Politics continue dragging us down
Editor, News editors from across the nation and around the world sent their best reporters to gather facts, figures and opinions from and about people whose behavior our cultural elites are ill equipped, by their STEMbased educations, to understand and in their frustration call us deplorable.
That is, in particular, the overwhelming, almost-worshipful support for Donald Trump and his promise to “Make America Great Again!” The truth of the matter is that America is great, but it isn’t great where Interstates 80 and 81 intersect, a place that time forgot and anthropologists call the anthracite cultural region.
Scattered across this great nation are other failed societies, where suffering people lead unhappy, meaningless lives of quiet desperation. But I don’t live there, I live in a patch-town where old drunks and young druggies gather on bar stools and argue about how General Motors wanted to build a plant, but the coal barons kept them out. Local opinion doesn’t explain why Lancaster County has one of our nation’s highest qualities of life and Luzerne has one of the lowest.
Our story has many chapters and can best be understood through a study of the liberal arts; psychology and philosophy, history and anthropology, literature and art. Science teaches how life lives; the liberal arts teach us how to live a life.
You can take people out of the dark, but how do you take the dark out of the people? Our story begins during the Dark Ages that still live in the black hearts and dead souls of too many area people, especially among our predatory political barons who suck the life force out of area people like vampires.
What the region lacks most is principled, moral leadership; what Abraham Lincoln called, “a government of the people.” What we have instead are local governments basked on the power principle, a form of political gangsterism.
Every cultural has an ethos which is the unwritten, unspoken understanding of how things are done. One of the most recent examples is the convicted felon who got a job in Hazleton government.
The power resides in the “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” ethos. Take care of your own — and your own doesn’t mean us “John No’s” referred to as “dirtbags” and other insulting names by the political establishment.
Another example is the mother on the school board whose son got a do-nothing, know-nothing job as assistant principal — a practice that defines the school dis- trict. Among the district elitists, people outside the clique are referred to as “carpet baggers” and classroom teachers are mocked as “fools” or “peasants.”
When I was a young teacher, I was told by one of my elders that “it takes seven years for a teacher to die.” I didn’t understand, but I’m not young any more, and I have this advice. “If you’re not crazy for becoming a teacher in the beginning you’ll be as nutty as a fruit cake in the end,” and I can testify to that in both instances.
The most disgusting example is under the mantra of “making people safe” whereby local politicians conspire with members of law enforcement and union leaders to stoke people’s fears and anxieties for votes. They impose unreasonably long prison sentences for minor non-violent crimes, to create good-paying jobs for politically connected local voters, and that’s immortal and criminally insane.
Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp, but for us the problem is closer to home. A more detailed explanation, as to why our region is failing, can be found in an article, “The Cesspool Syndrome: How dreck floats to the top of declining organizations.” It’s available on the internet.
Joseph Woitko, Beaver Meadows