Something is Wrong
I grew up in a conservative, hard-working, honest-as-they-come family. When life got hard, they just worked harder. Self-reliance, integrity and loyalty were hallmarks of their moral compass. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and two World Wars. Still they had faith and hope in a brighter future and a better life for their children. Three of their four children received college degrees. My father was true to his military profession; order, organization, self discipline, freedom of country, service, loyalty and honesty were his deeply held convictions. Sometimes I wonder: Is my DNA threaded with these same convictions and idealisms? What is today’s reality? Where is our future heading? How can a single election loom so large and make us all feel so vulnerable? Somehow we seem to have lost our way. Like Alice, we, as a nation, have tumbled down an enormous black hole. We have misplaced our moral compass. This past October 28th marks the 6th anniversary of the Help America Vote Act. Now, four years and $2billion dollars later, both officials and voters wonder whether it isn’t time for more comprehensive election reform. The television is filled with images and words creating fear and doubt in the reliability of voting machines, ways to cheat the system, disenfranchised voters and long lines. We have no choice. We must deploy the Power of One voice, One vote. The paths we walk, the converging of ideologies, the alliances we forge, the wars we end and enter, our economy and health care system and the compassion we show for other countries are all markers for who we are as a nation. This is what is on my mind as I prepare to vote: Something is wrong when right-wing politicians blur the distinction between church and state. Something is wrong when teachers are leaving in droves from their profession due to salary, administrative and No Child Left Behind constraints. Something is wrong when our children lack basic educational skills and we can’t compete in the world. Something is wrong when entertainers and athletes make ENORMOUS amounts of money and we don’t raise the wages of teachers, public health workers, firemen, policemen and public works personnel. Something is wrong when those who can’t afford health insurance are turned away from emergency rooms, or even dying for lack of urgent treatment, and/or deplete their savings for medications and care. Something is wrong when billions of dollars are spent on political campaign advertisements, while 24 million Americans still go to bed hungry and millions more sleep on the streets or overflowing shelters. Something is wrong when presidential candidates deliberately mislead the public with outright lies, misleading information and distortion of facts to win an election. Something is wrong when mainstream media promote and give credence to the above and/or spew divisive talking points masquerading as “news.” Something is wrong when cities like New Orleans are swamped with natural disasters and our government agencies are not equipped to step in and alleviate/rebuild the natural disasters. Something is wrong when greed, ambition, hubris and murky ethics bring down an entire country, which rolls like a tsunami over the rest of the world. Something is wrong with these banking/financial gurus leave with millions in their pockets and no responsibility. Something is wrong when a country runs a rogue prison at Guantanamo Bay and the President of the United States declares there is no torture. Something is wrong when right-wing zealots dictate our immigration and marriage policies. Something is wrong when we know more about the twists and turns of entertainment celebrities than we know of the heart-wrenching stories of fellow humans in Darfur, Chad, Congo, Burma, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Georgia. Something is wrong when we can’t repair our own infrastructure: highways, bridges, tunnels, public buildings, levees and dams. Something is wrong when our great country is RICH in resources, human intelligence, creativity and compassion but impoverished in honest management. Something is wrong when our leadership and international authority have been severely diminished. Something is wrong when we are going to have to spend the next four years cleaning up the past eight years of messes. MY HERITAGE IS ONE OF OPTIMISM, INTEGRITY AND HARD WORK. FAITH IN OUR COUNTRY AND COUNTRYMEN WILL PREVAIL. We will all vote. We can all make a difference. We can then put our “shoulder to the wheel” and do our part, One by One to raise us out of Alice’s hole. These words seem filled with pessimism, but in reality I can and will write a list of “Something is right”…… But first let me vote!