We’ve Forgotten

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Before the New Deal millions of Americans spent their later years, when they were no longer able to earn a wage, in abject poverty. That’s a key reason Social Security was created. We seem to have forgotten about all that suffering of our elderly.

Before Medicare millions of Americans spent years in health crisis, which often led to bankruptcy. It frequently led to having to choose between getting critical medical care and eating. We seem to have forgotten about that suffering, too.

Before the GI Bill only a small percentage of Americans went to college. That bill and the education it spawned were major contributors to the phenomenal economic growth of our nation and the personal wealth expansion that followed World War II. It lifted millions of Americans out of poverty and into middle class security. At the same time that was happening we were expanding our state colleges and universities in order to provide low cost education. That, too, made it possible for Americans to be prepared for our rapid economic expansion and to join the ranks of our middle class. But we seem to have forgotten about how those investments in education helped everyone.

Before we had food stamps millions of Americans were hungry all the time and children went to bed at night with empty stomachs. That program alleviated the suffering of our poor to a great extent, but it appears that we’ve forgotten how bad it was for them.

Actually, we’ve forgotten how bad it was for us, because the ancestors of most Americans suffered like that.

And that’s the point. We have a national amnesia about how bad some people had it before we as a nation decided that there was something we could do about it and we’ve forgotten that those people who suffered were our own families. Now many of us are comfortable, removed by multiple generations from our families’ suffering and our comfort has caused us to lose sight and to lose compassion.

If loss of compassion for others who suffer is somehow okay, we at least should recognize that pulling the plug on programs that help our own people is the same as pulling the plug on America.

But we seem to have forgotten where we came from.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to subscribe and do the same.  Thanks.  JA

Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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3 Responses to We’ve Forgotten
  1. Joni Lindgren Reply

    . We call them members of Congress.

    Great punchline, Dominick!!

    They do have bosses! However, they’re the corporations and right wing think tanks like ALEC and, make no mistake about it, money talks to them too (members of Congress)
    Corporations, think tanks and way too many politicians have lost their moral compass!

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I will add that those programs are still there and to a great extent still do what they were intended to do, but not for all Americans. Appalachia is still mired in poverty as are whole swathes of folks in Tennessee and Kentucky, and 100’s of thousands of folks in our inner cities and many farmers everywhere.

    We’ve created all these programs for all the right reasons. What we didn’t do when they were each created, and haven’t figured out how to do since those times, is how to get the funds, the food and the education to ALL the people who need it.

    Our predecessors got theirs, so we have ours, but there are millions in the wealthiest country in the world who, like it was mentioned in the article, struggle through daily life too weak to do anything, go to bed hungry, and have no prospects for their futures.

    More needs to be done. How to go about it is beyond my ability and knowledge. Does anyone else have any good ideas or approaches to this problem?

  3. dominick Reply

    Right on Jack!

    There are many people who are incompetent, ignorant, selfish, arrogant and literally anti-American. They are against democracy and what America stands for. They are earning generous guaranteed incomes with expense accounts, yet have no bosses to tell them what to do. We call them members of Congress.