The word fear is being used a lot lately in all forms of media and I guess it is time for me to make a contribution.
But first I need to set the stage. I am 75 years old, the oldest of three, and was born into a family business of a dance hall and restaurant called the Silver Slipper in Birmingham, Alabama.
My father, a first generation Sicilian American, had to quit school in the third grade to become a water boy in a steel mill to help support his family. My mother was the oldest of 13 and was simply dirt poor, and had to quit school in the tenth grade to go to work. The reason for this history is to ensure that you understand the concept of a work ethic. My parents were adamant that all three of us went to college so we could have a better life than they had. They were also adamant that we believed as they did, that you had to work hard to be successful. The harder you worked the better your chances of being a success. They taught us that we were responsible for our outcomes in life. People were not going to give us things that we didn’t earn.
My fear began with the election of Barack Obama and his socialist philosophies. He had never worked in what some would call a ‘real job’ and he used a scary term called ‘redistribution of wealth.’ I didn’t really know what to think about this as he seemed like a nice person with a good heart, and I thought we could ride it out and still be the country of opportunity.
The national debt began to create my concern for our future. Then enter Senator Bernie Sanders as a Presidential candidate in the last election. Now, Sanders is an avowed liberal socialist and everybody is entitled to a philosophy, but what created my fear for the future of our country were the thousands and thousands of people that became such strong supporters of the Bernie agenda. Free college, free, low or no cost health care, free, free, free. What on earth were these people thinking? Who would pay for all this free stuff as we all know very few things are actually free?
Now I am hearing another word being used by a lot of people in the media—entitlement! It is used in many circumstances, health care, reproductive care, education, food, basic life needs and others.
This seems like people are asking for and expecting redistribution of wealth so that the Federal Government will be responsible for taking money from people that have worked hard to earn it, and giving it to people that haven’t. I know, I know there are exceptions to this but the sheer numbers of people supporting Bernie can’t all be exceptions. I just read a statement that I would like to share and I don’t know who said it, but it is appropriate for this opinion piece. “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.”
There are a lot of people that share my parent’s, my wife’s parent’s and our work ethic as evidenced by the recent election. They are ranchers, farmers, loggers, miners, factory workers and so many other honorable professions that one candidate called a “basket of deplorables,” which was an unfortunate comment. Some of the liberal self proclaimed intellectual elite referred to these folks as the uneducated white blue collar group, which is totally inaccurate. In fact they are people with a strong work ethic and it looks like there are quite a few of us.
My wife and I are strong supporters of our church and its missions, the Bitter Root Land Trust, The Bitterroot Water Forum, SAFE, Haven House and other organizations that are dedicated to helping people that need assistance, but the big difference is, it is our choice to contribute our money, not under the Fed’s control.
So my message to many of you that feel entitled. I don’t see your name on our income tax form as a dependent. You didn’t call us to ask for advice before you made an unwise decision that resulted in you being in a tough situation where you need help. In almost all cases you are responsible for your situation.
So, do I have fear for our country and its future? Yes I do!
– Veto J “Sonny” LaSalle, Hamilton