George Washington tears up. Source: Dreamstime.com.

Last week, following January 6, I expressed my concern for our country, our government and its leaders. After that article, I decided I needed some time to think about what I had just witnessed. My plan was to wait until after the Inauguration to resume my commentary. As I said then, “I am confused.”

Among many questions, I find the two foremost in my mind are “Who?” and “Why?” I see them of equal importance. With the continuing reports of more violence being threatened, I am going to practice what I preach by continuing to speak out.

When I was twelve, still young enough to be leaning over the back of the front car seat between my parents, I remember Mom and Dad discussing what I would later understand was a bitter pill for many in the South–school desegregation.

I tell you this because what my father said stuck with me and was a major part of “being brought up right.” As I remember, he simply said, “it’s the law.” Although desegregation did not come to my South Carolina school until after I graduated in 1960, I never heard my father speak against it–it was the law.

The unsettling period when I first lost some of my faith in the Government that could have, at least, brought me to become a protester, was at the beginning of the first term of the Obama administration–a traumatic time in my life.

Call it what you want–“The Great Recession,” “The Collapse of the Real Estate Bubble”–whatever. I call it what it meant to me–“a financial disaster.” I was among thousands who lost their homes to foreclosure. Big banks and others had taken even more of us on a costly ride. Coincidentally, the same big banks, Wall Street and the “well-connected” made millions.

What really got me, and has been stuck in my craw, is that not one person was convicted–not a single soul. However, in my opinion, they broke the law and sent millions of homeowners into undeserved hard times. Take a look at how the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, made his millions, while millions were losing their homes.

Let me pause right here. I’m not by any means trying to throw fuel on the fire. I’m trying to help myself and others understand by illustration the “Who” and “Why.” What if I had been a store clerk, a farmer, the guy at the service station or a school teacher? I’m losing my home. What do I tell my children, and where do I go? Then I see Walmart’s Walton Family, making one hundred million dollars every day–yes, every day. That’s just one illustration.

Now, add an individual tragedy–a car repossessed, a sick child, a sick spouse, a job loss. What do people do? They get mad, but how mad? Maybe January 6, 2020, gave us a clue.

Okay, we sit back and say, “None of that should bring on what we saw on January 6.” I certainly agree, but down deep I am asking myself, how much can people take. In 1776, our forefathers couldn’t take it any longer.

Again, and, please believe me, by no means can I condone carrying any grievance to the level we just saw in our nation’s capital. I must, however, ask us all to stop and put ourselves in the place of the guy at the service station. He has been doing his best, but now he is waiting in line at the food bank. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

It’s easy to sit back and look down on the homeless or mentally ill, but push back from your dinner table and try to think what you would do if you were the guy at the service station or even harder to imagine–homeless. I cannot possibly imagine myself coming to a point of frustration strong enough to lead me to join a mob or riot. However, January 6 proved that many are, in fact, at that point.

Thousands felt so strongly that they made their way from all over the land to be involved in a national disgrace. The really scary thing to me is that those thousands were a small percentage of people who feel the same way.

All those people were not just “not brought up right”. They were tired, angry and frustrated to the point that they were easily led by a 2020 “would-be” dictator. The right man to wrongly take them down an unprecedented path that finally brought them to storm the Capitol. They were led to protest an election, but was that what they were really protesting? I think not.

This country’s problems go much, much deeper than Trump. We could all come up with a priority list of what we see as our biggest failures. I firmly believe if each of our collective problems could be dissected by an impartial, non-political body, the bottom line would lead back to one issue–INEQUALITY.

Labels or titles don’t bother me much, so call me what you want. I think of myself as an old man with my share of common sense.
I don’t understand greed. Who needs $100,000,000.00 a day? The CEO compensation has risen 940% since 1978! The Worker compensation has risen only 12% during the same time! My common sense tells me that’s not right, nor is the way the wealthy are taxed.

I think you get my point and forgive me if I have stepped on any toes. Now, like no other, is a time we need to speak up. Please don’t be part of a “silent majority.” Let your voice be heard, and, hopefully, under a fair and caring administration, much-needed changes can be made.

KEEP WEARING YOUR MASK…….6 feet apart.