Not Appreciated…

One of the things that bothered me much when I was in the corporate world was that I often felt unappreciated. I put in more hours and produced more output than most of my fellow employees but seldom got any praise from my bosses. All of us need a pat on the back once in a while. Most of my bosses just seemed incapable of giving me that, at least to the extent expected.

So, when I came across this post from my friends over at the Drabble it got my attention.

We live in a new age, but old unspoken traditions trail us like a snake. Your smile disappears when your boss approaches her instead of you. They share a giggle about nothing. His touch on her arm lasted longer than it should. He praises her work as yours receives none.

You try to stow the fire raging inside knowing your seventy hours a week meant nothing to him. The money you earned for the company meant nothing compared to short skirts and tight blouses. You nearly boil over and unleash your anger when he announces your name. You made partner.

It’s nice that the story above ended up on a happy note. Not all of them do. I’m sure all of us have workplace stories we could give as examples of being unappreciated in the workplace. Many probably include sexual harassment.

I know things have changed pretty rapidly in the last decade when it comes to the workplace, so maybe I have no idea of the conditions. But, there are some things that just don’t change due to time. Appreciation is one thing and reward is another. It seems that what has changed is the very creative job titles around today. No one is just a secretary, factory worker, or office worker anymore. One of the TV shows I watch on a regular basis, the people hunting for a new house always give their job titles when they describle themselves. It takes a few seconds to translate the “double-speak” into job description from my work days. 🙂

Fox News Orphans

Fox News Orphans… I knew the thing had a name and I guess I am not surprised that Fox News is attached to it. Fox News Orphans are people who are separated from their tribe/family/church because of the current political circumstances. I can certainly relate to that on several different levels.

Here are some words from John Pavlovitz about that:

Her story was heartbreaking and it was tragic—but it wasn’t at all unusual. The room that night (just like this country) was filled with people like her: Fox News orphans, MAGA family refugees, and Trump-Train widows. I hear their stories dozens of times a day.

You are here because that is the cost of not being silent about the deepest contents of your heart. You are here because you will not soften your deepest spiritual convictions, which means that this distance, as painful as it is—is to be celebrated. You are where you are supposed to be…

Source: Stuff That Needs To Be Said

These are times when people with any decent amount of empathy have words with those who lack it, and unfortunately, many of them are family members. We simply can no longer remain silent while hearing our relatives, friends, and church members hateful rhetoric about people they fear. Fear is indeed a powerful emotion that is not easily tamed. Fox News is the apex of those inciting fearmongers.

What do they fear? I certainly can’t answer for them but I can speculate on the reasons. Since it is a fact that most of the Trump base are from rural areas, they see the world pretty quickly changing and fear that the loss of power that has kept their world together is eroding. They see their communities shrinking below a critical mass that holds them together. They see their influence being diluted by people unlike them. Their very small world is being ripped apart and they are scared to death!

Of course, rural communities are not a homogeneous mass. Some are very happy with their lives where they are. There are others who look at it as a needed migration away from rural areas of their youth to where better opportunities reside. It means leaving those behind with their Fox News fixations of the world.  It means they become orphans within their clans, churches, and home communities because they dare to tell them the truth about their obsessive fears.

Besides Soybeans & Corn…

Besides soybeans and corn, there is very little growth in rural areas these days. They just don’t get their share of prosperity as the metro areas do.  I think that is one of the many factors causing distress in America today.  Many of the people in rural areas feel like they are paying their taxes but being ignored.

I know I have complained frequently here on my corner about slow Internet speeds in our rural area. My Internet connection hovers between 1 and 2 Mbps while the city 50 miles north has typical speeds of 50 Mbp or more, and with 5G it will soon go to 1,000 Mpbs! It is absolutely possible for AT&T to give us folks in rural areas the speed of our city neighbors but they choose not to do that. There is more profit in the lower hanging fruit in the cities.  This is much like the rural electrification of about a hundred years ago, so it is nothing new. As a matter of fact, we still get our electricity for our REMC and it looks like they are the ones who will eventually give us less than pitiful Internet connections. We rural folks’ needs are being ignored!

You have to look at demographics to see this problem you find that the 53 largest metro areas in the country account for 72% of the employment growth. Jobs are simply not going to rural area nor will they likely ever again. When 63% of the population lives in just 3.5% of the area geographical disparity is bound to happen. How do we solve this anguish in rural America? A solution to This problem will go a long way to bridging the red/blue gap.

