Published: November 7, 2013
Body - Justif
We've become a nation of beggars
A recent Wednesday's mail set a new record at our house. Nine of the ten pieces of mail were from charities and political groups, all asking for donations. Usually we get four or five solicitations three or four times a week. Sometimes we get the same mailer from the same charity three times in a week. Then on top of that, we get two or three telephone solicitations for donations every day. Then there is a plethora of illegal robo-call scams that no one seems to be able to do anything about. Then there are email solicitations for donations. I consider them all scams even if they are not, because I trust nothing that comes over the Internet. We have become a nation of beggars. It is not the same nation I once knew and was proud of.
Straw that broke this camel's back
After having our house burglarized and our car stolen in August, my husband and I are trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy. To that end, I went outside on a Saturday afternoon intending to water the front yard, only to find that someone had taken our garden hose.
Now, I know a garden hose is not a big deal, but it may be the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back. How did our world become a place where more and more people think it is acceptable to simply take things that don't belong to them with no regard for how their actions will affect the people they are stealing from?
I have always been a true believer in the Golden Rule and have tried to see the best in people, but all this has me feeling less trusting, more cynical and, to be honest, a little sad. I want to believe there are still more of "us" than of "them," so I guess we just have to vigilant and watch out for each other.
Some good, 'some not so much'
Many things are going on in this great land, some good and some "not so much." With your permission I wish to speak to one unpleasant thing - the economy. I have no letters after my name, have never been appointed a professorship, and I have never held elective office. I am older now and retired, but I have witnessed the passage of many things.
What is wrong with the economy and does not get the attention it deserves is the practice of outsourcing. It is singularly immoral.
Let me use an example of a man, now 42, who is a Master CNC Machinist making $38 per hour. His whole company just got outsourced to Malaysia. This is a personal tragedy for him and his family. The payroll taxes that were taken out of his check are no longer available as a resource for the state, and in fact, he is now a liability having just signed up for unemployment. So how does this shake out? Twenty percent of his co-workers were able to find work in the trade . for $18 per hour. The other 80 percent will exhaust their unemployment and no doubt end up at Wal-Mart or McDonald's.
But he will also need food stamps to feed his family after losing his home to foreclosure. Multiply this story by millions and millions of lost jobs.
In the late 1970s, I was a "skilled craftsman" in the print industry. One Friday, I was very displeased with the outfit I worked for, told them where they could shove it and walked out. By Monday, I had a new job with a better company with a large increase in wage. Compare those times to now. And that was in the Carter administration, to boot.
But it's the American way, right? As always, the rich are getting richer and can thoughtlessly afford million-dollar diamond baubles for their sweethearts. I guess it qualifies as capitalism and these are the same people who pay for Congress to pass the laws they covet. Although as much as I voice my disapproval, there is no realistic resolve for the problem, and it has gone on well past the point of no return.
Although I will offer a remedy, somewhat tongue in cheek and coming from a point of emotion. If you are a business owner who has outsourced jobs or similarly a CEO, board of directors or a shareholder with greater than one-tenth of 1 percent of stock, you should have your citizenship voided and afforded 60 days to leave the country under threat of arrest. Yeah, a wee bit overboard, I know, but how many millions of lives have been destroyed for your ever-expanding wealth?
Respect for the fallen in battle
I am prompted to write this letter by a picture I saw in The Gazette. It showed a policeman's hat placed on a pair of beat shoes. The intention, no doubt, was to honor a fallen comrade.
This practice derives from a military tradition referred to as the Fallen Soldiers Battle Cross. It is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield for a soldier who has been killed. Made up of the soldier's rifle with bayonet attached stuck into the ground, helmet on top, dog tags sometimes hanging from the rifle and boots of the fallen soldier next to it.
Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The practice started during the American Civil War or maybe earlier, as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before they were removed.
Today, it is an immediate means of showing respect for the fallen among the still living members of a unit and as a means to mourn, as attending a funeral is not always possible for soldiers still in the fight.
While I understand that the use of this military tradition by the organizers of this ceremony was done with the best of intentions, I do not feel it is an appropriate use of the Fallen Soldiers Battle Cross.
Robert E. Mulvaney