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Scary Times

BOO!  IT’S GETTING SCARY OUT THERE! As I am writing this, there are “Occupy” protests going on in numerous cities throughout the United States.  One of the gripes of the protestors is the lack of jobs that are available.  The protesters remind me of Linus in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  Instead of going trick-or-treating with his friends, Linus waited up all night in the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to arrive with free toys and candy.  My favorite quote from the show came from Linus when he said: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

Linus’ refusal to discuss “the Great Pumpkin” shielded him from having to hear the truth from others.  We often do this in our own lives – refuse to discuss matters that we may be mistaken about.  This type of conduct arises because of our own pride and our desire to shield ourselves from constructive criticism.

At the end of the show, Linus’ sister, Lucy, helps him into their house after she finds him on the ground, covered with his blanket and shivering from the cold.  (Thank God for the women in our lives!)  The next day Linus vows to Charlie Brown that the Great Pumpkin will come “next year.”

A majority of the “Occupy” protestors have bought into the myth that the role of government is to provide them with financial assistance and good paying jobs.  Although this has been possible over the past 80 years, at this point in history, it is no longer feasible.  Our federal government is functionally bankrupt.

From the end of World War II (1945) until the early 1970’s, the United States was the supplier to the world.  It was during that period of time that unions flourished and good paying American jobs were plentiful.  The majority of products that were sold to Americans and people in other developed countries were actually made in America by American workers.

The beginning of the end of this great era was the Japanese car invasion in the late 1970’s.  Gas prices skyrocketed during the Carter years (1976-1980) and the government-supported car companies in Japan responded by flooding our country with smaller, high-mileage, well-built cars.  By 1982, 30% of the cars sold in the United States were Japanese cars.  At that time I was in college. I have a very clear memory of those years.

After the invasion of the foreign cars, American companies started: (1) moving operations offshore; and (2) hiring foreign companies to manufacture American goods.  Right now in China alone, factories are producing millions of products for the following technology-based companies: Acer, Amazon (Kindle), Apple (iMac, iPod, iPad, iPhone), Asus, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola (owned by Google), MSI, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony Ericsson (Android), and Vizo.

In addition to manufacturing jobs moving overseas, foreign companies have been buying and taking ownership of American companies.  One example of this was the purchase of St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch three years ago by InBev, a Brazilian-Belgian owned brewing company.

To add insult to injury, over the last several years individual American states have routinely offered gigantic tax breaks and benefits to large corporations to move their businesses (and jobs) from their home states to the states offering the benefits.

The job genie was let out of the (American) bottle over 30 years ago.  Then it quickly spread all over the globe.  We are never going to be able to force the genie back into the bottle.

Recently, Jeffrey Immelt, the U.S. “Jobs Czar” and Chief Operating Officer of General Electric (GE), bragged about GE’s giant new factory in Brazil where several thousand jobs have been created.  Everything is going so well that a new “company town” has been created around the new factory.  The number of jobs created in our country from the new Brazilian factory has been miniscule – around 400.  Besides setting up shop in Brazil, GE also has businesses in China, India, and Africa, all of which are growing at “an encouraging pace.”

There are many well-meaning Christians who argue that the massive transfer of jobs to foreign countries benefits the people in those countries much more than those same jobs would benefit Americans.  They argue that since we are all equal in the eyes of God, we have no right to expect (and enjoy) a standard of living that far exceeds the standard of living of a majority of the other people in the world.  After all, while we Americans live luxurious lives, the people in China, India, Brazil, Africa, and numerous other countries, can’t even afford the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and housing.

There may be some truth to that argument, but it completely ignores the reality that if it weren’t for the creativity and ingenuity of Americans, none of those foreign jobs would have ever materialized.  The only reason the standard of living has improved in most other countries is because of what we we’ve been able to accomplish in our own country.  If the middle class in the United States is ever wiped out, our vibrant economy will die and the vast majority of the jobs that have been created in other countries will disappear.

We should be afraid.  We should be very afraid. Before we can ever expect to return to the glory days of abundant jobs and economic growth, we’re going to have to return to the Christian principles that were the foundation upon which our country was built.

The organizers and demonstrators of the “Occupy” movement are not going to accomplish anything by demanding jobs, more free handouts, and a “fairer distribution of wealth.”  They are delusional in their belief that they will be able to exercise influence over the power brokers on Wall Street and in Washington, DC.  If they want to experience real change, they need to call for help from the ultimate power broker – the Mother of God.

Wouldn’t it be great to see thousands of Americans in cities across the country praying and pleading with the Mother of God to change the hearts and minds of all American citizens?  If that happened, we would begin to see the restoration of our Christian laws and traditions, and in time, our economy.

I’m afraid I’m just another dreamer, just like Linus.

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4 Responses to “Scary Times”

  1. Sister Roberta Houlihan, CSJ Says:

    Harry, if you’re a Dreamer, there are many of us who are Dreamerswith you. And our Dreams WILL come true because we Dreamers include Prayer, and Trust in God’s Mercy as well as God’s Justice.
    Today’s Comic Section of the JS gives a definition of Halloween – without one word about Hallowed Eve of All Saints Celebration. What disillusionment to the young person who asked what Halloween is all about! In my sadness at such shallowness, I pray for, and feel sorry for those who seem not to know any better.
    I would like to see your Articles published as a regular Column in the CATHOLIC POST and Journal Star. Blessings! Sister Roberta

  2. Harry Says:

    Sister, thanks for you input. I think we’re in good company, because I believe all of the members of the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph – were dreamers. Althouth it’s painful to dream about solutions that may never materialize, it’s good to be able to imagine and dream about our final reward – eternity in Heaven with our Lord, the saints, and our loved ones. Take care and keep praying.

  3. Rich Flavin Says:

    I’ve often struggled with getting ahead and obligations to helping others. I think this week’s letter cleared some of that up for me. We all have choices. Nobody wants to flip the burgers but everybody wants one. I always get something out of you letters when I get a chance to read them.
    Take care.

  4. Harry Says:

    Thanks for your comment Rich. I appreciate your support.

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