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  (ARCHIVES)Back to Current
Choose pride (05/07/2006)
By Janet Lewis Burns

"The facts, ma'am, just gimmie the facts." "Joe Friday U.S.A." was upright and dedicated back in the days when simplicity was entertainment enough. The world of comedy and satire is only a small portion of what's gone sour in a global society.

Public respect for high offices and devotion of elected officials to fairly represent the voters are yesteryear's virtues, sacrificed for the dark humor of political back stabbing. Career politicians concentrate more on their reelection than on prudent decisions for the country's future welfare.

It's sad to say that the U.S.'s large retail chains are partly responsible for an increase in poverty and welfare cases. How many read labels from distant shores and, though disgusted, are prompted to make that less expensive purchase?

Cheap foreign labor means low prices for the consumer and large-scale profits for the seller. Oh yah, and loss of American jobs, along with retirement funds and insurance benefits.

Going to war to establish peace? America the dutiful seemed pressed to defend our borders from the deluge of terrorists' threats and corrupt foreign leadership. Is it then an "American-made" war? The strides our service men and women are accomplishing in Iraq don't seem to headline the news. It's encouraging that over 10 million Iraqis went to the polls to cast votes in their first democratic election.

The "American-made" federal budget deficit is up to $371 billion this year, or $2,700 per individual tax return. Most U.S. taxpayers would not be willing to shell out extra tax dollars to cut a deficit they can't feel responsible for. Mid-income families, America's backbone, struggle to make ends meet.

President Bush's proposed 2007 tax cuts, not yet approved by Congress before Easter recess, would cause further "American-made" hardship for the low-income citizen. For instance, the poor don't benefit from cuts in taxes on investment income because they don't have investment income. (Tell me it isn't so!)

Washington economist Julianne Malveaux reports, "Sadly, to accommodate tax cuts, Congress has proposed other budget-cutting measures that hit those who are at the bottom hardest - such as new fees on Medicaid recipients, cuts in the number of people who can receive food stamps, cuts in spending on higher education and cuts in federal child support enforcement."

Many "American-made" accomplishments are honorable. Hussein's trial, for instance, defines and upholds our democratic stance on justice. Even this animal has been granted the privilege of a fair trial, totally clashing with his abominable dictatorship and crimes against his own starving people, while he wallowed in castles and untold luxury.

"American-made" holidays dot our calendars. We are people of many freedoms and liberties, granted time off our jobs for those red-letter occasions. I recently read that a so-called "children's day," which dates back to 1856, soon lost its appeal. With Easter looking like Santa Claus it's no wonder! The Today Show told of a peculiar "high-five day," which falls on the third Thursday of April. Who says so I wonder?

I suppose one could blame the bellwether and generous USA for "American-made" fast food chains now force-feeding foreigners with saturated fats and vein clogging cholesterol. We're chided that our hands-on technology has created sedentary "computer cheese whiz kids."

But let's not forget tried and true staples: "American-made" baseball, ping pong, line dancing, snowmobiling, cheeseheads, Jello, sugar-free ding dongs, country music, Rolaids, diet sodas, and "lite" just about anything!

Our music, down through the ages, has sung praises to our beautiful land of the free. The Beach Boys wish all the girls could be California girls. John Denver takes us back to country roads. The Statler Brothers croon, "My baby is American-made." "Roll on Mississippi, roll on!" Willie Nelson's "buttermilk skies" are universal.

The phrase "American-made" has withstood hostile criticism and has thrived on the pride of devoted citizens. Which side are you on?

To allow our grassroots foundation, "in God we trust," to crumble and fall is to destroy America's spirit.

"Together we rise...divided we fall." Choose pride.

Janet Burns is a Lewiston native. She can be reached at patandjanburns@earthlink.net 


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