It’s a new year, and we’ve been trying to find new topics for our columns.
In reviewing the columns over the past few years, we wrote against racism and animal cruelty. But, there’s still racism and animal cruelty, so we’ll still have to speak out on these critical social issues.
We wrote about tolerance and the acceptance of all races and religions. But, a large number of Americans apparently didn’t get the message, so we’ll have to try harder this year.
We wrote about the continued destruction of the environment and of ways people are trying to save it. Environmental concern is greater, but so is the ignorant prattling of those who believe global warming is a hoax.
We wrote against government corruption, bailouts, tax advantages for the rich and their corporations, governmental waste, and corporate greed. But, since they still exist, we’ll have to continue speaking against those as well.
We wrote about the effects of laying off long-time employees and of outsourcing jobs to “maximize profits.” But until Americans realize that “cheaper” doesn’t necessarily “better,” we’ll continue to have to write why exploitation knows no geographical boundaries.
We wrote in support of the rights of workers, for better working conditions and benefits at least equal to their managers. We didn’t expect to see anything change, but we were hopeful that a small minority of business owners who do respect the worker would influence the rest. Until that happens, we’ll still have to write about labor issues.
We wrote in support of helping the unemployed, the homeless, those without adequate health coverage—and against the political lunatics who continue to deny the disenfranchised and marginalized the basics of human life. Unfortunately, not much has changed over the past few years.
For many years, we had written about the need for health reform. At the end of last year, Americans got a partial victory, but there is still much more that needs to be done.
We wrote against the media’s fixation with celebrity skanks and scandals. We doubt anything will change this year, but we’ll still comment upon the media’s neglect of what’s important—and their fascination with what isn’t.
We wrote about why newspapers and magazines died, why the rest have downsized their staffs and the quality of their news product. We doubt anything will change this year, but we still have to bring the issues to the public.
We wrote about problems in the nation’s educational system, especially the failure to encourage intellectual curiosity and respect the tenets of academic integrity. But there are still those who believe education is best served by a program manacled by teaching-to-the-test mentality.
We had written forcefully against the previous president and vice-president when they strapped on their six-shooters and sent the nation into war in a country that posed no threat to us, while failing to adequately attack a country that housed the core of the al-Qaeda movement. We wrote about the Administration’s failure to provide adequate protection for the soldiers they sent into war or adequate and sustained mental and medical care when they returned home. We wrote about the Administration’s belief in the use of torture and why it thought it was necessary to shred parts of the Constitution. Fortunately, last year, we saw a new administration that recognizes that torture is not only wrong but counter-productive to acquiring good information, and that the Constitutional fabric of the United States must be preserved, no many how many threats are made upon it. Unfortunately, at all levels of government, Constitutional violations still exist, and a new year won’t change our determination to bring to light these violations wherever and whenever they occur.
The hope we and this nation had for change we could believe in, and which we still hope will not die, has been diminished by the reality of petty politics, with the “Party of No” and its raucous Teabagger mutation blocking social change for America’s improvement.
We really want to be able to write columns about Americans who take care of each other, about leaders who concentrate upon fixing the social problems. But we know that’s only an ethereal ideal. So, we’ll just have to hope that the waters of social justice wear down, however slowly, the jagged rocks of haughty resistance.
[Dr. Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues columnist, former newspaper investigative reporter and editor, and journalism professor. His latest book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush. Rosemary Brasch is a former secretary, Red Cross national disaster family services specialist, labor activist, and university instructor of labor studies.]