We can’t ignore nation’s problemsI don’t write this with any grandiose notion of intelligence. My qualifications, in addition to long life, consist only of the good fortune of education (thanks to the G.I. Bill) and of being able to read widely, listen daily and discuss issues with qualified people about our political system. We seem to ignore problems.
By: Bernie Hughes, Duluth News Tribune
I don’t write this with any grandiose notion of intelligence. My qualifications, in addition to long life, consist only of the good fortune of education (thanks to the G.I. Bill) and of being able to read widely, listen daily and discuss issues with qualified people about our political system. We seem to ignore problems.
The first is the increasing spread of financial wealth between our top 1 percent and bottom 99 percent. The gap hasn’t been this wide since the fall of 1929 before the Great Depression. How can such a financial catastrophe happen in a nation that claims democratic and moral values? We have other problems, but greater leveling the playing field for all our citizens is No. 1. So much money has been increasingly shifted to those with much. The elite have been able to bring about another Gilded Age. They claim they create jobs, but the evidence doesn’t support this claim. We need to stop our government being run by Big Money.
Second is our enormous debt. We need to reinstitute our progressive tax system as was true in the Clinton administration. We must stop initiating wars on the credit card. Iraq was deplorable. How many innocent Iraqi citizens were killed without just cause, plus the disrupting of their nation for years? Afghanistan was questionably “justified” on the basis of rectifying 9/11. But who masterminded 9/11? Osama bin Laden was originally from Saudi Arabia; most of the attackers were, too. We remain good friends with Saudi Arabia as major oil producers, but we credit carded another war of choice while disabling our progressive tax system.
Third is our empire-building. History is replete with examples of nations that trod this path until they bankrupted themselves. Why do we, the most militarily equipped nation in the world, continue to widen our expansion? When is enough enough? We have troops in more than 700 places in the world. Our naval fleets and air power are the greatest. We have enough nuclear power to create unbelievable havoc. Our drones are striking like suicide bombers as we kill innocent men, women and children and list it as collateral damage. Former President Eisenhower warned about the great danger of an unchecked military-industrial complex. Has greed overcome good sense?
Fourth, we need to democratically share sincere negotiations with other nations. We too often instruct them on what they should do and why. We should avoid arrogance in our communications and actions. We think we’ve been playing a big-brother role that they should appreciate. Other nations think of themselves as being exceptional, too. We need to quit expressing our exceptionalism in word, thought and deed. We need to talk as equals and treat others as equals. Doing so would invite others to follow suit; they know we are still the big kid on the block. We believe we are spreading democracy, but Muslims still remember the Crusades.
Fifth, and finally, we, and other nations of the world, need to address population expansion and resource depletion. We could end up like collapsed countries of the past such as Easter Island. Obama’s health plan gives women the authority and wherewithal to help. We need to have our industries patriotically stand on their American feet and not seek cheap labor by hiring illegals, by moving plants near a border for cheaper labor and by off-shoring for lower taxes. Now, with Internet technology, corporations can obtain cheap labor without moving.
The problems are many and serious. They can no longer be ignored.
Bernie Hughes of Superior is professor emeritus of educational administration at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.