Small towns continue to erode and most will not likely exist in another twenty years. If they are not within a commutable distance to a metro area where the jobs are they very likely won’t survive much longer. That is just a hardened fact.  One of my lifelong hobbies has been traveling in search of America’s roots. During these trips, I have always tried to primarily use State and local highways. That means going through many small towns. I have been through hundreds if not thousands of them and that very fact is causing me to re-think my route options. It is depressing to see a once prosperous small town now nothing more than an empty shell of abandoned buildings and a couple of occupied homes. In the last few trips I have taken, I went interstate highways for a good part of the trip. I think that may be the norm for this year’s trips.

A hundred years ago about 40% of the population worked on farms, now it is less than 2%. That is rightly called progress but it does have its consequences…

Austerity

The quote below got me to thinking about the “Common Good”. Does that term even mean anything now? Is Austerity now a permanent part of the world society?

Austerity simply means a lack of investment by societies in themselves, in people, in public goods. Things like healthcare, education, transport, energy, retirement, decent jobs, incomes, savings. The problem is that all those things are what underpin the stability of societies, by ensuring that prosperity is something that is realized by all — not just something greedily seized by a tiny few.

Source: How Austerity Ripped the World Apart

If you look it up on Wikipedia you will find that the term “Common Good” is also referred to as “general welfare”. I seem to remember some words about that.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The general welfare is part of the bedrock of our Constitution, so why is it seemingly forgotten now? Where are those who are promoting investments by societies in their citizens and their general welfare? Why must all the money flow to the top?

It used to be that providing for the public good was a Democratic Party thing, but I’m not so sure it is anymore. Like the GOP, the Democrats have been morphing into something very different in recent years. They now seem to be the party of almost solely representing every minority that they can find. What about the rest of us?

The Republicans are now the party of fear and pull-back. They think their future is in going back to an impossible time when things weren’t so complicated. They used to be about limited government and fiscal responsibility but now that the 1% pretty much control things in the GOP they have morphed into something else. What about the rest of us?

Where is the party that champions the public good and investment into our society and its future? Why has the constitutional right to healthcare, education, and infrastructure become abandoned principles?

The Other 90%

There seem to be all kinds of people who are trying to figure out why we have gotten into where we are in this world. Some point to one thing, some to another.  In my opinion, for what its worth, the reason below is one of the primary causes of our current madness.

[They say] Capital was for capitalists — everyone would be better off that way! LOL. What really happened was as predictable as it was grim — capitalists took all the capital they could possibly get their hands on, plundering society after society, and hid it in treasure chests buried around the world. But the result was that there now less capital for everyone less to spend, invest, utilize, share, exchange…

Source: https://eand.co/why-the-world-is-burning-with-fury-2c68df75f879

It’s hard to say just how much wealth is hidden in off-shore accounts because the ones hiding it are getting very good at it.  We do know that the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90% combined and that is as high as it has ever been in this country! That alone should shock us.

We have seen this, especially in the US. The Republican party who contains the big majority of extremely wealthy capitalists have been promoting this for 100+ years. My hero Will Rogers had a lot to say about this subject almost a century ago. Will the 90% ever learn that lesson so that some of it will at least pass through their hands.

But the thing that amazes me the most is how the bottom 90% still cling to the idea that they will get their share if we continue as we are.  Trickle Down has been so ingrained in their psyche that many don’t even question it anymore. We need to understand that for the capitalists, it’s not about what the money can do, but instead about the bragging rites for how much that have compared to other capitalists. When will we ever learn??

Some say that “religion is the placebo for the masses” but I kinda think that “Trickle Down” is the kool-aid that too many of us blindly consume by the gallon is a more deadly placebo.

Self-Checkouts Kill Jobs

The graphic here came from one of my Facebook friends and I agree with her.  I know I am an advocate for automation but it is not always a good thing. This may be one of those times. Let me explain why.

I know there is a big chunk of our American society who just don’t have the skills to compete in our very technology-driven workforce. Some never learned to take learning as a lifelong goal. Some had learning beaten out of them at an early age. Some are just too lazy to do the work that learning requires.  

I also know that education levels vary very significantly between those who live in urban areas vs those in rural areas.  Much of that probably has to do with the lack of availability of education funding and adequate technology.  Education is definitely not an equal opportunity thing in the urban/rural debates.

If or maybe until all of us have skills not easily replace by automation, we need to keep a certain level of low skill jobs available. Supermarket checkouts should be part of that group.  

Getting to reason #3 on the above list, why would someone want to do all that work instead of letting someone else do it for them? 

What do you think?