I remember growing up in the late 60′s early 70′s I feel like I was one of the lucky ones to grow up middle class in in an education oriented community that encouraged thinking for yourself and civil discussion among it’s citizens. My Dad built our original house and took pride in the work he did. My Mother stayed at home and when she wasn’t gardening, canning or cleaning, she was busy providing her four children with good literature, good music, seasonal art and craft projects, and vacations that were as educational as they were fun. When they were married, my Dad was an unemployed steel worker. He got his first job at a bank when I was 3 and by the time my own first child was born, he had been named President of the institution. This took 23 years of scrimping, saving, nose to the grindstone work, but all four of their children have degrees (One has a doctorate, one a Masters). There were a lot of times we had to do without. We didn’t get everything we wanted. We expected life to be a little hard and at the same time worthy of stepping up to the challenge.
When I got my degree in Education, I had chose it because I loved children and wanted to use my life to help further young people’s ability to love learning and find satisfaction in the work they put into their educational studies. Not one of my siblings chose careers for the purpose of income, but for thankfully be able to contribute to the community doing something that gives them personal gratification.
But it was about that time that I began to notice students choosing careers for the money alone. When they graduated, they were more interested in keeping and upgrading a lifestyle than pursuing a calling to positively contribute to society. They took fro granted that society runs itself and the most important thing thing was purchasing the bigger and better than the other person. We as a country began selling out our previous way of life for getting ahead.
And at least within the middle class, we became a competitive society, rather than a supportive one. It was like watching the curtain of life tear in two. We weren’t a middle class, anymore, just people scrambling in a race to not be a loser. And in 30 years, more and more people began to fall out of the race, we realized that not one of us might make it.
We had lost the sacredness of family, of community, of country, because it didn’t matter what we gave to it, but what we got out of it. Those became the values of the majority, so is it a wonder that the politicians we send to congress have these values as well?
When it becomes more important to achieve a socioeconomic status rather than a quality of life for you and your loved ones, then how can you, as collective “King/Queen” of your country tell your employees, - the government, – that they must live differently?
The reason corruption reigns in the government is because we’ve forgotten how hard our parents and grandparents worked to get to the place that are/were. And that was much harder than cutting corners to get money and status. They didn’t sacrifice the values that were most important. Most of us, at some point or another, to some extent did.
We reap what we sow.
[This was first posted as part of this conversation ~ Eds.]