Thursday, May 15, 2008

American Values?

Senator Barack Obama and former vice-presidential candidate John Edwards stood on a platform today and spoke of change that went to the very roots of America.

It got me thinking of what American values really are. The current administration of GW Bush would have us believe that Americans do not want to work and so we must have the illegal immigrants which sneak into this country work for us. If we don't want to work how is it we get the money to pay for these undocumented workers to work for us?

Nobody answers that question but I have heard that we are lazy and just want to live off welfare or worker's compensation often. I heard it just recently from a man that used to own a restaurant near here. And you hear it from the owners of the resort as the reason they import temporary workers every year to run the ski lifts.

But a trip by the post office bulletin board always yields a wide number of locals that are willing to split firewood, clear trash, do odd jobs, shovel snow, put up fence. . .just about anything you want done. But the unspoken message here is "for cash." And more and more Americans are quitting their jobs and starting small businesses where "they will get back what they put into it."

So maybe the message here is not that us Yanks do not want to work but that we want to get somewhere if we work. We don't want to receive a paycheck where a third of our wage is already gone to taxes. And we are a bit upset with working for companies at 6.25 per hour for 39 hours with no paid days off or holidays or health insurance while the CEO is making millions - literally millions. And if he chooses to not work he has a golden parachute worth more than the highest prize on the lottery.

Maybe it is not that we don't want to work but that we are tired of the disparity between the haves and have nots in this country. Tired of working hard and getting nowhere. And hearing that the money being paid into Social Security will not be there to take out for very much longer. Tired of hearing that if you get wounded in Iraq you have to fight for care and disability benefits. Tired of paying through the nose for gas to go to a job where we will maybe not earn what it took to fill the tank. Tired of not being able to afford to miss a day of work let alone health care. Tired of paying $100 for a doctor's visit where he could not remember our name and only stayed in the same room for six minutes.

And just how long do you all think it will take the illegal immigrants to get just as sick and tired of it once they are legal citizens and can gripe like the rest of us. So then do we import (or allow to sneak in) more illegal immigrants? Do we continue to export jobs Americans will not do to foreign countries so they can make goods which are bad and which we will not be able to afford because there are no jobs here any more but hauling trash, or shoveling snow, or cleaning the stables?

So if we are going to change things down at the base and not just up at the top let's start with giving American's jobs they will want to work at. Let's take corporate profits and not give it all to the CEO but let some of it trickle down to the workers that made the company profitable. Let's give Americans health care and good schools and bridges that don't collapse on them.

And those pork barrel projects that McCain wants to eliminate. Some of them are bridges. And they all are not in Alaska. And to get those bridges built you need to hire workers. Here. You cannot outsource the building of a bridge to China. So let's build bridges. Rebuild the railroad system so we have other ways of travel besides airplanes and our gas guzzling SUV's. Let's build factories to manufacture solar panels and wind generators that we can all afford to install on our homes and cut energy costs. Let's pork barrel America up to her former glory. And we can afford it if we let Iraq rebuild its own country with its oil reserves.

And bring our troops back to our soil and give them all the medical care they need. And resupply all our National Guard Depots with the equipment they need to fight against fires and snowstorms and clean up after hurricanes and tornadoes. That is the American values I love.