores you doesn’t it make you mad? How about if your entire way of life and belief system was ignored, ridiculed and scoffed at by others. In order to create real change you have to stand in the other fella’s shoes for a minute and see how they feel. What if you had worked for the same company where all your neighbors worked for since you were 18 years old. You got married and bought a house and had children and life rocked along pretty good. Oh sure you didn’t have a Starbucks but you had a diner where people gathered. Everybody went to the same Christian churches. Everyone went to the same schools and on game night everyone turned out. There was a 4th of July parade and you all turned out to honor the flag and the country. Life was pretty good.

Then one day the factory announced it was closing and moving to some place you never heard of and you were out of a job. Then imagine there were no other places to work in your town. How would you pay the mortgage, the car note and put groceries on the table? See there are the real life problems of people who don’t live in the big cities. We see them with their “Make America Great” hats, and their anger at non-whites, the violence at political rallies, and their gun toting and we write them off as crazy people. But they are not crazy, they are scared. You would be too.

What can we do to solve this problem? First we demand, in writing, from our legislators that anyone who moves their factory overseas be penalized. The owners will have to pay import fees on all the products brought into this country just like any foreign-owned business. We need to take the profit out of manufacturing over seas. While we’re about it, let’s do the same to any company which ships their IT jobs overseas too. Let’s make it harder for them.

We can offer tax incentives for companies who want to build factories in this county, but they have to build their new factories in places which are the hardest hit with financial woes, where the unemployment is the lowest. Not just in the rural areas but in the cities where unemployment for some segments of the population is 50%; places like Flint, St. Louis and Chicago. Nashville doesn’t need any factories, but Ferguson sure does.

On a local level, demand shop and home-ec classes be reinstated to the high schools. A life course where they are taught how to dress for job interviews, balance a checkbook, and live on a budget would be a great addition. Find ways to make college and trade schools free if the student keeps a 3.0 grade average. Demand that history, real history and civics and government be taught as well. Let’s engage the next generartion in the process of our country. Let’s get rid of Core and stop teaching our kids to pass tests and let’s really teach them how to live.

So turn off the TV and start writing letters, sending emails and making phone calls to the people you have elected. Let’s drown them with our anger and frustration.

The next step is harder. Look for products made in this country, yes there are still some. Buy American made whenever possible and I know that is a challenge, but I beleive we are up for it. We move out of comfort zone of cheap products made by children in some god-saken part of the world and buy the products from our own factories. Shop local. Do you know that when you buy from a locally owned shop or farm, most of the money stays in your community? That’s a bonus. Believe me when you hurt the pocket of the bigs guys, they will pay attention. It will take time. But it is time for us to take our country back from politicians and manufacturers who only want money, and control.  It won’t be easy.

It is time to get to the root of the problem, not just throw angry words at each other. Bernie, whether you hate him or love him, has made a clarion call to this country. We need to take the movement he has started and make real improvements, not take sides against each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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