America is in an angry mood. You can see it in the faces of the people when you go for your morning coffee or newspaper. Everyone seems to know someone who has lost their home or job, and everyone talks about a restaurant, furniture or appliance store they used to shop at that is now shuttered. Americans saw a near-trillion-dollar bailout that has helped Wall Street but not Main Street. Americans see stockbrokers who nearly put our country into a depression giving out multimillion-dollar bonuses to their employees, while their next-door neighbor loses their home. Meanwhile, Americans drive home from work on streets filled with potholes and unsafe bridges while their states, towns and municipalities claim they have no money left to repair the ravages from this past winter. State aid to the elderly is being cut and teachers are being laid off.
Americans see illegal immigrants flooding hospital emergency rooms and getting free medical care while their companies either cut their benefits or insist they pay more for their medical care. Americans shop and cannot find an article of clothing that says "Made in America" and they purchase plasma and LCD TVs, DVD players, iPods, iPhones, iPads, cellphones, fax machines and toys for their children, none of which are made in America any longer, and when they call customer service at Comcast, Dell or HP they get a voice on the other end from the Caribbean, India or the Philippines whom they cannot understand and who cannot understand them.
Americans feel insecure and when they feel insecure they react at the voting booth in a way that is not helpful. Voting for Ron Paul, an anti-Israel, anti–women's rights and anti–civil rights for minorities candidate will not bring them back the America they long for, nor will the Tea Party adherents bring them back that America—for what they stand for is anger, not change, and not improving the lives of everyday citizens. The Tea Party's position is "throw the bums out," but they have no position for the day after.
We need to hold our elected officials accountable, and we need to insist on common-sense proposals. We need a trillion-dollar bailout for our rapidly failing infrastructure that will put hundreds of thousands of people back to work improving our roads, highways and bridges. We cannot compete in the twenty-first century economy when our infrastructure starts resembling Afghanistan's. We need to offer illegals that are here an opportunity to register and become citizens, but if they refuse, they should not be allowed to remain here. We need to stop the outsourcing of jobs to every country and make them concentrate on jobs for Americans, and we should penalize companies who prefer to hire hundreds of thousands of people outside America to help their bottom line in America. We need a government that not only reacts quicker to something like the BP spill but launches a massive effort to free ourselves totally from dependence on oil. With 90 percent of oil controlled by dictatorships and with being one act of terrorism away from a disruption in the supply of oil that could throw our country into a depression, we need to wean ourselves totally off oil. No more hybrids either. We need to never use oil again. If we can have the wonders of the Internet and tremendous advances in medical technologies and medications and put a man on the moon, we can free ourselves of using fossil fuels forever. We have the know-how but not the "I will."
There's anger in America because people see an America that appears rudderless, and when this happens it opens the door for demagogues. We must take charge of our destiny and improve the lives of all our citizens in a way that benefits everyone, and we can do that if put forth the effort, the blood, sweat and tears that made this country what it once was, to be that special shining light again.
Mark Jeffery Koch
Cherry Hill, NJ
May 24 2010 - 9:40am