Throughout U.S. history there have been uprisings. The only demonstration of distrust in government in my adult life is Vietnam. Certainly in our time, demonstrations and general outrage over the Vietnam War was about the closest to an uprising that had meaning and pressed the Nixon regime to take the steps necessary to end the war. But as a whole, not many citizens were involved in the call to get out. But just enough for Nixon to cave.
Other insurrections didn’t involve massive amounts of Americans watching small groups take up the cause on television, but the kids took to the streets, getting involved. The Civil War, started as an uprising; the Revolutionary War, the definition right in the name; numerous African-American uprisings finally ended what could have been a blood bath if not for Martin Luther King promoting nonviolent protests moving the Civil Rights movement and the Battle of Blair Mountain, which brought about miner’s and labor laws. The Occupy Wall Street and the Women’s Right to Choose movements have gotten little traction by pure numbers, political opposition or money.
The agitation, which, at some point, will turn to revolution, has taken many forms, mostly due to action, or should I say inaction by our Congress. Laid at the feet of Congress, although many blame the President, the movements take many forms, from those mentioned above to the Tea Party.
I personally would like to obliterate a health insurance company (metaphorically speaking,) decimating their record profits. After that I’d take a flame thrower to the nearest pharmaceutical company (a metaphor for being ripped off by the current drug lords.) In the third quarter last year, according to Reuters, a newswire service, Pfizer Inc., the world biggest drug maker, reported better-than-expected quarterly results… the biggest drug maker said [last week] it earned $3.74 billion, or 48 cents per share [third quarter 2011]. ”
According to the New York Times, “The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.” One example given was an insured man in Delaware who refused to go for a dermatologist checkup when he had a history of skin cancer because his deductable had risen to $2,000. (By the way, Linda and I now pay $1,000 each, monthly for medical insurance (we are self employed.) We are working to get any procedures taken care of this year before it goes up again next year.
Pensions are being attacked; Social Security is on the chopping block; Medicare is about to take a hit; more guns on the streets with less regulation; money controlling government in Washington; taxation without representation (rings a bell doesn’t it?;) closing schools or increasing class size; doubling college tuition; an inequitable tax system; futzing around with the Virginia Retirement System (pension) and the attacks on the average citizen goes on and on.
I’m writing this on Sunday, but my crystal ball tells me who won the Congressional primary election in our neck of the woods: Randy Forbes, Eric Cantor and any other stalwart who has walked the hallowed halls of the Capitol building for a few terms. They will also continue their duties after November 6.
So this has nothing to do with local issues or does it? These battles of change will not be fought by the boomers; by the time the population is fed up and won’t take anymore, it will be our children and their children fighting the big fight, taking to the streets and changing the profit mongering of today. I fear for my sons and daughter and what they may be forced to go through as the words of a few become the shouts of the entire country.
Many times I gripe about local issues, but the issues of local interest are infinitesimal compared to the matters that accrue beyond our county borders; tentacles reaching from cash-controlled monsters, whose shadows are reflected in a pool 96 miles to our north.
Chesterfield County balances its budget (sometimes on the back of workers;) they make up the cost of infrastructure when the state lets us down; the county continues to increase its inventory of park land; improves roads (without sidewalks;) provide police protection; staffs a professional fire department; and for the most part, provides for county citizens with a lessening of an inflow of funds from the state and federal governments.
Did you realize that quite a bit of funding, especially schools funding comes from Virginia and Washington? As austerity moves by both entities shrivels up do to infighting and political ideology, the funding we, as a local community, deserve never trickles down. We pay the taxes to pay for needless wars ($1.4 trillion for all defense spending budgeted for 2012,) while families suffer foreclosure, business bankruptcy and tight family budgets.
When will it end? When we get up and say enough is enough. And I fear it will take not months, but years to get it straightened out. And, it won’t be we white haired short timers who fight the good fight, it will be our children and grandchildren who fend off the water cannons and tear gas.