Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Am Tired

The following letter was written by Leo Thomasgard, born of Plover and currently living in Port Edward.  The letter was originally published in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.  While it was written before the recall election, it still holds true, probably now more then ever:
I am tired, not from age, lack of sleep, or over-scheduling, but from constantly having information -- much of it altered or spun to suit a need -- directed at me with the intent to distract, libel, or otherwise lie about issues to gain my support or opposition. The Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court case that allows huge amounts of money from corporations to flow unchecked into the political arena to promote their interests and to support those of politicians who will do their bidding will destroy the moral compass of the nation if not reversed.

I am tired of being told that we are "broke" and cannot afford to maintain public services, education, or one of the best run and most completely funded public retirement systems in the nation. The Wisconsin Retirement System has served those who work for public agencies for decades with a secure and well-managed defined benefit retirement. It isn't "broken," and it doesn't need to be fixed or studied.

I am tired of watching CEOs and upper management of those firms entrusted with the handling and monitoring of investments and finance and numerous other huge corporations being paid such obscene amounts of money that they will have difficulty spending it during their lifetimes, while those folks who care for our sick and elderly, put out our fires, collect our trash, run our daycare centers, and arrest our criminals sometimes struggle to save for their children's futures and pay their routine bills. Since when did money become more important than people? (Silly question.)

I am particularly tired of public schools and teachers being blamed for every ill found in society by those in the greater community who claim that preparing young people for life has to be done with less money and fewer resources year after year, and then propose giving unlimited amounts of funding to private and charter schools to further undercut the already strapped public education system. Well-run public schools have literally helped create our nation and society for generations and can continue to do so well into the future, if given the support needed.

Finally, I guess I am most tired of greed and selfishness. There are way too many people coming out of the Reagan years who grew up with the idea that "I got mine, now you go get yours," instead of "Here, let me help you come up to where I am." No one is completely
self-made. We all have been helped by someone along the way. When the paralyzed and wheelchair-bound actor Christopher Reeve appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony the year after the riding accident that so seriously injured him, he got an ironic standing ovation from the audience when he said, "America is a better place when everybody looks out for everyone instead of just themselves."

We have to stop the diminishment of some to extract the benefit for the few. The author Nelson Algren wrote in his 1956 novel "Walk On the Wild Side," "When we get more houses than we can live in, more cars than we can ride in, more food than we can eat ourselves, the only way of getting richer is by cutting off those who don't have enough." This is a great country and a wonderful state with a long history of care and concern for all. We need to turn back toward our roots and become what we used to be and what we can be again -- a state of active, concerned citizens who tell the truth, help our neighbors, support our public schools, and elect people to office who promise to do that.


  1. ...... All day long, beating you over the in their media telling you what to believe -- what to think -- and what to buy. .....


  2. I simply gave up trying to listen to the constant din; I mean, is it asking too much to prefer the truth? America, via Citizens United, has spawned a culture of lies that could define us for a generation.