One


By The David

The Stimulus Package proposal has been signed into law. There have been many comments made by the talking heads, by “reporters”, by self-styled journalists and by the individuals who represent the general population, the tax payers.
I hasten to tell you that I am not at all surprised by the pot stirring being done by cable news . It is their goal in life to create controversy, since without that controversy, they would have little or no chance for survival on the airwaves, and the news might have to become productive. Reporters, true reporters seem to give short shrift to relaying the news and rather, seem to spend the greatest amount of time sharing their opinions. True journalism in television seems to be going the way of the dodo bird. Unless people demand a come-back of journalistic ethics, we will soon be able to write it’s obituary. Journalism should be listed as an endangered species.
None of this should surprise any of us. It saddens me, but doesn’t surprise me at all. The era of honest journalism in television, at its peak with Edward R. Murrow, and ending with the losses of Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, and the retirement of Walter Cronkite, is long past its golden age, and well into a state of irrelevance.
Sound bitter? Maybe so, but I hope not. Disenchanted? Absolutely.
The Fourth Estate has abdicated it’s responsibilities. Not only has it sold out to the politicians and the powers that hold the financial strings, but it has also helped to give birth to the world wherein too many people seem to think that all they need to know is contained in 30 second sound bytes, and the degree of truth can be found in how often these bytes are repeated throughout the day. Even most newspapers are now printed in such a way that major news stories are delivered in short paragraphs, their own version of the 30 second sound byte.
And what has all of this wrought?
The sensationalism and the lack of depth in the presentation of the “news” in an unbiased form, together with the cynical, selfish and mean-spirited messages with which too many politicians have assaulted us since the days when Ronald Reagan was the White House tenant, have led to a situation among the populous that frankly, has me shocked. Too many people can only see their own “wants,” not their fellow citizen’s needs. “Why should my taxes support him?” How often do we hear that?
Since the stimulus package has been signed into law, the most frequent words I have heard are “What will I get,” or “What’s in it for me?” There are, of course, many people who absolutely should be asking these questions: those that are among the unfortunates that have lost their source of employment, those who have lost their health insurance and cannot afford Cobra, those who are forced to line-up at food pantry’s, those who have been forced to default on loans, and those whose homes are in foreclosure. These are the people in most need. But in too many cases, these are not the people disparaging the programs. They seem to be the people who wait.
Many of the people who remain comfortable and are getting by, are the very same individuals who are negatively viewing the attempts of the government to breathe life into this moribund economy. It is from this group that I have heard such criticism directed toward the home building and mortgage industries. “Why should my tax money be used to rescue someone who lives above their means?” Well, in too many instances when the home was purchased, the buyer was not living above their means. In too many other instances the buyer may not have been wary enough and could not cut through the lies and inducements put on the table by unscrupulous mortgage bankers and other lenders, who praised the affordability of delayed interest home loans, balloon payments, and other gimmicks that a prudent banker would not touch, let alone sell. These home-buyers were given inducements and “deals” and to too many, the American Dream…. the green lawn with the white picket fence and the climbing red roses … became consuming. They wanted in.
Then the economic balloon burst, and with it went jobs and in came demand notices from bankers, and defaults and foreclosures. Businesses and banks went belly-up. But the biggest of these received loans, the results of which are yet to be determined. Billions of dollars changed hands.
The latest stimulus package is the only one that, part of which, addresses some of the needs of the individual. The individual that has sustained crippling losses may be helped. The package will not address the concerns of those who might be losing their vacation home, but only the concerns of those losing their primary residence. It will not address the needs of those who have made no attempt to repay their mortgage, but rather those who have evidence of trying their best to comply. It will not address the debt that results from the buying of homes on speculation and then flipping them for profit. No, not these. Finally, the package does not pay the mortgage for those living beyond their means. What it is meant to do is provide funds so that mortgages can be renegotiated and rewritten for a more affordable rate and a more affordable period of time. It is designed to help people retain their primary residence, and help staunch some of the bleeding from the portfolios of the honest mortgage lenders.
I think what is most hurtful to see, is that so many people are worried only about number one. So many people who have sustained losses, but whose losses are the result of the poor performance of the stock market or other investments of their own choice are complaining because the government package does not “cover” them. Why should it? The roof over their head is intact. They are eating three squares, and if they get sick, they can still see their doctor. In short, they might have suffered some loss, but their life needs are being met.
One! Have we become so into number one that we cannot be pleased at seeing someone else get a needed boost? Does not the welfare of our neighbors and of the country itself trump whatever selfish desire we may have, and can’t we put the country above ourselves and pressure our legislators to put aside Party and enthusiastically back recovery?

About karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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2 Comments on “One”

  1. Right on target. There is no longer “journalism”, instead, we get “infotainment”. Every media outlet bombards us with flashy graphics and loud, dramatic sounds while they spew their version of “headlines”. Then you have Fox News Channel claiming to be “fair and “balanced”. WHAT A CROCK! They wouldn’t know “fair and balanced” if it hit them in their conservative, pro-Republican, Ronald Reagan worshiping face.

  2. Fox news is indeed a prime example of news gone awry. A channel that has its own agenda cannot call itself accurate or claim to employ reporters. Instead they are employing actors who spew a narrow point of view.
    Another distraction that passes as news occurs when one “reporter” interviews another, and that reporter is inserted into the news. A reporter should be in the business of reporting the news, not making it.

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