Sunday, August 28, 2011


Thursday morning I was reading The South Bend Tribune, as I do each day, and was struck by an article titled “Food program for youths grows”. I suspect that similar articles are appearing in newspapers across the country, because with the economy in the pits there is an exploding need for food assistance. Please take a few minutes of your valuable time to read this article and then continue to read my growing concerns about this situation.,0,6636493,print.story

OK, thanks for reading this local story. Do you have similar reports in your community too? Let me express my concern, and please understand that I am supportive of charity and assisting those in need, but at the same time I am a very strong advocate of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, individual responsibility and accountability.

I grew up as a child of the Great Depression when there was a great need for assistance with massive unemployment far greater than we are currently experiencing. At that time the family unit was much stronger and more prevalent than it is today. Salary levels of that time cannot be compared to those of today, but I remember that my Dad never made more than $10,000 per year in his lifetime. We were considered an upper-middle class family and lived in a rented apartment, but we had to watch our expenditures all the time. Mother, employed as a Registered Nurse prior to my birth, was home until I attended high-school when she returned to private duty nursing.

I also remember upon graduating from college way back in 1956, after serving four years in the Air Force during the Korean War, I was delighted to secure a job paying $100.00 per week. My goal in life then was to make $10,000 per year, feeling I would have a secure future for my family at that level. Of course life has changed dramatically, inflation has changed the playing field, and salaries increased dramatically over the decades.

During the Great Depression local churches and extended family units joined together to protect and provide for one another, because governments at the local, state, and federal levels did not provide much for those in need.

Since that time our politicians in an effort to attract the votes of the needy stepped in offering more and more support and our welfare entitlement programs are now extensive. The cost of these programs has now reached a level that is unsustainable, and I think a class of citizens has been created who expect total dependence upon government for their complete existence and subsistence.

The family unit is shattered today; local churches have fewer members and are overwhelmed by the current needs of their congregations. It is your Commander’s opinion that we are now the victims of a political structure that created a cradle to grave entitlement mentality in so many. Add to that the lack of sufficient jobs to support the population, we have big troubles ahead.

In my day we never even had a lunch room in elementary schools (K thru 8) in Chicago and walked home for lunch every day. (By the way, not uphill both ways.) There were no school busses and we walked the streets of the city without fear. Times have changed and a kinder gentler time is behind us. We did not have rampant drugs, gangs, high levels of crime, broken family units, massive illegal immigration, and dysfunctional schools.

Why does the word shame no longer carry a negative connotation? Where is the pride of family, self and country that once ruled our daily lives? Our greedy politicians and far too many of our fellow Americans are abusing a political overly generous welfare system, and have no shame today. Considering the state of our economy and partisan politics we are experiencing the deterioration of our once cherished pride.

We now have yearly drives for supplies to give backpacks to kids to go to school where they are fed breakfast, lunch and now sent home with food for the weekend. HELLO…needy? Isn’t the family getting food stamps, government subsidized housing, and Medicaid to mention a few? Families can go to local food banks, receive clothing and other items from charities, and get utility assistance all often without having to provide proof of need.

In the meantime the “head of household” all too often is buying cigarettes (have you seen the price of cigarettes today, never mind that health issue?); buying alcohol; probably has purchased one or more tattoos (more to come?); may have additional piercings beyond one in each ear; likely loves getting pregnant to increase entitlement payments; may own a car; have at least one big screen Hi-Def TV; cable TV service; cell phones; and the list goes on.

My wife relates a true story about her uncle and his young family. He was an outstanding soccer player in Scotland as a 17 year old in the late 1940s and was offered a contract to play professionally in what we would term a “farm team,” with the potential to play in the “big leagues.” His parents and brothers had moved to Chicago between 1947 and 1949 and he made the decision to follow the family instead in1950.

He worked hard from the time he arrived in the US from Scotland, married, had three children, and his first heart attack (very serious) at the age of 32 when the kids were ages 4 to 9. When the family looked to the State of Illinois for assistance, they were DENIED because they had an old used car and owned one television set. Uncle Pete’s parents, brothers, and friends stepped in to help them out the best they could. It took a while to recover, he did go back to work, and sadly had a fatal heart attack at age 36.

Today children are fighting obesity and riding busses to ineffective schools. Yes, the world has changed, but certainly some of us old coots do not think it is always for the better.

Where and when is this welfare entitlement mentality going to end? Who is going to pay for it, and is this what this country really wants as THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE? What we have today is clearly not what was intended by our visionary Founding Fathers.

What do you think?


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