Greensburg Daily News
---- — The Takers
I have heard much over the last few years about the “takers” in our society.
In these instances, the word “takers” is used in a condescending, degrading, and stereotypical manner toward those who are in a certain socio-economic class. One can safely assume that there are people in our society that do not want to work, that contribute little or nothing to our society, and will take advantage of every opportunity to keep it that way. Those people exist, I have met some, but I believe them to be the exception, not the rule. The real “takers” in our society are those that, through their actions, can have a profound effect on all of our lives. There are a number of groups of people that fit into my categorization of “takers”; I will point out three of them: (1) The Wall Street types (2) Politicians (3) The purveyors of hate and division.
WALL STREET: Some of these people don’t fly the American flag, they fly the flag of the almighty dollar. They live in a parasitic bubble where their world revolves around greed and self-interest. On Sept. 18, 2008, Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury, along with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, had an emergency meeting at the Capitol. In attendance were senior legislators from both parties of the House and Senate. Paulson and Bernanke told the legislators they needed the authority to use $700 billion dollars to unstop the credit markets. They stated, “Unless you act, the financial system of this country and the world will melt down in a matter of days.”
They also stated, “If we don’t do this tomorrow, we won’t have an economy on Monday.” And so it was, after years of deregulation, back-slapping by lobbyist and politicians, the inane government officials who had oversight responsibilities but turned a “blind eye,” this country and the world was on the precipice of the biggest financial calamity since the “Great Depression.” The results of the actions of this group were catastrophic: people lost their homes, people lost their life savings, people lost their jobs, and above all, some lost their dignity and sense of self-worth. To this day, our country hasn’t fully recovered from the actions of those that didn’t give a hoot about anyone other than themselves. The rich robbed the poor and they got away with it. To my knowledge, no one on Wall Street went to jail, they just went to the Bahamas and enjoyed their millions.
POLITICANS: The members of the Congress of the United States have an annual salary of $174,000. They are in the halls of Congress approximately three days a week. Most of the remainder of their time is spent courting lobbyist and raising campaign money for their future campaigns. If one is an employer and one of his/her employee’s shows up for work three days a week, how long will that employee remain employed? Also, have you ever noticed that some politicians can look you square in the eye and lie to you as naturally as they breathe? Perhaps these are some of the reasons why the Congress of the United States has an approximate approval rate of 11 percent.
When it comes to “takers,” they take a back seat to no one. During the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney made his infamous 47 percent speech to a group of wealthy donors. The speech was secretly recorded.
As part of his speech, Mr. Romney made the following statements: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent of the people who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That, that’s an entitlement and the government should give that to them, and they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. And so my job is not to worry about those people – I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
In the very insular world of Mitt Romney, I believe he meant every word he said. During the campaign, Mitt Romney released one year of his income taxes. He steadfastly refused to release anymore. Perhaps if he had, we may have found that he had been one of those forty-seven percent who paid no income tax.
PURVEYORS OF HATE: We have seen them on television; we have heard them on the radio; we have read their articles. These people preach the gospel of noxious untruth, exaggerations, and a perpetuation of mistrust, division, and sometimes hatred. Some of these people are very wealthy and most probably don’t believe a word of what they are saying; their main interest is their bank accounts. These people have a moral corruption of the soul where only self-interest can exist. These “takers” contribute nothing to our society.
It would be wrong of me to say that all people that work on Wall Street are bad people; I’m sure that many, if not most, are good and decent people. It would be wrong of me to say that all politicians are bad; there are still some (they are getting harder to find) that are good people that put their country above politics. It just seems to be the old story that the contagion of the few spreads and envelopes the many.
When people make condescending and degrading comments about others, they need to be reminded of the old adage: “walk a mile in my shoes.”
To the single mom with two children who goes to work each day not knowing how she’s going to pay all of the bills and feed her children and herself, what’s wrong with our government helping her out with food stamps and assistance?
To the man who is in his 50s or 60s who has lost his job through no fault of his own and cannot find work because of his age. What is wrong with our government assisting this man until he can get back on his feet? The answer should be obvious.
The American fabric of people is woven with the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. When some of those threads have become frayed, then we as Americans must unite and see that those threads are mended.
Don’t neglect your pets
This is an open letter to all pet owners.
Please make sure that your dog or cat has a house that’s waterproof with straw or some warm bedding for them to lay on.
Make sure they have food and water. You may have to water them several times a day as it freezes so soon in cold weather; this is especially important if the animal is tied outside.
If you have a back porch or basement, it would be kind to let your pet stay there during this cold weather.
A dog or cat’s paws may very well freeze as cold as it has been recently.
The birds also need to be fed. They can’t find food in the snow.
The Greg Maddux/Westport connection
So, baseball pitcher Greg Maddux has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. What’s the big deal, you ask?
The big deal is that Greg Maddux’s story begins in Westport, a town not particularly known for famous personages (extreme modesty forbids me from so identifying this writer).
In using the terms parents and grandparents I readily confess that I may be off a generation, as I’m leaving the necessary research to someone whose business it is to do such things. It shouldn’t be too difficult as I believe some Maddux family members still reside in Westport.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Maddux family’s claim to fame was the fact that they lived in a rundown home a scant two blocks west on Schott Street from the similarly rundown home of the Voiles family, meaning this writer, my parents, and my only sibling, sister Eileen.
Try to remember that these were days of the Great Depression, when almost every family was struggling to just get by.
The Maddux family was headed by “Singer” Maddux. I’m not sure of his real first name at the moment, but I think it was Stanley. It doesn’t matter, he was known to everyone as Singer Maddux.
Singer was thought to be “double-jointed,” meaning he sort of flung his arms and legs about rather loosely when he walked. I’ve often wondered if this trait was handed down and contributed to Greg Maddux’s pitching prowess.
Singer and his misses had a bunch of kids, one of which, depending upon the generation, was either the parent or grandparent of the aforementioned famous Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
An aside: One memory I have of Singer Maddux, who earned his living doing hauling with an old 1 1/2-ton truck, is the day I was helping move a small house from the west end of Westport clear over to the east end. The small house was to be the new home of the mother of Ed Baldwin, husband of my sister. At age 15, I was sitting astride the roof of the house with a pole to lift electric lines, tree limbs and the like off the roof as we rolled slowly along. All went okay until Singer’s old truck began overheating and spewing steam like a local Old Faithful. This called for frequent pauses for the addition of water to the radiator. Oh, by the way, I was astride the roof of that house when I learned of the passing of popular three-term president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perhaps thats why I have such clear recall of the events of the day. FDR was my dad’s hero.
Anyway, back to Greg Maddux: I would love to read a lengthy story prepared by someone willing to do the research about the Maddux family’s early-to-now history in Westport and elsewhere.
After all, it may be safe to say that Greg Maddux is the most famous person ever whose roots are in tiny Westport, my hometown.
I hope some capable writer will pick up on this. I think Westport should be bragging to the skies about their contribution to the game of baseball.