Saturday, August 29, 2009

Angry Americans...part 2

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
(Thomas Jefferson)

I have been making some written and mental notes since my original blog on the subject "Angry Americans" back in March. This was written back when the government bailouts were still somewhat fresh in the memories of most Americans. Since then we have seen more light shed on a number of these issues. We have seen the stock market rise almost 23% since that blog was written and America's attention has now been diverted to the "Healthcare" reform debate and proposed bill. The story...and the anger...continues to become cloudier as things progress without real alternatives to discuss.

The core of the political discussions/battles continue to be between big government proponents like most of Congress with assent from the executive administration...and the growing resentment of the average citizen, many of whom are finally waking up to the facts of their country's economic demise and loss of international clout. The squeeze is on and it is mostly being felt by the average "Joe" citizen. The losses of jobs, homes and bank failures continue to profligate, while "somehow" the investors and markets are "rebounding". The Fed and others are already announcing the recession as "over". I just shake my head in wonder. Is it obvious to anyone else that this is pure socialization of private losses while the gains are only registered by those private concerns?

These announcements amaze me because this month Colonial Bank and four others in the USA failed. While the DOW is up over 20% in the last 3 months...the fundamentals are just not there to support that rise...meaning pure emotion is driving the only good news in the marketplace. I guess the announcement by GM that they can now produce a car by 2011 that gets over 240 miles to the gallon should also spur hope that America's ingenuity has returned. Personally it is just another maddening...yes, angry...point to make about America's situation. It is amazing what can be done when everyone agrees it should be so...or it is a matter of survival. But, as long as everyone remains comfortable with the "status quo", innovation and creativity are just not of interest in the marketplace. This alone should have Americans seething in general at the the corporate and government powers that FINALLY get it.

Americans are also angry about the loss of jobs both to foreign countries and in many cases to foreigners grabbing jobs in the USA. In my view, Americans are displacing their anger in this regard. Instead of being angry at the foreigners or the companies that hire them, they should be angry at the educational system and lazy consumerism ideals which have caused much of our populace to be undereducated and seemingly unmotivated. There are many statistics available that demonstrate how far our system and a majority of our youth are falling behind in education compared to many foreign countries. The MTV generation has been "dumbed-down" to a perilous condition which may take 2-3 more generations to turn around. Many American companies are forced to hire qualified foreigners for key or technical positions because they cannot find enough qualified Americans to do them...or cannot pay the expected pay levels for mediocrity and still compete in the global markets.

I must interject here that we can't just blame the "educators". The deeper root to the education dilemma is the loss of leadership and parenthood in the home. The poor are having more babies than the "rich". And our system rewards that behavior. The more babies a poor family has (usually single parent/unwed mothers), the more public assistance there is for that family. If so much government money is spent on feeding and clothing those families in poverty, there is less left over for educating them and lifting them out of poverty. On this issue you have two extreme sides to American anger. The "haves" are angry that so much of their tax money is distributed as entitlement to the poor...and the poor are angry at not only the hopeless conditions many of them were born into, but also at the lack of opportunity offered them because of where they live, what color their skin is, or their age. Let's face it, American society is still full of discrimination based on race, age, sex and religion. That brews a lot of anger and resentment at all levels.

Many Americans have also had it with a Congress and the Executive office in government that continues to pursue tax and health plans that are arguably unconstitutional and overstep the role of government. In addition, these same "leaders" are not willing to fall under the same rules and health plans as they are trying to force on the rest of the Americans. This privileged mentality and claim to "diplomatic immunity" among world government leaders is sickening to the core. Graft, corruption, pay offs, PACs, and lobbying organizations all contribute to an atmosphere of impurity in government to where hardly anyone respects their leadership anymore. After decades of disappointment in the morals of our leaders (starting with Viet Nam and Watergate, on to CIA cover-ups in the "Contra Affair", Guantanamo and elsewhere, multiple undeclared wars, and including the Clinton-Lewinsky lies and cover-ups)...I think many Americans have become numb to the morality issues of their elected leaders. Now the only thing that matters to many Americans is what entitlements they can get from the government so they don't have to take care of themselves. As long as government gives them "stuff", they really don't care about morality or the issues. For those of us Americans who value our freedom and independence, this causes us great anger and discomfort. Democracy in America is dying...and some of us are damned angry about it!

On my most recent trip home to the USA, I talked to many friends who are waking up to some of these realities. No longer do people blanketly trust that there will be social security and pension funds waiting for them at the "end of the rainbow". Many are angry that the Federal Government bailed out the bad loan banks and financial companies, but not the people who depend on those mortgages to put a roof over their heads. Many of us believe that the trillions in bailout money would have better supported the economy and the "people" if they had gone directly to support keeping roofs over American's heads than rewarding bad business decisions of government cronies. Alas...we see and are angry at the motivations and lack of concern by the government for the average American.

Anger can be good, bad or a little of both. Anger is bad if it blinds us to reason or responsible actions that can be taken to counteract that which makes us angry. The pure emotion of anger can keep us from thinking clearly. We get so angry we can't even speak or think straight. We can get so angry that we just want to "tear everything down" where in some cases we "throw the baby out with the bathwater".

The kind of anger Americans need is that which brings passion and motivation to make positive change. We need to have just enough anger in order to demand change and punish those who are acting against our best interests. Angry Americans need to unite...not just around their anger, but around ideas and specific plans that will better the American way of life. Americans need to be angry enough to "just say NO" to further taxation without representation and blind spending of our government from the dwindling national coffers. As I think both the Qu'ran and the Bible teach, God is angry and vengeful sometimes...and we are made in "His image".

It's OK to be angry America. Just DO something about it besides bitch and complain.

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