Last night, 60 Minutes left me stunned with stories about a possible Israeli-Palestinian Apartheid state and a future pill that will slow the aging process. But, the story that really hit hard detailed huge job cuts with DHL in Wilmington, Ohio; thousands of jobs gone from a small hardworking town. I wake up to the news that Atlanta-based Home Depot is cutting 7,000 jobs, Caterpillar eliminates 20,000 jobs, Sprint/Nextel cuts 8,000 and John Deere is cutting 700 jobs. Of course, South Georgia recently took a hit with closing of the Cooper Tire plant in Albany.
The mayor of Wilmington outlined the rippling consequences by pointing out that the local hospital functions with funds from the DHL employees’ health insurance coverage. When those people start seeking indigent care, the double impact of revenue loss and free care increase will killed the hospital.
When the America dream turns into a nightmare, it is rough to witness. Back when we were in high school, Billy Joel’s “Allentown” served as a wakeup call with lines like, “For the promises our teachers made—if we worked hard, if we behaved. Now are graduations hang on the wall, but they never really helped us at all.”
Each family needs a comprehensive “Economic Recovery Plan” that focuses on sound decisions, cutting waste and supportive actions. What I really want to say to the teens in Georgia working families is don’t bring new drama into the household. If your parents were on their feet in steel-toed shoes for years to provide for the family, don’t come home grinning about a pregnancy or call from police station—be strong for yours and reduce their burden.
Southerners are resilient by nature and conservatives should prepare to say “amen” when President Obama starts appealing to every American to consider “personal responsibility” during these hard economic times. Former Morehouse College President Dr. Benjamin E. Mays once called a cut-up student into his office to inform the young man that he would be on the next bus home. Dr. Mays basically said that we as a people had come from so far yet had some much farther to go…we could not afford to have he holding us back.
In our community, we spend much energy and capital correcting and addressing the actions of certain members of the family. Can you prune rotten branches from the family tree? Tell you what: first deference should be toward hardworking people experiencing a rough patch due to job cuts and not…(I better stop right here).