The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Zachary Hubbard

January 25, 2013

Zachary Hubbard | Complacent voters aiding America's meltdown

JOHNSTOWN — If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, then American voters are playing a full symphony amid their political system’s ongoing meltdown. Remarkably, voter concern appears to be waning as the system designed to protect their rights and promote prosperity increasingly fails.

Where is the outrage? There are countless reasons for Americans to be angry, yet voter complacency prevails.

A recent CNN/ORC International poll notes that 44 percent of registered voters indicated they were financially worse off today than four years ago. Only 37 percent indicated their financial situation was better. Yet despite multiple major political issues at stake and high discontent, American voters proved remarkably blasé in November’s national elections. The Bipartisan Policy Center reported that eligible voter turnout in November dropped from 62.3 percent in 2008 to around 57.5 in 2012.

For the most part, only tea party members displayed real anger during the past election cycle. Consequently, they were labeled as lunatic, fanatic and fascist by the media and their political opponents. What would tea party opponents have thought about our colonial forebearers who rebelled against English tyranny? Have Americans so lost touch with history? Absolutely!

In August, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article titled, “The Real Reason America’s Schools Stink.” It states that a recent evaluation conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment, an organization that tests students around the world, indicated “the U.S. ranks behind 16 other economies including Poland, Estonia and South Korea in terms of student literacy.”

Additional indicators show American public schools lagging behind most other industrialized nations. Meanwhile, American businesses bring in foreign workers to fill jobs in science, math and technology because there aren’t enough qualified Americans.

Studies have shown many voters who are strong supporters of one party or another can’t explain the reason for their support – they vote gut feeling or family tradition, not reason. Dare we call them ignorant?

Despite being re-elected, President Obama’s 2013 approval ratings so far average only 48 percent, according to a Gallup poll. Congress began 2013 with a dismal 14 percent approval rating. In spite of this, only two incumbent senators and 22 representatives were defeated in November. It’s difficult to understand why incumbents are overwhelmingly re-elected when more than half of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Many Americans today, especially younger adults, lack the grit and determination displayed by previous generations. Towns across the nation raised entire regiments of soldiers to support their side during the Civil War. During both world wars, scores of young Americans rushed to volunteer for military service.

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, young Americans again lined up to volunteer their service. Look at the state of the U.S. military only a decade later. The Pentagon recently reported 339 military suicides in 2012, more than the total combat-related deaths. Does the American public care? If the paucity of media coverage of this travesty is any indication, then the answer is no.

Voters handed Obama a second term despite his failure to deliver on an election promise to quickly end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The last American forces withdrew from Iraq during the final days of his first term.

The 11-plus-year war in Afghanistan continues. Waging perpetual war is how Capitol Hill rewards the enthusiasm of young patriots who volunteered for military service. Despite widespread bipartisan outcry against the war, voters gave Obama a free pass.

Americans value human rights and justice, yet the country’s policies continue to promote trade with Communist China, a fanatical human rights abuser and a country that is draining America economically. While the trade imbalance with China has been the subject of substantial discussion in the media and political circles, it fails to resonate as a major political issue.

Americans cry for jobs, yet the official unemployment rate has hovered around 8 percent for more than four years. Despite designating unemployment a top priority, Obama has not convened his jobs council in over a year.

Where is the voter outrage?

America’s national debt grew by an astonishing $5 trillion over the past four years, yet social issues such as health care and gay marriage seem to dominate political discourse, not out-of-control government spending or the economy. It is becoming increasingly difficult for recent college graduates to find good jobs. Despite the bleak economic outlook for our children and grandchildren, complacency prevails among American voters.  

The Great Depression helped shape the worldview of the “Greatest Generation,” those who fought and won World War II. The poverty and suffering inflicted on so many by the depression left an indelible mark on their souls and a toughness that remains to this day for those still living.

Sometimes humans have to be driven to their knees before they can stand up, dust themselves off and move forward with their lives. Today, too many Americans have been driven to their knees by the failings of a political system that no longer represents their best interests. Hopefully the voters can find the collective will to stand up and fight before the American system totally melts down.

Martin Luther King said, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” King’s words still ring true. It’s time for American voters to start showing their political masters their real power.

Zachary Hubbard is a freelance writer residing in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Zachary Hubbard
  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Some actions defy explanation

    Like a poorly delivered joke that leaves a comedian’s audience waiting for the punch line, there are scores of factors about American society that make me moan, “I don’t get it.” Sometimes it seems as if we Americans are losing our minds. I see evidence of this every day.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Obama should study Powell Doctrine

    During his tenure as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell elaborated on eight questions he believed should be considered before committing U.S. military forces to war.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | EPA taking jobs, hope from coal country

    I just returned from a visit to my birthplace in Harlan County, Kentucky, which lies in the southeast corner of the state.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Random thoughts on politics, our money

    Lately, the news has contained more baloney than usual. Let’s start with Ukraine, where I left off last time.

    April 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Obama's diplomacy pickle: Crimea crisis

    With all of the political pundits piling on about the current crisis in the Ukraine, I’m puzzled that I have yet to hear anyone seriously discuss Russia’s Near Abroad policy.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard | Federal contracting system broken, out of control

    I’ve been feeling surly. It started several weeks ago when Congress passed legislation making large cuts in the annual cost-of-living pay adjustments for active and retired military personnel.

    February 24, 2014

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | It was so cold ...

    Late last night I got a phone call from a friend stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. He told me that since early morning, the snow had been coming down steadily.

    January 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Throwing veterans under the bus

    Americans love honoring their military veterans. They cheer loudly for troops returning home from combat zones in far away countries; they hold veterans’ parades and decorate veterans’ graves; and they walk up to veterans and thank them for their service. Unfortunately, most of the honors end there.

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | Republican Party is in need of a facelift

    Thirty-nine House Democrats facing re-election in 2014 recently jumped ship and sided with Republicans to vote for changes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

    November 25, 2013 1 Photo

  • Zachary Hubbard NEW Zachary Hubbard | For military brats, Germany was a magical place

    A long chapter in U.S. history is closing. The once behemoth U.S. military forces in Germany are slowly withdrawing. In April, the last Army tanks were shipped home, marking the first time in almost
    70 years there were no American tanks on German soil. While most Americans would consider this a political development, for some of us, it’s quite personal.

    November 5, 2013 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads