|Thomas J. Mazur - District 8
JULY 8, 2008
KEEPING JOBS LOCAL, LASTING STILL GOOD IDEAS
This is not a joke. About twenty years ago my wife and I had a few couples over to our house for a marriage preparation seminar. We volunteered for our local parish - now closed. Anyway, I usually found it interesting when I would ask the young married wannabe's if they attended church. Generally their response was no. I then asked them if their parents went to church, and they mostly said no too. Finally, I asked them, "Well, why the heck do you want to get married in church?"
Now, here's the real shocker. One time I asked this young woman how long she thought her marriage would last. I intended only to be funny, and not to receive a response. But she looked at me straight-faced and replied, five years. Today, I'm not so shocked by that comment. We live in a society where we assume things are not meant to last. Or at least we've been duped to think so. Nowadays, no one expects to hold onto anything for a lifetime. Companies are hiring and firing; young folks are jumping to new jobs for fifty cents more an hour. Gas prices are killing us and the US dollar has collapsed. Yet, instead of saying stop, hold on for a minute, we jump onto the next idea.
There's an old saying that goes: all politics is local. Local to me would mean proximity. Wouldn't our lives be much simpler if all our basic necessities where within walking distance of where we lived? The credit union (forget most banks, they're not local), the bakery, the butcher, the poultry store, the candy store and the bicycle shop. Sound familiar? It's the way a lot of us grew up.
As a kid growing up in the Bailey and Delavan area, my mom used to send me the poultry store to pick up a chicken for soup. The chickens were alive and squawking in their cages from the farm. When I told the man behind the counter what my mom wanted, he would grab one out of a cage, take it in the back room, chop its head off, pluck the feathers, wrap it up and send me on my way. The walk did me a lot of good.
Today, to achieve the same end, I jump in my car, zoom over to the supermarket three miles away and spend about a buck in gas to buy a chicken that only takes 40 days in a dark and crowded shed to get to our table. The worst part of this story is that the chicken tastes like rubber. Gosh, a rubber chicken. Do you remember when that used to be funny?
I don't know about you, but if we started to think locally again, I think it would create a lot of decent jobs. Mom and pop shops where people would be too busy working to think of much else - including how long their marriage will last.
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