Peter 'Fish' Case: Life is hard - let's work harder to overcome the greed and corruption

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The issues we struggle with on a day-to-day basis are self-created. It doesn't matter what the issue is — national politics, the big box stores and corporations crushing our communities, coddling our kids to the point where raindrops can't hit them. All of these problems we sign onto and practically endorse. We continue to shrug and move on because frankly it's inconvenient to push back, or it's not your problem. Well, it is your problem, it's my problem and we're creating a new standard that we frankly won't be able to undo. I can't even say it's walking us backwards, because if it was, things would be getting better, not worse.

I recently read a story about a teacher in Florida who was fired for giving students who didn't hand in a homework assignment a zero! Yeah, a zero! The school itself has a "no zero policy;" the lowest grade a student can get is a 50, even if nothing is handed in. Simple example of how this bites us moving forward: these same kids will grow up, get jobs, not show up and collect 50 percent of their paychecks? Can you see that happening? Of course not, so why would we allow it now? It's probably got something to do with the way the school is funded or trying to be soft on kids who struggle. I'm not a fan either way. I struggled in school and was forced to look at F grades if I flunked a test or homework assignment. Oh yeah, I also had to trick-or-treat in the rain. I understand we want the best for kids, I like that. I don't like that we aren't letting them know that life is hard, and you have to put the work in.

We also live in this world where actual photographic evidence can be questioned, words that were said can now be walked back, laws get broken but then excused, and we can say whatever we want from the protected confines of our keyboards. All of that was created on a national front. Seriously, we're taking our cues from the leader of a soon-to-be not-so-free world (if we're not careful), yet these are the things we are "too busy" to deal with. As I watched the vote come down on the impeachment resolution, I found it astonishing that not one Republican voted in favor of an inquiry. Not one! Are they not looking at what we're looking at? Have our national politics reached this level of crazy where we can actually listen to a press conference where chief of staff Mick Mulvaney openly admits to a quid pro quo because his boss (Trump) wants to investigate the DNC server, so therefore he's going to hold up money. On that point alone I would have thought at least one Republican would have shown some backbone.

But what it all boils down to is a level of greed and opulence I can't understand. Massive corporations buying out smaller corporations keeping core staff and canning the rest. People that may have worked for these smaller companies for a lifetime, and just like that they're out. I grow fatigued from big box store after big box store opening up to try and crush everything in their wake and basing it all on pricing. The entire time, they pay their staff next to nothing, creating a work environment that is entirely based on a system and not on common sense — while all of our dollars we spend at these places go out of our communities and do nothing but make the rich, richer.

And yet, we created it, and if we didn't create it, we buy into it; we buy into it by accepting it and continuing to patronize these places. Do you remember (at least locally speaking) how having a mall 40 minutes away was hurting downtowns? Well, those monuments to capitalism are falling to the internet; we were part of that, too. I'm not trying to obstruct progress; no, I'm simply saying, think before you spend, read before you react, and check a few sources before you accept the narrative you want to believe as fact. Let's not fall on convenience, let's fall on common sense!

Peter "Fish" Case is a man with an opinion. He offers up a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard at www.theearspoon.com. Questions, compliments and complaints can be sent to him at fish@theearspoon.com. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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