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Wavelengths By Jim Kempton
By Jim Kempton

By Jim Kempton

What has caused the rise of the angry American shouting out for justice today? It has surprised almost everyone who has seen both its inspiring message—of fairness, respect and equality— and its dark, ugly corollary. From both left and right, from Bernie to Donald, a chord has been struck that resonated with a large and geographically diverse group of our populace. Whether the accusations are aimed at corporate executives, government officials, tax dodgers, police tactics or the president; whether one thinks the cause is outsourcing, immigrants, Wall Street or a do-nothing Congress, there is one unifying consequence: economic loss.

The largest loss is blamed on the trade agreements that are perceived to have produced an oversized loss in jobs. If only it were so simple. The truth is, these agreements are meant to help us, and free trade does have an overall positive effect. We get cheap goods both from abroad and at home from these deals. The theory that NAFTA and numerous other trade agreements provide new markets for our own goods and services is sound. But theory does not take into account the time it takes to fully realize the fruits of an agreement. If it takes 20 years for a market to develop or a program to show dividends, it has little value to the generation that is struggling now. And that is, in my opinion, precisely the problem. American workers have been the recipients of the pain involved in these transitions, and the top management and elites have been its beneficiaries.

The forces that have driven lower-income Americans’ rage and anger exhibited at Trump rallies are not unfounded. The elite are too unrestrained, the decisions lawmakers make are not representative of ordinary citizens, immigrants without papers do affect the work force and the corporations who take their jobs overseas are guilty of a greed our social culture now seems to celebrate.

Closing factories, stores and other places where working-class Americans could get good jobs does affect the health of a community. Losing homes, businesses, educational opportunities are harmful to our social fabric. Pride, self-worth and the ability to assist your children for a better life are all critical human desires; their loss can cause despair and anxiety.

Of course, the public sector has its limits on what can alleviate this crisis. Increased efficiency and oversight should be a priority for government programs. And it is obvious that self-reliance and a positive attitude along with perseverance and pluck are catalysts required for any economic progress.

The Donald is hardly the person to lead the nation in this (or any other) dilemma.

He is simply exploiting the fears and fanning the fires of resentment, anxiety and selfishness—hardly the recipe for progress. Shutting down your government or attacking your institutions is no formula for improving the situation—smashing our fragile global market or unraveling our critical security alliances is both dangerous and counterproductive.

But this populist uprising, this nativist hatred, this ethnic anger should not be ignored or disdained. It is a quandary Americans must deal with and it is perhaps the defining issue of our day: are we going to leave our damaged wagons on the trail or will we fix these broken wheels and all move on together?

Our own local community should take heed of this problem as well. Citizens must not turn their backs on these issues, and city leaders—whether elected, employed or appointed—must be cognizant of doing what is best for all and not just the powerful few. Our working class is in crisis, and our success is at risk when that crisis persists. We cannot ignore it, shame it or bludgeon it out of existence.

Jim Kempton is a writer, surfer and devoted lover of America. When he is happy he is a love bird when he is mad he is an angry bird. He’s been rich and he’s been poor. And rich is definitely better.

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily represent those of Picket Fence Media.

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comments (4)

  • We need to build NEW wagon wheels! We need to build BIG, beautiful, luxurious wagon wheels that take us ALL down the road. But don’t mistake this for nativist anger. The anger is at the “machine” to which the wheels are attached. The wheels on the left side AND the right side of the machine are broken, mainly because the drivers of the machine are greedy and short-sighted. It’s time for some new drivers, and it’s time for everyone to move the machine onwards and upwards together. 🙂

  • Since the SCT will not print my letter, I’ll just post it here:

    In response to Sandra Weaver and Jim Kempton’s editorials: it is axiomatic that character counts in a president.  It is one reason the public should be distressed at the thought of a Clinton presidency.  20 years ago William Safire called Hillary Clinton a congenital liar and since then she has only worked to enhance that reputation.  Some of her lies demonstrate why she is unfit and untrustworthy for the highest office.  As revealed by the FBI, she lied about her e-mail server, use of multiple devices (which her staff later destroyed with hammers), e-mailing classified material, and then there are her lies to the American people as well as the families of the slain about Benghazi. 
    Her entire public life has been one of continuous scandal and corruption from White Water to the Clinton Foundation.  As the First Lady, she harassed the women her husband abused to gain their silence, and as Secretary of State, signed off on the deal to allow the Canadians to sell to Russia 20% of Uranium mining capacity in the US.  Because Uranium is a strategic asset, it required state department approval. The Canadian executives who wished to sell their Uranium share made large donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling 2.35 million AND a Russian bank associated with the Kremlin gave Bill Clinton half a million dollars for a speech; shortly there after, Hillary gave her approval.
    Before voters pull the lever for Hillary, they should understand that with the Clintons, America is for sale to the highest bidder.
    For those concerned with the grid lock in Washington, Trump promises to be a welcome change for he has been a Democrat for as long as he has been a Republican and owes no special allegiance to either party. In addition, Hillary has already alienated a large percentage of the electorate by describing half of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables” and Bernie supporters as “uninformed basement dwellers”. How does she appeal to or represent them? 

    The reports of Trump’s reckless statements (often exaggerated) are far outdone by the reckless actions of Hillary.  Her cavalier attitude toward our nation’s national security has left her vulnerable to black mail and each week we hear of more wiki leaks that expose her lies and disregard for the law.  We cannot afford to have an individual under this kind of cloud taking office where from day one she presents our allies and foes a wounded presidency. Will these wiki leaks continue into her proposed term, another drip, drip, drip that cripples effective action? And what of HER comment as to the possibility of droning wiki leaks founder Julian Assange? 

    And for those who tout her experience, remember the mess of things she made in Libya.  Colonel Gaddafi, though a nasty brute, had ceased to be a threat to America but Hillary had him over thrown anyhow. Now, the region is a hotbed of terrorism and we lost four Americans including the first Ambassador killed on the job since 1988 because Hillary couldn’t be bothered to insure our people had adequate security.

    In the Navy, we used to call such behavior “demonstrated unreliability”.
    As we go to the poles this November, think about who will blackmail Hillary first, the Russians, Chinese, or Iranians? And is that a risk you wish to entertain?

  • Obama and Hillary are corrupt, and voter fraud is a real and serious phenomenon:

  • More on voter fraud:

    Project Veritas with voter fraud:

    Hacking of voting machines:

    From the above site: “The Heritage Foundation’s voter fraud database catalogues over 400 cases of proven voter fraud throughout America. Whether it be vote-buying, ineligible voting, false registrations, or fraudulent use of absentee ballots, the database makes clear that voter fraud is a real issue and one that must be effectively addressed—not denied, as some voter reform critics have done—in order to preserve the integrity of the electoral system.”

    The above site talks about candidates forced to leave races because they’ed been caught voting in multiple states, 8 of the 9/11 hijackers had illegally registered to vote, the more than 1000 felons who voted for Al Franken pushing him over the edge to victory (177 of these felons have been convicted of this voter fraud and another 66 await trial), the NAACP official headed for prison for voter fraud, and JFK became president as a result of voter fraud.

    2 of the examples in the above post are repeats of examples found further up.

    The below quote from the above link:

    Finally, it is worth noting that Attorney General Holder’s contention that Voter ID laws are unnecessary was dealt an embarrassing blow in early 2012, when James O’Keefe — a 28-year-old, white investigative journalist — posted online a video of himself walking into the polling place in Holder’s District of Columbia precinct, falsely identifying himself as Eric Holder — a highly prominent 61-year-old African American — and asking for a ballot so he could vote in the Democratic primary which was being held that day. The video shows a poll worker responding to O’Keefe’s request by willingly offering him Holder’s ballot and making no effort to verify the young man’s identity.

    The site above also has other helpful links to voter fraud issues including those demonstrating that even many third world nations require a photo ID to vote. The below is one link discussing vote fraud on a large scale:

    Here is just ONE of the examples listed on this site:

    A CBS affiliate’s evidence of voter fraud in Colorado in September sparked an immediate investigation by Secretary of State Wayne Williams. A report in Denver exposed multiple incidents in recent years where dead Coloradans were still voting. A dead World War II veteran named John Grosso voted in a 2006 primary election, and a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Mrs. Sosa’s husband Miguel died in 2008, but a vote was cast in his name one year later.

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