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Chatterbox: Impatient pressure


Politics is a topic few know well; discussing it makes me jittery, but the state of our nation and our planet does too, even more so. Anyone who isn’t concerned about the condition of our planet, our country, our leadership, and the future of the people of this nation, all nations, and this planet, may be missing the situations that have the greatest impact on all of us as a world civilization.

It’s humanly impossible for anyone to be involved in everything, or completely involved in anything. It’s also human nature to ignore overwhelming situations that seem too huge to tackle. Sometimes, we just feel, or know, we’re non-influential, under-informed or overpowered. Sometimes, out of our hesitancy, we convince ourselves the situation isn’t really dangerous enough for us to confront. If apathy or denial would make a bad situation disappear, we’d all be in good shape, but fighting for positive change in government policies is all we have, and personal preferences or prejudices cannot alter what changes must come.

Life is difficult in America for more people every day; that’s the reality whether or not we acknowledge it. Too many people are struggling. We have discussed homelessness, the working homeless and personal bankruptcy. America’s disappearing middle class, lower middle incomers, and our financially challenged are working harder for less, despite the fight to improve minimum wage and we’ve discussed corporate influence in these arenas before. So, why is there no improvement in America’s general financial health?

Many of us wish we could get a better idea of what happens to the prosperity among the general public. We may try to understand the purposely embrangled functions, policies and regulations of the nation’s processes, but these political influences intentionally keep the public confused, misinformed, definitely divided, and possibly disinterested.

Decisions made by some of our leaders – or their backers – affect us all. It’s harsh to say we’re being lied to, but it’s true. We must discern the truth for ourselves, look at the processes, and advocate for the good of our nation as a whole. Sure, our leadership doesn’t always hear us. (I tried calling my local representative and battled a runaround reminiscent of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”) We must unseat the incumbents who fail us, and vote for those who represent common sense, disclosure, sensible compromise, progress and hope that important change will come and remain permanently.

We’ve talked about taxes and perks; Americans at large aren’t getting the slice of the pie they earn. Power and wealth finds a way to turn any progress into its own profit. The dual income household, which was supposed to give average people an advantage, has been manipulated from an advantage to a necessity, benefiting the powerful … as so much eventually does. Briefly, the second income nudged average folks financially forward. Now, the extra income, like most any small perk Americans manage, has gone from an advantage to a necessity. Children are in costly day care, before-school care, after-school care, or going home alone with a key and an emergency plan. Working harder, the people gain little, especially after the expenses attached to actually going to work are assessed.

Sure, there are exceptions; they prove the rule. There are, also, those who manage, pare down, do with less or do without. Tiny houses, minimalism and going “off the grid” are gaining popularity. Some of us hope these methods cut into the big guys’ ever growing piece of our pie, and the planetary benefits are even better. Still, the sacrifices are being made.

Yes, around the world, many situations are worse, but when we advertise America as “best,” it should be “best,” and our leadership should be as well. This issue is pretty long in the tooth. We need to elect the politicians who aren’t mincing words, caving into wealth, or playing to the power. We need to look at the nations that are, right now, doing it better, getting it right. We’re grateful, of course, but never complacent.

The American pie is large enough for all needs to be met, but our distribution of wealth is rigged. Unless we fix that immediately and finally, we’ll never solve any problems of this nation, or the world. Time’s running out for us … and for everyone.

Chatterbyte: I would like to thank the reader from Doylestown who sent me the book in response to my column of Feb. 9, Missing Pieces; it was much appreciated. Thank you for your support of Chatterbox.