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January 10, 2013

Bootstraps and the Three Rís

Harry M. Covert

It can be rather tough for us columnists and commentators and know-it-alls, carrying the weight of affairs on our shoulders. Somehow we manage. It’s troubling to this space-filler that humor and laughter seem to have been lost through our daily travails and worries about which charitable group we’re going to contribute.


Instead of solving matters, the idea has become to throw money at the difficulties. Everybody feels good and we keep on doing the self-gratification.


Now, let me say here and now, I’m a sincere believer in helping others. I’m glad to see all of the photos in the Frederick prints about all of the people running, cooking, fixing and repairing, building houses, sweeping off sidewalks for neighbors, delivering Meals-on-Wheels and scholarships of all sort. These are all good things and important to our communities. Plaudits to one and all.


Everyone has a special project and should. Sure makes for good neighbors. If a lot of people just give a little, a lot can be done. A fellow once told me that in my early years and I’ve worked with that in efforts around the world, most recently in Haiti.


Without question charitable organizations make a fantastic difference in the lives of people around the world with food, medical supplies, clothes and education. They also make a big difference in our local projects. It’s always a bother to me when politicians get involved and like to prance around saying government shouldn’t be involved in financially helping its less fortunate citizens. It’s a galling thing to hear such stupid comments that people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Or, go out and get a job. Hogwash of the first order.


Stories abound that people get into drug sales because the pay is much higher than the minimum wage. I know of one guy who served a long prison sentence for traffic offenses. A hard worker, not a thief, he landed a menial job with a grocery chain. After two weeks, the store manager lauded him for his good work ethic. A few days later, he was fired because he had a record. No bootstraps here.


It’s a galling thing that local-state-national agencies designated to provide meals for shut-ins more often than not don’t deliver the food on weekends or holidays, or don’t open libraries for the public on the same public holidays. In a land where food is in overwhelming abundance, where money flows to the envy of those from around the world, and where government always has the money to do whatever and whenever it wants. There is no rhyme nor reason for anyone to go hungry, to be homeless or not to have clothes in our community.


One of the reasons the Congress and the president had a knockdown drag out over the “fiscal cliff” is the people – the voters – did not want to give up or cut such things as Social Security and Medicare. That’s government spending. We hear of the special congressional projects – a multi-million-dollar bridge to no-where, moving government agencies to various areas and the list can go on. Why shouldn’t millionaires pay more taxes?


After the horrible Haiti earthquake, a billion dollars was raised by governments to rebuild the island nation. The billion dollars are still in the bank and charities are doing the work. It’s a mess there.


It’s unimaginable that the Congress dragged its heels for the devastated cities in New Jersey and New York. I’m not so sure the delay in federal funding isn’t criminal and somehow the elected could be called derelict in their duties. After the Republican governor of New Jersey and the GOP/Democratic congressmen vehemently criticized their colleagues for lack of action, federal help was provided. This was not New Orleans of a few years past.


Compared to those holding elected positions, it’s not fair that used car salesmen, talking heads in the broadcasting arena, newspaper columnists and card sharks be given such low public ratings. I’ve almost forgotten to include the weather wizards – forecasters. I usually just look out the window to determine if the sun’s shining or we’re having liquid sunshine.


Frugality and living within budgets are important to every citizen. If people are hungry in our city and county and country, feed them. If people are sick, send them to a doctor or hospital. If people need clothes, dress them. And, probably one of the most important, educate everyone in the three Rs – not like the cowboys’ ridin’, ropin’ and raising a ruckus – but reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.


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