Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 18, 2013

ROOT: And now the downfall

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Business?!?! Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business! The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!

Ah, Charles Dickens. Well, sort of. The above is an abridged version of Marley’s woes from one of the versions of “A Christmas Carol” that I have seen and memorized.

As we move closer to Christmas Day, I’m reading more and more about robberies in the area. It seems that the comprehensive ocean of our business is tainted with garbage.

In West Seneca, a twentysomething male reportedly burst into an elderly woman’s apartment, stole her ATM card, forced her to give him the PIN number, bound her arms and legs and then tried to stuff her into the trunk of her own car. It is a brutal incident and one can only hope the scumbag is caught.

I have also heard of people leaving their doors unlocked, walking to the store that is just down the street and, while they’re gone, having someone walk into their home and start stealing items. Hospitals are closing down, businesses are getting robbed and the Christmas spirit seems to be the last thing on people’s minds. Unfortunately, things around here are getting worse.

The violent crime rate in Buffalo, according to the website Neighborhoodscout.com, is three times higher than the rest of the country. As of August 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has the Buffalo unemployment rate at 10.1 percent — higher than almost any other part of the country.

But that’s Buffalo, that shouldn’t matter here, should it?

I think it does matter, because when criminals run out of things to destroy in the city, they make their way to the suburbs. The only thing that benefits us is our distance from Buffalo. This is one time when we should welcome the notion that Lockport is some kind of backwater farm community an hour outside of Buffalo.

What is going on out there?

I could take the time to craft a whole bunch of arguments about politics and economics, but there is a much simpler explanation to it all. The haves are taking from the have nots in record numbers. The rich demand the right to get richer, while the rest of us are forced to simply put up with whatever they want to throw at us.

Here is the worst part. The crazies are gaining a political foothold in this country that will make the gap even worse. The Tea Party and so many other completely out-of-touch political groups are taking advantage of everyone else’s ambivalence and starting to win political power in Washington.

Actually, it isn’t so much ambivalence as it is the fact that the average person has much more pressing concerns than voting to fill political offices. The sad part is that now is the time when we, as a citizenry, need to pay the most attention to the people who make decisions for us.

It all started with the Gore-Bush election results that showed just how evenly divided our country is on just about every topic. Instead of giving us the guy we voted for, Gore, the establishment gave us the guy it wanted, Bush. Ever since then, the government has been undermining the middle class on such a regular basis that it isn’t even being hidden anymore.

So as we move closer to the most wonderful day of the year, our country is in more trouble than it has ever been in. We have a president who cares very little about his constituents, a governing body whose members would rather argue among themselves than engage the people in healthy debate, and a disenfranchised populous that is starting to react violently to being stripped of the very basics of a decent human existence.

Each year, the government takes more and more from us, and it does so with no sense of remorse. Our children have no sense of opportunity and we are losing all hope.

We have been here before. Events of the 1950s and then the 1960s caused a similar feeling of disinterest among the people. We survived those periods in our history, but only because the people in charge started to care.

It doesn’t look like anyone in Washington cares anymore. We are on our own and we are not faring well. What we do now will determine the future of our entire country and we are not acting like a population that is thinking about the future.

George N. Root III is a Lockport resident and a guy who rarely leaves the house. His column is published Wednesdays, but he emails it instead of hand delivering it. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net.