Everyone has to be somewhere

Chris Dunham, PDT Sports Writer

October 12, 2012

Dudley Wooten

Contributing Columnist

We all talk about the world’s problems, but what are we doing about them? Many of us have seen inflation and recession cycles, before, in the 70’s and 80’s. We saw cheaper gas at $1.00 a gallon and home mortgage interest rates at 18 percent. Obviously, this is reversed today with gas over $4.00 and rising and home mortgage interest rates at four percent. It seems, there always has to be an offsetting penalty to retard any progress. A few of us even saw the Depression, and they won’t forget it.

I have to wonder is we’ve lived and learned, or have we just lived? As we try to apply this to living today and/or planning the future. If we’re not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. Are we going to take part in providing or just wanting? Are we going to wish or do?

When I say we, I’m talking to and about the entire American spectrum. I mean everyone has to be somewhere in this big picture. It applies to individuals, small business, corporations, education, medicine, and government at all levels. What responsibilities does each have to make today and tomorrow better for America? Too many of us are only making decisions based on what’s in it for me. When we repeatedly take, it becomes selfish and we’re hurting someone else with our selfish decision. In the words of Charley Pride – “Some say life is rough, I wonder, compared to what? I’m just happy, with what I’ve got.”

When our wants exceed our needs we get into the realm of excess. How much can an American spoil himself until they’re harming another? Let’s look at me or any other small business. How much can we charge or misrepresent, until our reputation precedes us and people avoid us? How long can a small business not pay their bills or not do good work? Any fool can stay in business until the bills come due. What we’re talking about here is responsibility. Some of us can self-manage and some need the courts to keep them in line. This is what I’m saying – we’re all in this together. WE all talk and worry about the economy and debt at the national level mostly, but it starts at home.

Any level of government can be wise and productive, or it can be selfish and political. Every level of government has become far too caught up in the business of Republican vs. Democrat and what’s in it for me now, rather than what’s in it for the voter’s future. As goes the voter’s future, also goes America’s future. If they would all act and vote American, their parties would matter not. We can control our future by learning, knowing, and voting American. It’s your future, give it the thought and time it deserves – vote responsibly and vote American.

Let’s talk about education. Everyone complains about the low pay of teachers and the declining quality of American elementary and secondary education. None of us are impressed with the cost of college education or the jobs awaiting them upon graduation. I taught for 10 years, in a vocational/technical capacity as well at a university in the evenings. I entered and left that field with several basic thoughts. Teachers don’t make enough money, and many need evaluated closer. They’re holding us back from paying the productive ones more.

We have to treat schools like an industry. When a school system accepts the tax money to teach your child, they should be held accountable to produce a product. Your child should be prepared for the next level of education, vocation, etc. This is their responsibility. It is your responsibility to support their efforts. When I took the vocational/technical program instructor position, I knew I had to teach classroom and laboratory skills to produce a valuable product in the community. The real issue is that this is the minimum requirement for the job. We had guidance counselors and administrators, and we also had minimal applicants and 10 percent placement in the program. From my second through tenth year we had four times the applicants we could house and 100 percent placement.

What changed? I accepted and enjoyed developing a recruiting and placement plan. I was able to promote the program in three newspapers, and I developed a 25 member advisory committee. They told me what they, as employers, felt should be taught for local application, in the timber industry. This led to a specific and improved curriculum, and that, added to the visibility in the newspaper, created more students and even more jobs. The moral of the story is that it’s there, if you go after it. There is no reason to have a school or program if it doesn’t produce what its local tax dollar is paying it to do. The employers won’t be knocking on the door at the teacher’s lounge. This message is to administrators. Give responsibilities and incentives for teaching and placement to those who can handle it. Pay and expect more. Eliminate those who won’t. This is a fact of business.

What role do the banks pay in our station to life? I deal with a local bank as an individual and as a business. This assures me that their decisions and motivations are local. They don’t have to call Cleveland or Fannie Mae to get an answer. Banks can make or break the economy. They have to provide a complete and productive product to keep the local economy moving. This creates cash flow for all of us. The government can make or break the banks. We can make or break ourselves through our decisions in borrowing, spending, and investment. We’re all in this together.

We all have to be somewhere. This applies to our physical address and our station in life. You can be the hammer, or you can be the nail. I would hope you would be the American hammer. Be a productive part of the community and country, not just in November, but every day, with your decisions and actions. When we talk about National Debt, or recovery from recession, where is the end of the road? None of us know that, but we all do know this. If we plan and act wisely and productively today, it is likely tomorrow will be better. Let’s not rely on “if”, because “if wishes were horses, we would all ride,” and “if frogs had wings, there would be a lot less wear and tear on their butt when they landed.”

As united Americans, we will come out of this recession and get America back on her feet.