Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Poor and Carl Sandburg: a man for all seasons..especially Presidential Debates

PresidentiaThe Presidential debates go on and the comments on them go on 
and on and yet what have we learned?

The only theme that has really bothered me lately is the theme of 
entitlement…social security…Medicare…unemployment…   
Humorously these are not really entitlement programs that come 
from the government, they are programs paid for by the people 
weekly and monthly as they work…and yes the people are the 

Today we seem to think that people do not like to work, but many 
are working harder than ever before….working two part time jobs 
or three in some cases….jobs that have no retirement or health 

As a People we have allowed factories and better paying city jobs 
to lure us into driving miles to work.  Cars and gas now humble a 
person who has to commute to keep a job, especially if the job 
does not have health-care or retirement benefits.

And what of the elderly who worked all their life at jobs and still 
have benefits that are not enough to live on because of the inflation 
in the cost of our daily lives.

I wonder?  Could we be headed to the second Great Depression…. 
That idea becomes more of a thought and reality as the dust bowl 
lingers in places out west fraught with drought, and as factories 
shut down to move overseas.  Have these companies moved 
because they can get better workers or merely because they can get 
cheaper labor and less regulation?

Companies have taken to hiring temporary part-time workers to 
allow them to side step requirements to keep good workers and to 
actually keep these workers from entitlement programs that the 
company contributes to.  So... we are now complaining about 
giving extra money and food stamps to people to replace corporate 
or business contributions.

And Rural America…now insurance and hiring labor is being by-
passed by the use of huge machines that do the work of 10 men.  
Family farms that keep 30 or 40 cows forced out by large corporate 

Ironically the debate made me think of Carl Sandburg.  With Obama 
from the Chicago area, a man  doing the thing Carl believed could 
happen…a self-made man who rose from a poor beginning to 
becoming President of the United States.  And there opposite him 
in the debate a wealthy man’s child and a big businessman.

I thought of this poem written in Chicago by Sandburg when he 
started out....simply titled 

                                 “The Poor”

AMONG the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag 
and was amazed;
On the beach where the long push under the endless tide 
maneuvers, I stood silent;
Under the stars on the prairie watching the Dipper slant over the 
horizon’s grass, I was full of thoughts.

Great men, pageants of war and labor, soldiers and workers, 
mothers lifting their children—
these all I touched, and felt the solemn thrill of them.

And then one day I got a true look at the Poor, millions of the 
Poor, patient and toiling; more patient than crags, tides, and stars; 
innumerable, patient as the darkness of night—
and all broken, humble ruins of nations.

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