We’re all in this together
I found Marshall Soloman’s letter on science denial by right wingers intellectually interesting but also perhaps somewhat lacking. He suggests that self interest at the expense of humankind and the environment is the exclusive domain of this group of folks. I do agree with him that collective action is the only thing that will change the status quo, but I would suggest that the status quo is much more the result of corporate influence than individual actions but not entirely. Let me give an example.
I was in Walmart the other day, ready to check out and searching for the line with the fewest people when I was approached by a friendly Walmart employee. This employee asked if I would like to use the self check kiosk and that they would scan my items for me. The first thing I noticed was there were more of these kiosks than regular cash register lines and many had no one using them. It made me think a little and then I asked why they had so many of these machines and why they had offered to help me. Their reply was that they were asked to do this job by Walmart. When I insisted on asking why, they didn’t have an answer. I suggested that Walmart, in pursuit of more profit, was trying to get its customers comfortable with the idea of self check out, by helping them go through this process. Since no one was waiting for the self check machine, it was faster than going through the regular checkout line. All this seems well indeed, but I suggested to the employee that really what her job amounted to was eliminating the job that she had. By reducing labor costs, Walmart and other corporate stores can strengthen their bottom line.
Now why should I care? Won’t it make my purchases cheaper if I use the self check out? This is where Marshall’s letter strikes a bell. If we only care about ourselves and not about other folks, this all makes sense, but if we realize that by using a self checkout machine, someone will lose their job, it makes our choice more difficult. Difficult because we realize that that employee needs their job to pay for their housing, buy food, support their family and pay their taxes. If unemployed they may have to rely on some type of assistance paid for by our taxes, and now the whole proposition becomes less than rosy. Further, if we allow ourselves to be shuttled into the self checkout, we will unknowingly reduce the number of regular check out lines and make those lines longer. This whole scenario becomes self-fulfilling. As people gravitate toward self checkout machines, there will be more of them, and there will be fewer regular checkouts with longer lines. Put out of a job, this employee may not spend as much money in this store thereby reducing the profits of the store. This seems shortsighted on the business end of things: businesses need consumers. Collectively we will lose by paying higher taxes to support the unemployed.
It took me awhile to go through this convoluted reasoning to make such a simple decision. But of course this is not a simple decision and Walmart and other corporate stores would rather us not think about all this. Living in a democracy means that we can and have the responsibility to make reasoned choices, and knowing that these choices affect the lives of others and indirectly our own lives, we can make decisions that benefit everyone. I vote to never use a self check out line again! I also chose to have a human being ring up my purchases so that I can greet them and be greeted by them and know that I am helping someone else have a job, live in decent housing, support their family and of course support the collective good of our democratic society. It is also good to know that by taking such a simple action as refusing to use a self checkout kiosk we can help someone else and that it is in our own self interest to do so. In response to Solomon’s letter, I would suggest that so called right wingers have just not made some of these connections, just as I struggled to make the connection between self checkout and waiting a few minutes longer in a regular line. And I am no right winger. We are all in this together, on one planet, and have no where else to go, and we can only keep our democracy alive and well by collectively working together. We can’t afford to write off any one group.
Paul Chew — Otto, N.C.
Anti-semitism still pervasive in today’s society
Anti-semitism has been and is a large concern in our society. Whether viewed from a secular or religious perspective, it presents huge problems. The heavenly Father chose the small nation of Israel to be His representatives to the world in a spiritual as well as a cultural context. This purpose of His people Israel was acknowledged overall until around 250 A.D., when a man named Constantine successfully united paganism and religion. (The heavenly Father hates His righteousness to be mixed with unrighteousness.) As a result, the heavenly Father’s people Israel began to be hated, especially by the religious entity.
During the Inquisition (The Dark Ages) millions of the Messiah of Israel’s people were killed by this newly established religious group. Advance to 1940-45 and find millions more of His people killed during the Holocaust. Because of its length, the Jesuit Oath (House Bill 1523) cannot be included here, but basically says that the Jesuits (The Society of Jesus) say that they agree to kill as many as possible of the heavenly Father’s Israel. Cardinal Enright offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove from the Bible alone that Sunday was the biblical Sabbath. He also stated that the Catholic Church changed not only His Sabbath to Sunday, but also wiped out all of His holy days.
The Messiah of Israel said in Matthew 15:24, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (There are approximately 20 verses of scripture in the Renewed Covenant, called the New Testament, that confirm this. The gospel (not another as stated in II Corinthians 11:4 and Galatians 1:5-7) tells us that He is coming back to reunite the scattered houses of Israel and Yahudah (Hebrews 8:8) not to reunite U.S. Christians and “them” Jews. He promised to bless those that bless Israel and to curse those that curse Israel.
Doug Arnold — Franklin, N.C.
Social media showing its dark side
Remembering Steve Jobs preachment about how wonderful everyone can communicate with others on a worldwide basis but some say it is also providing a platform for the loonies. Anyone can organize a protest against just about anything and they will be joined by a sizable group. There is also some indication kids depending on social media are not developing their necessary social skills.
In past years one had to get on the telephone and call a bunch of folks or put an ad in the newspaper to organize anything. But with social media, one can almost immediately reach thousands to organize protests for whatever beef one may have with society.
We also must keep in mind that some of the leaders of protests are driven by a powerful need to be in the limelight. Many could care less about the cause but gain their kicks shouting into a loudspeaker and find it thrilling to have a lot of attention.
Of recent note is the appearance of Antifa which some are suggesting is nothing more than a domestic terrorist group. Notable is that it was organized through social media.
While Antifa condemn fascism it appears they have never looked up the definition of the word since it really has no application to our democracy.
They call for the killing of capitalists which includes all the old folks who retired on investments using 401Ks or even people who own shops and stores.
Just about everyone is a capitalist in some form or the other.
In a real show of thoughtful resistance against the working folk, one Antifa protestor in Harrisburg, Pa., stabbed a police horse in the neck. Obviously she taught that naughty horse a lesson. In a real screwy twist, the Antifa who espouse living in anarchy without police, were actually defending the use of Muslim Sharia law.
Daffy Duck has nothing on these folks.
Truly, social media demonstrates a dark side no one anticipated.
Probably the worst problem arising from social media is the fake news that circulates and all too quickly. One can make outrageous statements and hordes will not only read about it but many will believe it, fake or not. Sure, for a democracy to work, citizens’ participation is necessary and we need to be able to address our lawmakers when we have concerns.
Lately, however, all the screwball stuff going around is not helping things a bit and right now, it is making it difficult for government to work.
We all need to do our own filtering of fact from fiction and consider the root source of information we receive and who stands to gain from the story. Sometimes stories are spread by some nitwit who finds their new toy gives them a boost to their ego.
By the way, I’m organizing a protest about hemmorrhoids. Anyone care to join me?
Bob Wilson — Franklin, N.C.