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I saw a TV show recently that made my gut boil. I saw a long line of people waiting to go into a soup kitchen. Maybe it’s not called a soup kitchen anymore, but because that might be considered disrespectful, or called “dissing,” an expression that makes my gut boil almost as fast. But, dear hearts, that’s what free food being ladled out to the poor was before we got so busy breaking our necks to find free stuff for the needy and the greedy. I’m all for helping the former, but not the latter, but I don’t think this is a government function outlined in the Constitution.

From this long line of people waiting for a free meal, here’s what I saw and heard on TV:

All of them owned cars.

98% of them had one or more televisions.

64% of them had cable.

78% of them had air conditioning.

66% of them had DVDs.

These are the poor?

This is not “made up stuff” from the Right Wing. It came out of the mouths of the people in that line.

And, in the newspaper that same day there was an ad–-a half-page ad–-virtually begging people to get a free cell phone, FREE! And monthly cell phone service paid for with tax money–my money and yours.

I saw this same thing on TV, the same song–another ad, and TV ads don’t come cheap. In the ad a couple of hired actors, looking like an elderly couple, said, “Now I can call my grandchildren.” On someone else’s tax dollars?

And in my mail, sent to every household, a letter explaining my eligibility for a free cell phone. This bombardment costs money. Lots of it. Are we borrowing from China for this? Are we paying interest on that debt–-the like of which I’d like to see from my investments–-for this? I don’t know about the mailings, but these two ads run almost daily–-or I see them almost daily. Even Roosevelt must be turning in his grave. This is the Socialism Roosevelt saw and admired in England when he was living there working for our government, but now it’s gone completely mad.

Was it Stalin who said something about us rotting from within?

In the spirit of Roosevelt–-following the ancient practice of “buying” votes–-this is but one factor that leads to the wonderful, treacherous downhill track we’re on.

And, yes, there are few advantages to growing really old, but one of them is knowing what really did happen back then, as opposed to what I hear from the politicians who lie or the young people who don’t really know, and therefore can’t be blamed. Be wary of those who would twist history for an agenda. No, people, “government programs” did not lift us out of the Depression. It dragged along at a painfully slow pace until WW II. I know. I was there. I went to work, as secretary to the advertising manager of a chain furniture store (that exists to this day) for $12.00 a week. We’re trying it again today. Is insanity doing what hasn’t worked over and over again?

Government spending (now called “investing”) in wind power and sun power is touted as “the answer,” but we don’t recoil at pure waste either. You know, from the news, that $800,000 for a Conference by the folks who are “looking out after our spending” can mount up. As Everett Dirkson said years ago when a dollar was a dollar, “A million here and a million there and pretty soon it adds up to money.”

Look, spending is rampant in the State houses and in Washington. And it’s not Republican or Democrat. With “lifetime” politicians, spending “Our Money “ is carefully watched, but spending “Your Money” is but another tax away. Don’t be afraid to look at the next bill that comes your way. Everything you do is taxed.

Perhaps I won’t live to see your down-hill tomorrow. Not a big loss. My forecast for that period is dismal. And, more and more, I find myself saying the words from an old song, “I’m glad I’m not young anymore.”

I’m all for educating you at public expense to the extent of your desires or the extent of your abilities whichever comes first. But, unlike what I hear in political speeches, college is not for everyone. It never has between and never will be. Face it: We are equal only in the eyes of God. And, if we were equal, who would remove our garbage or mend our potholes? Both are honorable work, but requiring different skills, different desires, and different training.

And, no, I’m not low-rating menial work. As the cliche goes, “Been there, done that.” I’ve been a stockroom boy at McCrory’s Five and Ten, I’ve loaded trucks at an orange packing house, I’ve shoveled excrement in barns, and I’m ashamed at none of it. It was honest work for pay I agreed to. Did I want to do better? Yes, I did, and that’s what all of my generation did, unless barn shoveling was a thing they didn’t mind doing if it took any effort to rise above it.

I agree with Pearl Bailey, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.”

But, poor? What is called poverty today…

Where in the hell is your reality?



Writers' Guild of WNC Authors

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