The power of the negative: your choice

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In the coming election, which power will win -- the power of the ideas which made our nation great or the negative claims offered by critics of our government?

It might help to remember a song popular in 1945-46. Based on a sermon heard by one of the authors, it touched a much-needed chord of hope during and after World War II.

The chorus, "You've got to accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative, And latch on to the affirmative, Don't mess with Mister In Between."

As one who has studied the acceptance of ideas, take a look at the order of phrasing. Generally when an idea is presented, the persons who think it a bad idea begin to speak first. The more it threatens their thinking or position, the louder and more often their protests.

The more thoughtful look at the effects of the idea and may favor or oppose the proposal. One could say they "mess with Mister In Between."

It may be they looked at how to eliminate negative aspects an idea may have. At least the positive is listed first.

What does this say about elections? We have heard a barrage of the negative. For most of three decades, many speeches, charges have been made about "big government, over regulation, extravagant spending, takers, inefficiencies, criticism of the party in power, too much tax, and incompetence.

At every event, the "againers" point in blame against decisions and at every perceived weakness scream of incompetence with adjectives ad nauseum. Many, more observant than I, warn there is a purpose behind all this invective.

A few wealthy individuals and some in power in state legislatures, and segments of the political arena, are striving to increase their power, cut taxes to benefit them, reduce wages, eliminate unions and organizations, spend money and write laws that favor the wealthy and weaken any opposition to large corporations.

Their influence has worked behind the scenes to limit government regulation to protect the "rights" of corporations. Historically, some organizations believe it is their right to enrich their coffers with resources that, rightfully, belong to all.

Our great country has been successful, despite "robber barons" of the past and present, because of the wealth of our natural resources of soil, water, timber, coal, minerals and favorable climate. Concern for generations that follow is woefully lacking.

Many warn of danger in negatives that would keep certain groups from voting, eliminate programs designed to allow people to escape poverty, reduce wages and power of workers to organize or have control of working conditions, force people to live and work as they think we should, reduce taxes for education, health, security against catastrophe, regulation, research and anything they deem unnecessary.

There is a hidden agenda behind much of the opinion given by those who seek to control "big" government.

How can we have a government that has 50 states, three hundred million citizens, infrastructure that meets the real needs of our society, to say nothing of our perceived world leadership without "big" government?

The "hidden agenda" seen by many is turning services over to corporations on the premise they are more efficient than government. Review the statements you have heard about how inefficient, ineffective, incompetent, wasteful, unnecessary, expensive, etc., our government is.

Who is responsible for all these terrible results? Is it not those who have been elected or are seeking election? A better education system or new leaders might do wonders for good government.

Briefly, there is a movement to turn our prisons over to corporations. Some states are already doing so, and Missouri has begun the process.

Do you want your children and grandchildren under the control of a group that profits from their mistakes?

Public utilities are being switched to private business. Schools are shifting to "charter schools," some using facilities built with tax money.

Our post office system is being forced to spend $500 billion on pensions and benefits for workers; more than the Budget Office (the watchdog agency) says is necessary.

Who will protest when some legislator suggests the mail business be operated by a crony or a company that pays him or her with millions of taxpayer contributions?

Listen to the citizens of states that have tried these methods and you may want to consider more carefully how you will vote. Our neighbor state to the west is discovering that reducing taxes brings problems while others are in much worse conditions.

My experience contradicts this idea. With 16 plus years of public education, an equal amount of time as educator/public servant, I have observed many teachers who have sacrificed and given their life to help others. Many have been very effective in teaching members of my extended family, given their best. It is unfair to blame teachers when family or society fails.

It has also been my privilege to observe many public servants go an extra mile to assist someone in need. Turn the business of government over to corporations and you will see services deteriorate, harder to obtain and more expensive for those in less populated, harder to serve areas.

Perhaps we should "Accentuate the positive, eliminate the Negative," look at some "in between" positions. Try voting for those with positive attitude, concern for what is best, perhaps not most efficient, but most effective.

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