Technology…isn’t it grand…isn’t it wonderful…isn’t it great? Yeah, if you’re talking about computers or other electronically-manipulated equipment. There doesn’t seem to be any dispute about how the personal computer has changed much of the world. Old folks, like me, can get on the internet and look up anything they want in a matter of seconds…a couple of minutes at the most. We go to the movies and see things on the screen that are incomprehensible…but we could believe them because there they are! Clyde in California can send an email to Louie in London in a matter of minutes, and the message will never see the inside of a postal service facility.
But…when was the last time you actually saw service tradesmen (or women) doing their job? Oh sure, there are projects going on all the time, and I watch them going up, or out as the case may be. When was the last time you took a pair of shoes in to get them half, or full, soled? Is there still a bakery in your neighborhood, where the bakers are all from a family? From what I’ve been able to gather, membership in trade unions is going down, steadily each year, and not because the money isn’t good because it is. I used to belong to a union, for ten years. When you leave, you take your “book” with you, and that book shows where you worked, for how long and what you got paid.
For four out of the ten years I was either unemployed or on strike…no, not all at once, but over the course of the years. Out of work more than working struck me as being not a good thing and when I left my goal was to start my own business, which I did.
Recently a reason came up for me to build shelves in my “office”. I called several phone numbers in the book and discovered that most of them no longer were in business. The ones that were still operating couldn’t even get to me for over a week to just give me an estimate…they were that busy. Finally one came by, and handed me an estimate that just about floored me, even given the rise in the price of materials. So, the decision was made for me to do it myself. It turned out pretty nice, for about half the quoted price.
Why am I telling you this? Because, as a nation, we are losing the ability to build things…to make things, and to make things better. If we are not makers, we are takers, and should something go wrong, really wrong, in the world…we are going to be screwed.
How long do you think we could last with most of our clothing and household goods coming from China and the Pacific countries? How long do you think our oil reserves would keep us going until new refineries could be built and tested, if the muddled Middle East goes down the tubes entirely? Even some of the medications that I take come from foreign countries…friendly now, but who knows where they would be when push comes to shove? It’s been noted here, several times, that former friends are now potential enemies and former enemies are now our strong allies…a mixed up world indeed.
If the Twentieth Century belonged to the United States, will we surrender our leadership to another country during this century? Even now, China is building islands, yes, they’re building islands in the South China Sea in order to expand their claim to territorial waters. ABC News reported that “The United States has called for an immediate end to China’s intensifying reclamation works in the South China Sea and vowed to continue sending military aircraft and ships to the tense region.”
The US Navy regularly patrols the open, international, waters…but if the Chinese government declares that their claim extends further and further we could wind up flying over sovereign waters. It wouldn’t be the first time that unarmed patrol planes, and even passenger airliners, have been shot down…and, even the United States has done it. Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai. On 3 July 1988, the aircraft operating this route was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. The incident took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the flight’s usual flight path. The aircraft, an Airbus A300 B2-203, was destroyed by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from Vincennes. Mistakes are made, but when you deliberately, and perhaps unlawfully, claim more international waters than you’re allowed, something’s got to give.
Did it surprise anyone that our school kids are losing ground to children of Asian, or Indian, backgrounds? The recent National Spelling Bee was a tie, and both winners were of Indian background…and when I say Indian I don’t mean from this country. We have to call them Native Americans…which brings me to political correctness and that’s a whole other story, for another time.
Wake up America…we’re losing ground.
Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired, www.AirHumanityRadio.net