Between 1890 and 1910, the boll weevil devastated the
southern cotton industry. Some historians believe that the boll weevil saved
the south from itself. The planting of cotton was destroying the soil and would
eventually destroy the south�s ability to produce anything. To this day people
tell the story about how something that seemed bad at the time can be good down
the road. I believe this story is very appropriate today.
Some will argue that the many problems our country faces
have been festering for many years, embedded in social programs, easy credit,
weak environmental policies and ill-conceived foreign policies. There is little
doubt that we have been living on borrowed time. Our country now faces more
problems than any of us could have imagined eight years ago. We are in a war
that may last one hundred years, according to John McCain. Our economy is
stumbling into what could be the largest recession in our history. Our schools
are producing more students with minimal skills. Global warming threatens to
change the way humans live on this planet. The infrastructure of this country
is in dire need of refurbishment. How did all these problems surface at one
particular time in history?
The answer is, as any good boat captain will tell you, we
took our hand off the wheel. We quit voting. We quit asking the hard questions.
We allowed people to become elected to office through vicious and demeaning
elections. We bought into the Jerry Springer mentality of life. We quit being
informed in the information age.
We could blame the people we elected for the many problems,
but we must remember, we elected the people making decisions. We elected
George. We elected a man who in eight short years has demeaned our country on
so many levels.
This being true, we must look to the brighter side of this
issue. The boll weevil destroyed the cotton crops in the south and forced the
farmers to reevaluate their farming practices. The Republican Party has forced
us to look deep into our souls at the direction our country is headed. We have
watched as a small group of people became richer and more powerful. We have
watched as Americans lost ground in a global comparison of income, education,
health and general wellbeing.
So.thank you, George and Dick, for opening our eyes. Thank
you for showing us how important it is to think carefully before voting. Thank
you for creating an atmosphere where people feel it is important to vote. Thank
you for generating so much excitement about a better way. And most important,
thank you for leaving.
Charlie Streisel is a retired science/math
teacher who taught for 30 years in West Virginia.