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Our System of Government is not Broken:
We have Just Forgotten How to Drive it

By Eric Cox – Special to GCN        Filed 11/18/06

I read a book a number of years ago and it began “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times!” I was quite a bit younger at the time and found it remarkable for it described things I saw going on around me. As I grow older, I find it more and more true everyday.

We are one of the finest superpowers the world has ever seen; yet we find ourselves strapped with keeping up troops, equipment, and other logistical needs. An even worse state for a superpower that has troops embarked around the world – the message to the citizens of this great superpower as to the need and importance of our presence is getting lost in a swirl of debate or what our role in the world should be.

We have the gift of having the world deal in our currency on the economic side of things. Every transaction, less a very small percentage, eventually is consummated in the U.S. Dollar. Yet we have gone from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation in the world. The ability of the middle class and lower income segments of our society are finding that saving money is little more than a dream. The economic engine (small business) of our financial system is finding it more and more difficult to stay in business.

We grew a strong industrial/manufacturing base in this country that rivaled even the mega complexes of Europe. We sustained strong employment and steady growth in wages at good solid well paying professions. Again, we rivaled the world in this ability. Today we see these giant corporations (those that have not already done so) jumping ship to foreign shores taking away parts of our tax base and jobs that are badly needed by American citizens.

As corporations take away the jobs and move off shore the American job landscape is fast moving to sector type of employment. Fast food, discount stores, sales, and like work are the mainstay employment. The growth of personal income has slowed or reversed in every category except for the very top paid who are the very engineers of the exodus. Lower wages and investment for greater profits are the logic.

We are a nation of immigrants and what a fantastic form of government we have all contributed to. Today I see so much divisive rhetoric driven at coming up with labels for people who take positions that do not line up with our personal opinion of how it ought to be. Have we become so insecure in what we believe that we can no longer stand on its merits without having to personally degenerate those who have differing opinions? It would appear so.

Then the other immigration problem that brings our enemies to our shores to wreck some harm on us weighs on us more and more. It has always been possible for these foreign soldiers to enter our country. It just never has been to their advantage to do so before.  We are now giving away civil liberties away for some misconception of safety. This in the freest nation in the world.

Liberal and conservative are ways of thought and action. Believe it or not, a person can be liberal with sharing his wealth while be conservative to ensure the fund remains stable so it might continue the good work. Liberal and conservative are positions just left and right of center (or norm). While it is true that the norm might vary from generation to generation left and right would float along with it keeping the same relative spacing. Today the norm floats and it seems that the right and the left move further away from each other as well.

We have to deal with each other as individuals and respect the opinion and beliefs that make them who they are.  With being able to hide our identities behind the Internet we are seeing the attacks on individuals growing. Things that would never be said if one had to identify who they were before saying it. Most discussions seen today quickly degenerates into name calling and assassination at best. Little on the topic is ever put out.

We are a generous nation with billions going to aid overseas nations. Yet we are ready to destruct our internal programs designed to help people in need.  Too much corruption it is said.  Maybe we are not ensuring that the administrators are doing their jobs. In our society today (as in past cultures) the haves had better ensure that some crumbs come off the table to the have-nots. It does not matter if you like it or not it is a matter of self-preservation. Most all wars have been fought because a group has been denied the basic necessities. ‘This is the price of prosperity and every nation has to practice it at some level.

It is said that the American work force has gotten lazy, but I disagree. It has got to be compensated at a fair wage that one can live and raise a family on. American business is importing workers to get even cheaper labor on the American job sites. Talk about terrorism in its’ purest form I call this economic terrorism.

Now they are even taking the service sector jobs off shore for cheaper labor. Now that is getting cheap down to a science. The only thing better about being out sourced in a poor job versus a good one is that it does not equate to a large a loss.

Tell me the inmates are not running the asylum. These are but a few things I hope we entertain dialog on and find the solutions and common ground to befit all citizens of this great nation.

I maintain our system ain’t broke, we just don’t know how to drive it.


About the Author

Eric Cox is a Biloxi resident and retired from Bell South. He was also active in the Communications Workers of America Union for 40 years with work in Human Resources, Labor Relations, Contract Negotiations, Contract Administration, Medical Plan Design, Implementation and administration. He also served as a Local President for 25+ years with Local 3519 on the Gulf Coast.

Eric can be emailed at: edcox2@yahoo.com

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