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Chatterbox: A worker day tale


Recently I saw an old movie for the first time; it was flawed.

Still, for all the wrong reasons, it reminds us to be cautious of the character we are building in our young people, what we are teaching them to stand for, fall for and how to evaluate the price their future should take on others.

The fact that a Hollywood script writer can describe better leadership than many of our own leaders today display, is a sad statement about our state of affairs, but power is highly seductive and can make us heady. Once garnered it must be either perpetuated or replaced by wealth. We are left with a leadership tempted, for reasons that are self-serving, to remain in power or to enter the revolving door between Capitol Hill and the world of corporate lobbying/corporate leadership. How do we get the same legislators who will use such power, to legislate against such power?

Great wealth, those with it and the cloistered deals made by the ego-massaging, self-serving members of groups and monopolies have always played a ruling hand in America and her development. However, once upon a time, great legislation and great courage from men with principle and character regulated that runaway freight train into a slower pace that was still very financially advantageous to them yet still fair and beneficial to the workers and American progress. It catapulted us into a thriving economy.

Greed has cost all of us all of that. Our jobs go overseas, our people go impoverished, and our solubility just goes. Too much of our powerful leadership is focused on personal goals and gains. Their benefactors are they who also already have too much but will stop at nothing to harness greater financial gain.

Last night I listened to former workers, now unemployed, of Carrier, the U.S. manufacturer, mostly of air conditioners but some other equipment and parts in Indiana. It’s a complicated, murky story but when it’s your job that has literally “gone South,” the details are irrelevant and the lies sting more.

Conversely, today, I found a card enclosed in the packaging of a new baseball bat made in America … yes, made in America … by a company called Phoenix Bats. The card said, “Hey, we made you a good bat …” Between the two of these U.S. manufacturing stories lives heartbreak, the heartbreak that is our reigning corporate regime. Its power grows darker and deeper daily and, despite any particulars, none of us must ever deny, ignore, or underestimate its very direct, negative impact on most of America.

Our Constitution literally guarantees us the right to earn a decent wage. The American people want to work. We always have. Almost all of us, or our ancestors, faced uncertainty and risked everything to start a new life in a strange land. We dared to try, exhibited tenacity, demonstrated effort and we herald an unspoiled sense of greatness in the simplest of accomplishments. We aren’t the meek. We endured.

With a good work ethic and pride, Americans have produced. Consider this: there was a time in our recent history when our leadership considered isolationism – and we weren’t afraid of it. We needed no one. We produced most of our own necessities and great percentages of the world’s as well.

During World War II, we geared up like flash paper. We needed no one and nothing. We made America a force to be reckoned with on every front, and the world watched us grow.

Why, since then, have we allowed big business seeking blockbuster profits to slowly bore into what’s good for America and dig their heels in so deep? Why, especially, has the equitable “good for the people/good for American business,” strength and power been sucked out of our national productivity?

We are being made powerless by tapeworm conglomerates and our leadership remains gutless, while they pink slip us into the very dependency they refuse to support. They sentence hard workers to a life of medical uncertainty and homelessness, when we would rather be working, earning a decent wage, and living an independent life we can be proud of.

We continue to wait and hope while they promise us the moon, then profit obscenely while smugly handing us our walking papers while getting huge tax absolution and even incentive millions to go abroad with our jobs – and do so with the assistance of so many elected officials.

How much farther will it go before it’s too late to take back our nation?