2007-12-28 / On Second Thought

It's not a criticism, it's an observation.

Solving problems in 2008
Mike Cox

For 2008, I want to become smarter. The four or five people who read this column on a regular basis probably think that should be easy. When there is so much room for improvement, a minor change should be easy.

There are things in this world that appear so wrong to me they scream for attention; yet no one else seems to care. Since so much of what each of us believes is based on how and where we were raised, I wonder whether things I notice really need addressing, or I'm just worrying about the wrong things. Please help me resolve the following.

Two of every three inmates released from prison are soon back behind bars. Some of those still free are committing crimes and not getting caught. It appears we are not doing a very good job of rehabilitating criminals. We just keep them away from society for a while and teach them how to be more effective criminals once released. I think a change in policy would be high on anyone's list. But no one else seems to notice. What's the deal?

I was in high school when the government declared war on illegal drugs. We have spent billions and incarcerated millions in those 40 years. Today, just like then, drug use is rampant, no one obeys the laws, people are getting rich and killing others because of the drug trade, and tobacco and alcohol are the most dangerous drugs in our country. Isn't it time for a better plan?

Politicians say the same things year after year, and we still elect them. They tell us they are worried about climate change, Social Security and terrorism, then go back to Washington and enact laws to benefit rich friends and distract regular voters from real issues. Why don't we figure this out and demand better candidates?

People in authority lie to us and we accept their story. Whether it is a health insurance spokesman, an oil executive, or someone from the NCAA, the public and the media give them a free pass. We need universal health care, a sensible energy policy, and a college football playoff. When questioned, the people in charge give us the same lame answers with a straight face and no one, not the media, our lawmakers, or the public, demands the truth, or more importantly, results.

No matter what group any of us belong to, we think all our problems can be solved by forcing a different group to make changes. Whether it is working Americans blaming illegal Hispanics, religious groups blaming homosexuals, or African- Americans blaming white people, everyone with a problem sees a solution that involves someone else making changes. Can't we fix anything by doing something our own selves?

I know one person who doesn't have a cell phone. We are officially addicted. Why don't we all accept this, and even if it means putting a tower every five feet, allow the various phone companies to give us uninterrupted service. I'm really tired of saying, "Can you hear me now?"

Start work on these. The phone lines are now open. I'll have more next year.

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