Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

May 31, 2012

Another View

Spoiled Brat Country

Charlotte Shivvers

Knoxville —  

Whine.  Snarl.  Arf!  Not good news today.  Here’s how it started:  Visiting about family weddings of long ago, I remembered my father’s story about one father-of-the-bride who complained, “Why, that blank, blank wedding cake took three books of sugar coupons.”  

I don’t really remember coupon numbers, what struck me was that once upon a time we had lived through sugar rationing.  And gas rationing – with 35 mile speed limits!  We lived through it!  That is, we lucky ones who were not killed defending our country in World War II, we lived.

We won the war and survived the sacrifices.  When I think of that and then return to current times, I feel like we live in a spoiled brat country now.  

We want so much!  We consume so much!  We complain so much!  

For instance, we’re unhappy because there aren’t enough good jobs available.  One reason is that many manufacturing jobs have gone overseas.  Why?  Because we aren’t willing to pay workers what it costs to manufacture here.  

We want the nice clothes or the fine computer but we won’t pay what it takes to make them – in our country.  So, people don’t have jobs building them here.  Then we complain.  Isn’t that like a spoiled child?

Or look at the “the immigration problem.”  Has anyone figured out who would do the work in our spoiled brat country if it weren’t for the immigrants?  They run our hog factories, clean our toilets, and do the work that keeps us going.  

Remember Alabama?  That state passed a strict immigration law, and illegal workers left.  Then the big farmers couldn’t find USA citizens willing and able to get out in the sun to dig the earth and grow the crops. 

Speaking of earth and sun, generally we want clear air, so breathing will help and not harm our health.  We want an environment that supports us, but we don’t overwhelmingly move to recycle, conserve energy, and change our ways.  We want the earth to take care of us without us having to take care of the earth.

Here’s another one.  We once had rules that kept our banks safe repositories of our money.  But spoiled brats don’t like rules.  Big money interests lobbied hard (paid our legislators) until Democrats and Republicans cooperated to decrease regulation.  

Banks could start playing with dangerous toys like “derivatives.”  Borrowers no longer needed to show that they could repay the loan before they borrowed.  Lenders earned big money making bad loans – and selling them.  On and on until full blown recession by 2008.  

Failed businesses.  Foreclosed homes.  Lost jobs.    

The innocent suffered more than the guilty because many, like spoiled brats, had been greedy enough and dumb enough to make it happen.   

We want something for nothing.  And the political campaign makes it worse.  Endless ads proclaim as if magic within the last three years or the next four years could end all the ill effects of our spoiled brat culture.  We want to get rid of immigrants, but we don’t want to do the work.  We want to create jobs, but we don’t want to pay the money.  We want clean environment but we don’t want to conserve energy.  Etc. 

Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney nor the tooth fairy dares to tell us that if we want our society to work – to provide jobs and homes and health for all – we will need to grow up and take responsibility.

The good news is we may not need to ration sugar.