What Comes Next?

Nor' east Thinkin'

Greater turmoil is ahead; It's as clear as what you see through shards of a broken window

Published on: November 22, 2011

Last week, I closed with “If we have morphed into a Greater Recession, we’re entering into another era of civil unrest and violence.” I absolutely detest closing on such a negative note, and I resist it with every fiber of my positive mind. But sometimes, the ugly, unvarnished truth must be bared.

This week confirmed that the Congressional Super Committee wasn’t so super. The club of 12 was just another pack of politicians with yet another failed delivery. It was just as ineffective as President Obama’s gang of six.

All were charged with great responsibility. Instead of being statesmen, they fell to being mere politicians lacking the skills and courage to resolve America’s growing financial debacle. Now I understand why Rome burned as Nero fiddled away. Our nation’s leaders are diddling for dollars. 

What does this have to do with agriculture and you?

You and I, in agriculture, are the hard-working exceptions of the American populace. As we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this week, we have so much to be thankful for. As our nation’s food-producing industry, we are an island of relative prosperity amid a sea of economic struggle.

We can keep so busy planning, planting, harvesting, feeding the livestock, fixing machinery . . . (or, in my case, writing articles, planning meetings, working in ag-related groups . . .), that we can ignore what’s happening all around us – to family members, friends, people within our communities that aren’t so fortunate.

Aside of farmland values, your retirement investments are still in the tank. While employment is crawling higher at a snail’s pace due to part-time holiday season jobs, full-time, permanent U.S. employment is far from being healthy.

Home values are still plummeting. Distressed home sales account for 30% of all sales. Some 29% of home sales are all-cash – meaning last-ditch desperation sales!

Rising outrage is our greatest danger

Right now, the media’s “talking heads” characterize the Tea Partiers and the Occupiers as separate minority movements. But both are united on one issue – outrage over how greed and corruption – congressional and corporate – have compromised America’s future.

As 79-year-old Los Angeles Occupier Lucy Horwitz put it recently, “”What brings me out here is outrage – outrage with what’s going on in this country. The first issue on my mind is that corporations can buy congressmen.”

Stark income inequities, lack of available full-time jobs, families with low-paying jobs and still needing food stamps will only stir more unrest. Federal fiscal irresponsibility teamed with more regulations piled on top of regulations will only stir more unrest. That, fueled by the decline in personal moral responsibility, is a volatile mix.

Just as in the 1920’s and 1960’s, Uncle Sam’s failure to lead will only give anarchists better footing and strong voices. In fact, some of those prominently involved in the 1960s are already urging uprisings and inciting civil disobedience.

Are you fearful of this? You should be. It explains why my mild-mannered Christian neighbor bought – and, yes, registered – his first automatic handgun this year. He greatly fears what might happen to our society if we continue on our current down-spin.

Yes, I, too, bought my first semi-automatic this year, for the same reason – personal protection. This growing fear also explains the dramatic rise in gun sales in recent years.

The real America has yet to wake up to the growing risks. And when we do, you, too, will be mad as hell. But we must work much harder at holding our leaders accountable instead of resorting to violence.

Civil disobedience and riots are not incomprehensible. But unless we learn from history, we’re destined to repeat the same mistakes!

This week, you and I must be sure to count our blessings. But we all must also understand that they come with the responsibility to make sure our country’s leaders live up to their even greater responsibility – to guide or nation’s course back to economic prosperity – for all, not just a favored few.

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