Friday, April 10, 2009

One Person Can Make A Difference

To all the retirees of America who thought that through hard work, investments, and promises that they had a secure future, but whose very security has been dashed by greed and corruption, you have been chosen once again to make the ultimate sacrifice.

To the millions of tax paying Americans who currently work every day to provide a living for their families and have security in retirement, many of you have sacrificed your life savings and future retirement to that same corruption.

To the many unemployed Americans, whose homes, families and way of life are threatened by that unemployment, you have sacrificed your confidence and your peace of mind.

To the many of our young Americans who have gone, or are going on, to a higher education, so that you may live the same American dream that your parents and grandparents did before you, you have sacrificed your innocence, but let us not make that your future as well.

To all of you, collectively, you have a right to feel bitter and used. You already knew that many executives were getting indecently wealthy off the backs of American workers and taxpayers. You already knew, by media reports and, for some, by your own experiences, that there were cases of corruption and greed in America. What we didn’t know was the depth and scope of that corruption, in our government and on Wall Street, and the lack of regulations that made it possible.

Can you possibly see some good that came out of the latest round of greed and corruption? If you are one of the millions of ordinary Americans who have no claim to fame or fortune, but yet saw your future security lost on Wall Street or in the housing crash, you probably can not. Since your financial security was built on a pile of sand, isn’t it good to know it now rather than later?

The loss of our personal financial stability and that of our government’s -- that even affects far flung places around the globe -- has hastened the urgency of reform in the government and on Wall Street. I have long been disgusted by corporate raiding to make a quick profit at the expense of the workers. I am appalled at the obscene salaries, bonuses, stock options and exit compensation of corporate executives, even as they are outsourcing our jobs to foreign countries to cut costs.

No matter your political affiliation, most Americans have, at one time or another, felt strongly about the issue when one of these cases comes to light. We didn’t like it, but felt powerless to do something about it. In the history of our country, there have always been cases of corruption. Let us work to eliminate that in the future.

In the past, our only real voice was the Congressman and the Senators who we sent to our state capitals and to Washington. However, they only gave voice to the people who voted for them. The ones that disagreed with their platform really still had no voice. Though these elected officials, once in office, are supposed to suspend party affiliations and work for the common good, we all know that doesn’t often happen. Too many important pieces of legislation have been voted along party lines.

I have lost faith in my representatives in Washington to do our bidding. Though they may go there initially to do just that, soon most of them are caught up in the interests of campaign contributors, lobbyists and other special interest groups. It is time for us all to make a difference. It is time to let our government know that we are taking back our voice, that we, the people, are the special interest group.

Today, we do have a voice. Thanks to the invention of the internet, public forums and blogs, we all have a chance to be heard. It is past time for the ordinary American to stand up and be heard. No matter what your passionate issue is, it is time to take a stand. It is time for one person to make a difference, because one person can make a difference.

Throughout history, there are many cases of ordinary people of ordinary means who did make a difference. In the case of Rosa Parks, she later said that she didn’t set out to start the Civil Rights Movement. After a long hard day of work, she was just too tired to give up her seat to a white passenger. Rosa Parks, a seamstress, made such a difference that there is a man of color in the White House today, something many never thought possible.

Richard and Maureen Kanka, whose daughter Megan was abducted and murdered by a known sexual predator made a difference. They started a petition to change the way that police departments deal with child abduction. In only 89 days, with over 400,000 signatures on the petition, Megan's Law was passed by the New Jersey Legislature. The ultimate result of that was the federal Megan's Law. Megan'sDue to their efforts and some others who also played a significant role, all Americans now have the right to be informed if a sexual predator moves into their neighborhood.

Though they may be somewhat famous now, those were just ordinary people before circumstances made them speak out. They saw an injustice and did something about it. There are many, many more that have walked in those same shoes. Ordinary people can and do make a difference.

That is the name and theme of this blog: One Person: The One Person Movement. I want my voice to be heard. I want to make a difference. I want you to want to make a difference too. Each of us, as one person who cares can, alone and collectively, make a difference on the issues that affect us all. One person can make a difference.

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