It Takes Citizen Participation to Save the Country

| July 2 2014
The Hot Spot

It is time to celebrate Independence Day when the United States became free from the shackles of an English King and began a type of government that was new and provided opportunity and a sense of freedom for most. The big smudge on the Declaration of Independence and Constitution was the abomination of slavery. It took more than a half century and a Civil War to make this truly a free country.

Even then, there were great inequities for those who suffered under the unjust and unfair conditions placed on the freed slaves. They were no longer owned, but were not really free. Generations of not being educated and not given real opportunities in the South, made life difficult for those of African descent to truly enjoy what America was supposed to be.

Southern politicians enacted the Jim Crow Laws that created real discrimination against the African Americans. It took almost a century for them to realize the freedoms that belonged to them under the Constitution and Civil Rights laws. No doubt that the Constitution was not enough protection to defeat discrimination. It took amendments to the Constitution and a huge shift of attitudes by politicians to allow all people to play on a level field. There is still work to be done in this area.

The political scene changed since the country gained its independence. We fought wars outside of our country with Mexico, the Spanish American War, World Wars One and Two, Korea, Viet Nam and the current ones in the Middle East. For whatever reason, it seems Americans not only fought our battles, but the battles for other countries as well. Many of the countries did not and do not appreciate the fact that Americans gave their lives and resources to keep them from being conquered.

Americans are known for their generosity. When we defeated Germany and Japan in World War II, we gave our resources to rebuild their country and then we found that they would use the aid to built a strong economy. Our allies in other countries did the same with our foreign aid and trade agreements.

People in some European and Asian countries could make products cheaper than could be made in America and the politicians allowed American companies to ship jobs overseas to take advantage of the lower wages. Consequently, many jobs left the United States and put Americans out of work. Brocton Massachusetts was a well-known area for the manufacture of shoes. It no longer is a manufacturing center. Most clothes we wear are made in foreign countries as are so many of the products we use.

Electronics are an excellent example of why good paying jobs are scarce on our side of the oceans. China became a real competitor when it came to products from toys to tools. The money Americans spend to buy products comes back in the form of loans that our government depends on to run the country. Our politicians have no problem spending money.

We have entered wars we can’t afford to maintain and we allow illegal aliens to enter the country and actually support them in spite of the fact that we can’t afford that, either. We have been the world’s policemen when countries have been invaded and have bailed out other countries using money we have borrowed. It is difficult to justify the “logic” of these actions.

The liberals have succeeded in shifting the attitudes of the past with guilt and political correctness leading the way. Morality has changed since the ringing of the Liberty Bell and actions formerly frowned upon are now considered cool and normal. The entertainment industry had had a huge effect on determining what is “normal” and “acceptable.” People have become more accepting of the loss of rights and privacy. The government is taking advantage of the people’s apathy and indifference.

As the country progressed political attitudes changed as well. The focus was diverted from good government to power and money. Political campaigns are determined by how much money a candidate can raise. As a result, we often don’t get “the best government money can buy.”

Some cynics think the country is sliding downhill at an alarming rate and heavily criticize the debt that can’t be paid off unless a future generation comes up with a solution. Which generation? Hard to say when the numbers are in the trillions.

America is still a great country with much to celebrate, but it is up to the people to make better choices in elections and vote for principles instead of a political party. They should actually do enough research on candidates to look for performance instead of promises. The old saying of “talk is cheap” has a spin in politics to “believing the talk of some can be very expensive.” Vote to save your country for another century or two.

Budd Schroeder
Buffalo, NY

1 comments
DanTurner1
DanTurner1

Fantastic article. You speak the truth in the statement that, " The government is taking advantage of the people’s apathy and indifference." For America to survive as a nation, the key ingredient in obtaining that survival is citizens getting "off the couch", get informed at what the government is doing and then finding some role to fulfill in making it happen. I feel if we have time to stare at out iPads and computers, keep abreast of our favorite and latest reality tv program, we have the time to get educated about how we can fix America. We're too spoiled and apathetic these days and rely too much on the government to solve all the nations problems.