Monday, January 7, 2008

“Look closely at those who patronize you. Half are unfeeling, half untaught.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I received the following essay via a bulletin on my Myspace profile. For those who are not familiar with Myspace, a bulletin is similar to an email, but it is posted to all of your Myspace "friends."

Contrary to the claims of the post, the following was not actually written by Jay Leno, but in fact by Craig R. Smith. It probably became attributed to Jay Leno because he did actually pen the last few words.

In any case, this finger-wagging rant has pissed me off, so without further comment (I will do that afterward), I am posting the essay in its entirety, along with the opening comments by a person unknown to me...

"I hope you will all read to the end. Jay Leno puts it into perspective and makes us think about the pathetic negativity . That's right, Jay Leno!!

Jay Leno wrote this; it's the Jay Leno we don't often see....

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?'' Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.

You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents.

Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have , and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it...are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom.There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.
They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ' 'dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news.

Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations.

They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about "how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way"...Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media.

Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks,

"Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno"


So, now it is my turn. Why did this piss me off? Am I one of those "spoiled brats", ungrateful for everything I take for granted? I'd like to think I am not.

So, only 4-1/2% of our population is unemployed? Actually that number has grown to 5%. Gee, that only 1.5 Million people. Isn't that great? Except that we forgot that only the people who file for unemployment are counted in that number. What about the people whose unemployment has run out? What about the homeless? They aren't counted either. And there are about 745,000 of them on any given day! That puts our numbers up to around 2.25 Million people. I'm not so certain that I would consider that a number for which I am grateful. And I don't think those people who represent those numbers feel "spoiled."

So let's talk about the people who actually have jobs. Most of us are doing exceptionally well, right? What about the percentage of people living under poverty level? The United Nations defines poverty as those earning less than 50% of the median income. Median income for the U.S. is just a few dollars shy of $26,000. According to their statistics, 17% of Americans lived in poverty between 1999 and 2002 (that's over 5 Million people, in case your counting), however, over any ten year period, 40% of our population experience poverty in at least one year (that's over 12 Million people).

I'd like to see Craig Smith or Jay Leno live on $13,000 a year. That's $6.25 per hour. Woo Hoo! How does a family live on that? Oh, that's right. They just have to make a few hard choices, like between rent and food for their children, or between food and medical care... that one is an easy choice because they don't have health insurance and can't afford to go to the doctor... so the reasonable choice would be to buy the food. Soon, with oil prices at their highest in history, they will have the good fortune to have to decide the most cost effective way to even to get to their jobs, that is if they even have the option to own a car. Perhaps Jay Leno would like to loan some folks his 85 cars or 70 motorcycles.

And, we just finished our Christmas season. I don't know about you, but with our 2-1/2 week vacation, gifts, etc., I spent a significant percentage of that person's annual $13,000 income. How much do you think that person spent on his/her kids? Do you think those kids received iPods, Wii's, Playstations, computers? I doubt it. Coats, shoes, school clothes probably top the lists, with dolls and toy cars at the bottom.

What about all the home foreclosures? What will these people do now? What about all the bankruptcies? The highest in history, not because people don't WANT to pay their bills, they just CAN'T!

Do you really think "we the people" feel like spoiled brats? Get over yourself! We feel lucky to have a freakin' roof over our heads, to have food on the table, to have lights... some people in this United States are not so lucky!

And, don't even get me started on the war. Okay, I'm started.

Yes, our troops have volunteered to serve in the armed forces. However, when you, as Commander-in-Chief, have a volunteer army at your disposal, you would do well to treat them with some level of respect and honesty. You would do well to be thoughtful, cautious and diligent BEFORE you sent them into harms way. Did Bush do that? No. He sent our very brave and very honorable young men and women into harms way, without proper equipment and numbers...NOT for freedom ... NOT for national security... but for his own personal agenda. He wanted Saddam Hussein. Our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives were sent in to get Saddam Hussein. And, although our soldiers brought Saddam Hussein back to Bush, they weren't rewarded with a ticket back home to their families. Instead they were rewarded with longer deployments, little rest time, ineffective or non-existent health care, or even death. And our soldiers are still there... NOT for freedom... NOT for national security. So, who or what are they really protecting?? Did you know that during the initial assault on Baghdad, soldiers set up forward bases name Camp Shell and Camp Exxon. Yes, our brave young men and women are being used to continue Bush's selfish agenda to protect U.S. corporate control over their oil interests there.

As for Bush's remarkably low approval is well deserved! The man is an evil coward. He has mercilessly used our children, holding them in front of himself like hostages for protection.

So, Mr. Smith and Mr. Leno, you want me to be happy? Feel grateful? As of 1/06/2008, 3,910 of our soldiers have died in Iraq and 28,822 have been wounded; over 5,000 Iraqi military and 56,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives. Yes, I turn my lights on everyday. I use my plasma tv. I drive my car to the market to buy the groceries I need to nourish my body. I don't own a weapon and I'm glad I don't have to. But, I am sad every day! I am mad every day! And I SHOULD be!

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