This week took a toll on me with long days and a lot of writing... therefore little blog activity. I know, I can hear my friends playing the world's smallest violin. I know here I can find "sympathy" in the dictionary...
Anyway, I try not to write too much about national events as what draws people to the newspapers I edit is the local news. I'm sick and tired, though, of what is happening nationally and the media's constant coverage of trivia instead of substance. At this point we're in the third quarter of the presidential election news cycle with all of the truly interesting stories (other candidates, other ideas) having been under-covered, ignored and just plain squeezed out.
Not even did the five-year anniversary of of the Iraq War get the coverage it deserved in the national press. I just laugh at this idea of the press being leftist.
I used to apologize for my beliefs in order to be acceptable to people who think otherwise. Whether it's the grind at work or the sickening slide of this great country to third world status (a debtor nation that imports most of its manufactured goods with foreign investors taking over more and more of he financial infrastructure), I just can't be polite any longer.
This is what I spewed about in my column this week:
It may be great fodder for the radio talk shows and the parade of pundits on television, but I really don't care if Senator Clinton is playing some sort of mind game with Senator Obama about the possibility of picking him to be her running mate, even though he is in the lead. This is not a real issue.
The two Democratic candidates have spoken very little in the past few weeks about the things that really matter to Americans. Instead, we've had Clinton attacking Obama and Obama continuing his hope and change rhetoric. It's just a lot of noise.
It's driven me to consider voting for Ralph Nader.
I keep waiting for one of them to talk about the war in Iraq, the home mortgage crisis, the energy crisis or the decline in the dollar's value. Or how about saying what they would do to re-build New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and how they would keep jobs here in this country.
For me, the issue of jobs is the key to the nation's success. To re-build the middle class, we need good jobs. To have a pathway from poverty, we need jobs.
While doing the research for my book on Springfield, it became more and more apparent to me the city's slow slide to its present state came from the erosion of its manufacturing sector. As early as 1954, when the Indian Motorcycle Company stopped production, the city has lost jobs.
Consider these blows: the closing of the Armory in 1968 followed by the closing of Westinghouse in 1970 and American Bosch in 1986.
With each of these closings the firm middle class in the city became weaker and weaker. How would these well-paying jobs be replaced? With positions at Wal-Mart? McDonald's?
Consider a city like Chicopee when it lost the Uniroyal tire plant. There was not only the loss of jobs from the factory itself, but also the ancillary income that went to retail shops and restaurants.
Without the ability to make a decent wage, how can our standard of living be maintained? How can we fight hunger, infant mortality and the other ravages of poverty?
Mike Dukakis once had a vision when he was governor that Massachusetts would replace its manufacturing jobs with high-tech jobs and the Commonwealth would have an economy split between high tech and service jobs. This was back in the heyday of Digital, Wang and other computer companies. It never happened, did it?
I guess it was a good thing he didn't become president.
We need a diversified job base. We need to reverse our trade deficit by making what we need here, not in China. We need local agriculture. We need local energy development.
Why aren't the candidates talking about these issues? Because it's easier and safer to spout off about stuff that doesn't matter, but makes a great headline in a news cycle.
Hey, I got my Social Security statement the other day. Did you get yours?
You know what I mean? That cheery little newsletter that lets you know how much money you're going to get when you retire?
Does it depress you? It did me. Now my wife and I have other retirement accounts, but I have to say that in order to get my maximum benefit, I'll have to work to 70.
I guess 70 is going to be the new 65.
And based on what I'm getting I better get used to the taste of cat food on Ritz! I'll just tell my friends it's pate ! Although Lucky the Wonder Bichon's food looks and smells better than the cat food.
© 2008 Gordon Michael Dobbs