January 4, 2014
I read Jerry Lewis of Harrells’ Dec. 31 letter “On the verge of destruction” and, as a result, compared life as I knew it 60 years ago to now.
I remember greens from our winter garden and hog killing, when relatives, neighbors and friends joined in to help. I remember how hard farm people like my family worked for so little monetary reward. I remember how much my father’s workers appreciated the little he could pay, and how far we all stretched the little we had, yet how much we enjoyed each other rather than the material things we could not afford. I remember bags of fruit at Christmas, and a couple of inexpensive toys, rather than the expensive toys we dreamed of as we turned the pages of the Sears “wishbook.” I remember my father carrying his farm-workers’ children to the movies with us, and sitting far enough forward in the theatre that we could wave at them in the balcony.
Above all, I remember when all of the able-bodied people I knew worked, because work was available.
I remember 50 years ago, when my sister and I waved at friends our age working in neighbors’ fields, through school bus windows, because they did not go to school until crops were gathered. I remember when Mama and Daddy took public jobs, because farming would no longer support us. I remember the people who worked the farm for them because they could not get public jobs due to discrimination. I remember how they all pulled together to make a living as government subsidies for corporate farming eliminated any chance for family farming to survive. I remember when my father opened the door for his former farm workers to work in an industrial plant, where they were formerly prohibited due to limited education. I remember when those same workers bought property and built homes, leaving the farm shanties they had lived in all of their lives.
I must agree with Mr. Lewis, “We have become a nation of whimps…” We do not stand up to the venture capitalists who use the wealth our labor helped create to send American jobs to third-world countries. Yes, we face a major problem with drug addiction, but do the drug addicts own the planes, ships and submarines that supply their addiction? Yes, someone’s goal is slavery, but wouldn’t that be the American companies that pay workers $38 per month until sweat shops burn or collapse on them in Bangladesh and other third-world countries? Yes, the middle class is dead, economically, but isn’t that because corporate privilege eliminated family farming, and corporate greed eliminated American manufacturing? Are we on the verge of destruction, or has it already happened? I was not college material, but I worked until manipulated capitalism destroyed family farming and globalization destroyed American industry.
Yes, a Democrat signed NAFTA, the beginning of our nation’s economic downfall. But a Republican would have signed it, had not the Democrat who signed it defeated him. The Republican son of that Republican signed CAFTA, which not only finalized the destruction of American manufacturing, but left us without industry to convert to military support, should we ever face a real war, rather than a Republican instigated unnecessary war for military industrial complex profit, assuming you remember that our troops were ordered to “cut and run” to Iraq, rather than “stay the course” in Afghanistan.
I agree that “We are no longer a nation under God.” We are an “anything for corporate profit” nation in which a child can turn on a TV and see social filth, immorality, profanity, vulgarity, violence and voluntary audience nudity on the Jerry Springer show.
I do not agree that the United States is an “empire.” Although greedy imperialists tried to steer our nation in that direction, sensible political leaders realized the perils of empire for the masses, although it was extremely profitable for imperialists. In fact, journalists Samuel Clemons and John Griffith London had to publish their fiction under the pen-names Mark Twain and Jack London, due to their opposition to powerful special interests who put profit above the public good.
Yes, only God can save America now. But why should He, when Christians sit idly by allowing special interests to rob American workers of their share of the wealth they helped create, and neither protest nor boycott the sponsors of the social filth in entertainment that our nation would never have tolerated 60 years ago?
Are we on the verge of destruction, or living in the aftermath? Think about it, please.
— Robert C. Currie Jr. is Laurinburg resident who regularly contributes to newspapers in the region, including the Bladen Journal.