Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, current events, History, Justice, Patriotism, Politics, Taking Responsibility, Uncategorized, Working together

Forever chasing nothing

As a nation, we pride ourselves as being an advanced culture with highly intelligent people and as having the best of everything — pound for pound — the world has to offer. Sadly, I struggle to find anything we do as signficant to mankind.

Now this is not a bash America blog! I used to say I love America but like many I could not tell you why. It was my only frame of reference so I loved what I knew. I assumed that people in government were looking out for the little man — looking out as defined as making laws and provisions for the little man to grow and develop into something more, not throw him a bone and keep him dumb.

There was a study done in the 90s with 21k people across 7 nations to test there literacy. The study covered more than 30 tasks over a 45 minute span. The test takers were between the ages of 16 to 25 and the specific items on the test dealt with reading comprehension, following directions, reading maps, completing job applications etc. — things you would need to function and thrive in every day life. The results were astonishing (see table below). There were level grades from 1 to 5 where a 4 or 5 was pretty high functioning and of course a 1 was struggling. Sweden’s population of that age group were the brightest with more than 40 percent functioning at the highest levels. Only 18 percent of Americans at that age range preformed as well as the Swedes.

What does that mean you ask? Well other than the obvious, it seems that the study has also proven that higher functioning was related to higher wages. When France talks about job creation and the US talks about it, those are two totally different conversations. France is only talking about a living wage where you can take care of a family with a modest living. In the US, we say a job is a job — better than not having one.

Today we are in a literacy crisis. No one should be surprised about this but I don’t think we understand the effects.

 

  • More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or complete basic math above a third-grade level. —  Proliteracy
  • Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. — National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  • 75 percent of state prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate. — Rand Report: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education
  • Low literacy is said to be connected to over $230 billion a year in health care costs because almost half of Americans cannot read well enough to comprehend health information, incurring higher costs. — American Journal of Public Health

Our problem: Politics. We constantly elect people who can not relate to the problems of the average American and they could care less about those problems. It doesn’t even matter what political party you belong to — both parties have failed the little man.

It seems that we have disfellowshipped the word demand because we don’t demand anything — nothing of ourselves and nothing from those who rule the world. So we sit and take it — you live your life paycheck to paycheck and die in a sea of debt. In our country they tell you that you have the right to pursue happiness, they just forgot to tell you it was nearly impossible to catch.

Posted in current events

The Character of George H. W. Bush

Former president George H.W. Bush died on November 30, 2018 at the age of 94. His wife, Barbara, died earlier in the year at the age of 92.

I have issues with all of our presidents because I keep thinking that just maybe one of them will decide to act in the true interest of Americans and not in the perceived interest. What I mean is for a country which has as much wealth as we do, the disproportionate amount circulating throughout the country is still controlled by 1 percent of the population. The American dream is supposed to be for all Americans — not just a few. This doesn’t mean that everyone should be wealthy, but the lowest in our society should live better than the lowest in any other country.

The playing field for success has never been equal and most of those who are wealthy started from a privileged place.

But what I like about George and Barbara is that they were leaders of their time, lived a modest life (although rich, they were not greedy), and put family first.

I love the fact that in Bush’s life he led on every level. I’m not just talking about being a hero in WWII or being elected to Congress nor being over the CIA or Vice President. I’m not even speaking of his presidency. This guy was always a leader and respected as one by his peers. High school and college he played sports and was the captain of the teams. He was an Ivy league grad (Yale) and jumped right into business not seeking assistance from the family fortune. I really admire this about him.

Bush could have really manipulated things in the leadership position he was in (like most did), but he chose a different set of virtues to follow.

I didn’t agree with most of his policies. Suc as his bank bailout for savings and loans which of course helped regulate the loans but didn’t begin to stop the discrimination in granting the loans to minorities; anti-drug law which gave our tax dollars to expand prisons and increase law enforcement which just led to more minorities going to prison; fair labor amendment that made minimum wages $4.25 instead of $4.55; and his veto of the civil rights act in 1990 which would have made a huge dent in discriminatory hiring practices were all detrimental to minorities.

However, I admire him for putting his family first and establishing within his family a heart for service.

He was the president who signed the Americans with Disabilities act, but I am shocked he did nothing to ensure that service men received their benefits.

He was credited with ending the Cold War and taking down communism around the world — the Berlin wall fell on his watch — but never did anything to stop racism and discrimination at home.

When he lost the election in 1992 to Bill Clinton, he said in an ABC interview that it hurt badly because he gave all he could and it wasn’t enough. That is probably the closest he would come to understanding the minority plight — to give so much to your country and be treated like you have done nothing.

Rest in peace sir and thank you for the good you attempted to do. My condolences to the Bush family.