Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Concerned

I'm concerned about America's future. And what concerns me more is that I don't see much evidence that the our nation's leadership has a clue what to do or the gumption to do anything about it.

The trigger event for these thoughts was a statement Tony Dungy made about the low graduation rates of black males in Indianapolis. Even if the stat he cited was off a bit, the reality of growing numbers of males not graduating from high school is a fact. The net result will be increasing numbers of men either in prisons or or imprisoned in low paying jobs, with still more broken homes and more problems.

Meanwhile, I continue to read magazines that talk about how bright the future will be with robots serving us. "Everyone will have a personal robot," I once read. I say, "Bunko." Dumpster divers will not. Families living out of their 1992 Chevy will not. Those guys sleeping in doorways out in San Francisco will not. The forty million Americans living on food stamps will not.

The erosion of hope in getting their piece of the American Dream is part of the problem. The American Dream is, in part, built on the concept of deferred gratification. If I do my homework, if I keep on task in school, if I work hard, if I keep my nose to the grindstone, there will be a payoff somewhere down the road. The alternative is much, much easier.

Life is hard, but it is especially hard without hope.
I mention the robot article only because it seems that there are so many magazine articles that are written as if this growing population of marginalized people did not exist.
Last month I had purchased airline tickets to bring my daughter home for the upcoming holidays. Having questions I asked the computer voice to let me talk with customer service, whereupon I was connected to someone in India who could barely speak English. I finally asked where he was located and he indicated that he was not permitted to say. In other words, the airline wanted to give the impression that they were not exporting jobs overseas. So, a few minutes later, when asking if my daughter will be checking her luggage, he said, "That will be 25 rupees a bag. I mean, dollars." Hilarious and sad at the same time.
The need for computer programmers and people with technical skills is still great in this country. And the salaries being doled out for talent in that area can be quite significant. But you can be sure these open positions are not going to be filled by dropouts. And these are the ones that concern me, and their children.... and their children's children.


LEWagner said...

Are you saying that there would be less customer service-telemarketing jobs sent to India if the black male from Indiana would get back in touch with the American Dream?
I don't see that it would help at all -- Even white college graduates with years of experience are being laid off and losing their homes to the Reagan Revolution. (Less intrusive government, leading directly to self-regulation for the mega- corporations and banks.)
For the great majority of Americans, the American dream is dead, gone, and over. It's not the fault of the high school dropouts in Indiana.
The blame belongs with the greedy and self-satisfied -- those with the attitude of "Don't tax me to help pay for your schools, job programs, or anything else. Because I've already got mine, through 100 percent self-reliance (yup, yup, sure!), and to heck with the rest of you."
The tree is bearing its bitter fruits.

ENNYMAN said...

Not exactly meaning that.
The dropouts are a symptom, and yes the American Dream has become a farce for an increasing portion of our society. The "dream" of opportunity in America still lives on in places like Pakistan and Korea where they students go to school, become doctors and end up in places like Duluth.
There is a disconnect between the wealthy and poor here, though, and I do get concerned that the causes of impoverishment are not being addressed. Capitalism "accepts" that a certain percentage of people will be marginalized... But what happens when that percent keeps rising? Where is the tipping point? The situation is worsening for sure, especially with no places or spaces left for the marginalized to be.

LEWagner said...

"The situation is worsening for sure, especially with no places or spaces left for the marginalized to be."

If they have no place to hole up in, they can sleep in their jackets. If they have no bread to eat, they can eat cake.
I see the Republicans and Tea Partiers want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest 1-2 percent of Americans who already control 25 percent of the wealth. And deny an extension of unemployment benefits.
And call any job stimulus programs "Marxist".
And call themselves "Christians".
It looks explosive to me ... but you've got your police, plus heavy-duty force-fed meds to keep any malcontents in order, so maybe things will be OK, after all.
It's not going to look good in the history books, though.

ENNYMAN said...

>>>And call any job stimulus programs "Marxist".<<<<

Yes, there is a serious problem with the rhetoric, labeling etc. and unfortunately its across the board. Both GOP & Dems use the rhetoric to help strengthen their fan base/consituencies not for the purpose of solving problems or building constructive dialogue, but for the aim of getting re-elected and maintaining power.

I simply wished to say I was concerned. If someone sees a basis for hope, I am open to hearing it. Otherwise I would rather talk about something else.