Home Author Sue Culverhouse Is the Whole World Still Festering?

Sue Culverhouse

Is The Whole World Still Festering?

Back in the 1960s, the Kingston Trio popularized “The Merry Minuet” (otherwise known as “They’re Rioting in Africa”). Here’s an abbreviated version of the song that was copyrighted by Alley Music Corp. and Trio Music co., Inc. The song sung by the Kingston Trio was a comment on the fear that a mushroom shaped cloud would eventually blow us all away; however, here’s what I’d like to discuss from this ditty:

They’re rioting in Africa

They’re starving in Spain

There are hurricanes in Florida

And Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering

With unhappy souls

The French hate the Germans,

The Germans hate the Poles

Italians hate Yugoslavs

South Africans hate the Dutch

And I don’t like anybody very much.

If you watch the news these days, it appears that we haven’t learned anything. People are fighting all over the world; others are threatening to fight; and workers in the United States are battling for rights they fought for almost a hundred years ago and finally won!

Has everyone gone insane?

Yes, it’s a sign of progress that people who have been abused for centuries want democracy! Yes, it’s no surprise that repressive governments are trying to maintain power and keep fleecing the poor as long as they can! Yes, it’s no surprise that the rich plan to get richer and take away bargaining power from the working masses!

History repeats itself over and over—and we humans just don’t seem to get it. Squashing your neighbor can work for only so long. Eventually the “squashes” rise up and do not call you “blessed” but four letter words we can’t discuss here.

How do we of the working poor cope on a daily basis with the fear generated by watching these scenarios play out in the media on a moment-to-moment basis? When we see our retirement incomes threatened, our monthly salaries reduced constantly by rising prices and incomes that do not rise, our children’s future sealed by “leaders” who reward the rich and fleece the poor?

Frankly, we’d like to move to a deserted island and let the vultures eat each other—but that’s not an option!!

What can we logically do?

In the United States, we have the option of voting against people whose ideas do not agree with our own. On the other hand, with the ability of some people to manipulate technology (including voting booths and records), we can’t be sure that even our votes are being correctly counted.

We can march against policies with which we don’t agree. Conversely, politicians don’t have to listen to us.

We can write letters to the editor, post a blog on line, enter our thoughts on Facebook and other social media outlets, and send copies of opinions with which we agree to our “leaders” prior to their votes.

What we can’t afford to do is give up. Yes, we’d all like to throw up our hands and ask if these people really think money is more important that the lives of their fellow human beings. (Obviously, those who sometimes decide that starting a war for profit could care less about anything but their wallets! It’s not unthinkable that CEOs who lay off thousands and raise their own salaries simultaneously have no concern for others. The list is too long to include here, but you get the general idea.)

Another avenue of positive value is to teach our children better values so that when it is their turn to control the world, they’ll make more intelligent decisions than some who went before them.

Of course, right now in public schools in Tennessee, the hot topic of conversation is where to get another job when the new laws make working in public schools impossible.  Who’s going to teach the children in the next few years when a huge majority of teachers decide that working without bargaining rights is totally unthinkable?

I’m hoping that each of these empty teachers’ desks will transfer the number of children taught in that classroom into a huddle around a Tennessee legislator. I think once each of these geniuses gets to clean up after a sick child, catch innumerable diseases from the ones who come to school sick, have a number of parents screaming in their faces about how little Johnny’s willingness to do the minimal toward learning is the teacher’s fault, and worry on a daily basis how they’re going to pay this month’s bills on the pittance earned in the classroom, they’ll be wishing they had more compassion towards teachers.

But, maybe not.

I’m not sure you can cure greed or stupidity or lust for power. Some people just don’t have a conscience. Some people are truly born without any regard for others.

The only hope we have is that people who do understand that others suffer will rise up and refuse to let these interminable creeps rule the day.

Are you listening out there? I’m counting on you to do the right thing. Just shout, “NO!”

Otherwise, the last two lines of “The Merry Minuet” will become reality,

What nature doesn’t do to us
Will be done by our fellow man.

To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemölle, “First they came for public education, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a teacher. Then they came for the right to organize, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t in a union. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

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