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Saving the American Dream is not a spectator sport

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As I thought about my column topic this week, I realized the last two were about apathy or indifference in one form or another. Unfortunately, I find myself going down that path again. What can I say? The aftermath of Covid and bad government policies have presented a plethora of material to work with!

What got me started this week is that Copy Corner has discontinued service on the weekend because - as their posted notice says - they can’t find qualified help. Their emphasis was on ‘qualified.” So, instead of settling for just a warm body behind the counter, Copy Corner chose to reduce its hours rather than compromise the quality of service it provides.

Let that sink in for a moment. Between the Twin Cities of Bryan-College Station with a population of roughly 208,000 of which 80,000 are students, Copy Corner can’t find enough trainable people willing to work to allow them to operate as they did before Covid.

Since I don’t live there, you may wonder why I even care. I care because this is just another domino to fall, thanks to the mismanagement of Covid, its residual effects, and current anti-American policies which are sucking the initiative and drive out of today’s American workers. What was a willing, thriving workforce just three years ago is in danger of becoming ‘un groupe de paresseux,’ pardon my French – a group of lazy, idle and shiftless people. And the French should know about that!

A March 17 U.S. News and World Report article stated that two years post-Covid, there are 4 million more jobs than workers to fill them. Employers, of course, have to decide what they can afford to pay and remain viable but many employees who survived by working from home don’t want to come back to the office and are quitting entirely. Those who can retire are doing so in huge numbers.

Despite lucrative sign-on bonuses and incentives for professionals and unheard of hourly rates for entry level jobs, there is still a huge mismatch between willing workers and available jobs. The American worker is suffering from a mental malaise.

As I thought about the current state of affairs and our national reaction, I remembered my late in-laws who were born in 1914 and 1917. They had a pandemic in conjunction with a world war and my mother-in-law was only 18 months old when her mother died from the Spanish Flu. Both fared better than some during the Great Depression because they lived in the country and grew their own food. My mother-in-law was grateful to have chicken feet to eat! These folks didn’t have the luxury of indulging in depression or voluntarily opting out of the workforce. The only safety net back then was the will to survive.

In his book, The Greatest Generation, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw wrote, “Your grandparents came of age in the Great Depression, when everyday life was about deprivation and sacrifice, when the economic conditions of the time were so grave and so unrelenting it would have been easy enough for the American dream to fade away.”

Some say the Dream is fading away before our very eyes but perhaps we can save it if we just get back to work!

Some quotes are just timeless, such as this one spoken by late President John Kennedy April 11, 1962.

He said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.