Approval And Apathy Are A Deadly Mix

By Carl H. Tannert Jr.

Many Americans watch the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots with either approval or apathy. Most do nothing as they allow our nation to continue its downward spiral. Most watch silently as American leaders and American citizens become the most distrusted on the planet. We the people, for some strange reason, seem to condone the fact that too many of us meekly suffer the results of a minority-engineered system that proliferates inadequate pay, unfair taxation, non-existent health insurance, environmental abuse, unsafe workplaces, and an atmosphere of fear and human abuse. Our failure as a nation; as a people, is glossed over with a thin veneer of woefully inadequate social services. How long before the masses, now enduring the social and economic inequities of separate systems of job opportunity, tax burden and justice, awaken to the fact that they have been betrayed by an amoral, unconscionable minority? Platitudes and myths like trickle down economy and trust corporations to do the right thing are tiresome and false. We the people need to assert ourselves if we want to prevent this great nation, under God, to survive as our founding fathers hoped..

People who do not learn from the past are sure to endure repeat performances. Most of us want to be good and do good. When paying attention, and becoming involved in community life, we reflect the true power of America. We are, as a people, usually generous, caring and happy in improving the lives of the less fortunate. I do not know why we are drifting so far apart, but history shows what happens when too many people become subjected to inequities; when, stripped of hope for a better future, they simply react to the condition in which they find themselves.

Very few Americans remember the race riots of 1919. Many recall the terror of the 1960’s. Both were triggered more by economic disparity and injustice than by race. Tragically, we seem unaware that history does repeat itself.



The following is from PBS’s Thematic Window: Urban Decay in the 1960’s. "… at the same time, manufacturers -- now with the ability to ship their products more easily -- could build new plants outside of cities and in areas of the country were labor was cheaper, such as the South [CHT: now it’s Mexico, China and India] This de-industrialization hurt those who relied on relatively good-paying, secure, and low-skilled jobs. For the cities of the North and Midwest, this burden fell particularly hard on the more than 2.75 million African-Americans who migrated from the South to the North between 1940 and 1960. Discrimination -- explicit and in more subtle forms -- also kept African-Americans in poorer neighborhoods with poorer schools, out of the best jobs, and without the loans and mortgages necessary to improve one's home or move to a new area [CHT: sound familiar?]".

With our current national mindset, we the people can expect little else, unless we awaken to reality and utilize our collective voting power to send honest men and women to Congress. Imagine what a difference human beings, armed with little more than integrity, and a desire to restore the basic decency of the American people, would make in a Congress unfettered by corrupting campaign dollars and arcane rules of procedure. We have it within our power to accomplish whatever we wish if, indeed, we want reform and a better way of life for ourselves and our children. Together, we can restore the American Dream and regain the world’s respect.

I fear that the proliferation of corrupting campaign contributions, the dirty-tricks mentality of the Democrat and Republican National Committees, the abandonment of truth by media puppets, and our own prejudices, will soon destroy America’s once strong, middle class backbone. Without it; without our own decent paying factory jobs; and without the pride and skills of the American worker, we all will live to see an even more serious decline the American Dream. I do not enjoy the prospect of meeting fellow Americans, just like you, on a near-future breadline or in some obscure funeral parlor.

We already have one foot through the looking glass and are about to join Alice in her modern Wonderland.where unjust double standards are a reality; where only lip service is given to the poor. Sure, Republicans are now in charge, but who cares. If the Democrats were in power, it would probably be just as bad, given their track record. We are a nation in trouble and unless we the people can come together and changes the system and force our representatives to become honest, caring politicians with some modicum of common sense and decency, we’ll all wind up together … at the bottom of the spiral.

Make no mistake, we are spinning downward. In our decaying social, economical, environmental and political condition, we have succeeded in replacing compassion with greed and have eliminated the Golden Rule from everything but the mouths of insincere politicos. As a politician, Red or Blue, it’s good press to publicly declare, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," even if your mind is thinking, "Hello you smiling suckers, I’ve got mine and intend to get more … anyway I can!"

Our factory workers (what’s left of them) toil in unsafe and poisoned atmospheres, especially in our Southern and Southwestern border states, while the rest of us exist in fear of eating and drinking contaminated food and water, We are even forced to breathe in unfit air, unless you believe the fairy-tale ads run by energy companies that show the very pristine natural settings that they are consistently and relentlessly destroying.

Many caring, church-going individuals suffer attacks of paranoia just thinking about gay marriage, yet they perceive today’s unholy union of Church and State as a blessing from their own, personal almighty. In the next breath, however, they condone actions that kill, maim and cause injustice. They have abandoned many of the teachings of Jesus and allow injustice to grow in our society. If they are the best of our society, I wonder what we can expect from the average man in the street?

A US Congress, made up mostly of millionaires and lawyers, steadfastly refuses to submit to meaningful campaign reform. They are paralyzed by any thought of losing their life-style-sustaining corporate bribes and we the people, caught in society’s downward spiral (fueled by our own lack of facts and moral pretence), seem to have accepted the fact that today’s Politicos and CEOs must lie, cheat and steal to survive in their business world. A sad commentary on our society.

It seems strange that in the history of man we still have not found a way to deal with our own petty jealousies, racial hatred and religious paranoia. It seems unbelievable that mankind’s greed and ignorance is allowing a beautiful world to be subjected to destruction by a few greedy minority interests. Perhaps the good people of Knox County can accommodate each other long enough to bring prosperity and equal justice for all back into our community. What do you think?

I would like to hear from you. First, what can we do to improve the lives of every Knox County citizen? Second, how can we clean up a corrupt Congress? You may contact Carl Tannert by e-mail at CTANNERT2000@YAHOO.COM. or by writing to him C/O The Zephyr.