This isn’t the 1950s anymore

By Story of America Team

Pat HallI’m Pat Hall, I’m 66 years old, retired and very busy. My husband is a retired Vietnam Vet. We’ve been married for 24 years and have a blended family, three daughters, one son, and 12.8 grandchildren. We share similar views, definitely don’t always agree on issues and love to debate. I think I started using Facebook about four years ago. I loved that I could get a slice of everyday life with family and friends and of course I loved playing the games. 

I found many political posts and reposted them to my facebook page and I was hooked. I started this in the last two years. I volunteered for the first Obama campaign which was a real eye opener. I marveled at the Christian Family Values as carloads of people were honking and wishing myself and fourteen year old granddaughter “x-rated merry christmas” and a few other choice words as we handed out literature.

I thought the previous election (2008) was very ugly, little did I know that more was to come. I think that election, more than any was the beginning of the breakdown in communications amongst voters. A line was drawn in the sand and I feel our elections are being treated like football games, winner take all. I started seeing posts from the Coffee Party in the Spring of 2010. I was very intrigued by the fact that all political persuasions were becoming members and that there was indeed civilized discourse. I attended the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert “Rally to Restore Sanity” and was so amazed at how many like minded people were out there. That was really uplifting and the friendliness and sharing of all the people was amazing. Regardless of what Fox News says there were 250,000 people there, no incidents, and everyone taking care of each other. That’s the America I know and want to continue to see. I was stuck in the subway during the blackout in 1965, and it was just that type of caring that made sure we all got home safely. It was nice to see it still existed.

That same type of coming together happened with 9/11. Then some of the ugly incidents occurred based on total misinformation. A gas station worker in Arizona who was originally from India was beaten to death in the belief he was a Muslim terrorist. After that incident, I decided that if I knew that incorrect or skewed information was being disseminated, that I would post correct information or speak out. I began researching e-mails and posts (mostly through Snopes, then later anywhere I could get information) if I received information that didn’t pass the common sense test. I guess it was the correct course for me, because I’ve been mostly thanked (some cursed) for doing this. This isn’t the 1950s anymore and what you hear on the TV (or in today’s environment, the internet) does not make it so. There are negative forces in our society that have taken extreme advantage of this mindset. I don’t understand what they have to gain except perhaps power, which as we have seen today is easily stripped away.

Today’s America is exhilarating and frustrating. The fellowship and camaraderie with neighbors, friends and political party members is very uplifting. Yes, this country elected the first black President and it’s too bad that in 2012 that we have to point out that he’s black (although also white). Hidden or at least silent prejudices have sprung to life, especially today. I am disappointed in some friends and family who can’t get over this election and had to “unfriend” them on Facebook. I believe that this is a tiny bit the way they feel and then exaggerated because it has been incited by “drama” news. These are not the people I’ve known, some a lifetime. I would not be sorry to see Fox News banned from the airwaves. On the plus side, I have met many amazing people during political events and online. It makes me really feel that we will make it to the other side after this monumental swing.

I love that we the people were able to come together and re-elect a man of the people and not for corporations. I think the amount of money thrown into this election is obscene. I’ve learned that since the beginning of our country there has been the struggle between corporate interests and the people. Still just as we did in revolutionary times, the people came together to fight back. I’m glad to see some of our politicians come back to their political roots and senses, and do the right thing. We are still fighting the dishonesty of the corporate interests. I learned about ALEC, funded by Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity (although one and the same) and many other corporations. Fortunately, many of the corporations, who after ALEC was exposed, have left this “non-profit”. ALEC has written much of the legislation in the last twenty plus years for our legislators. I’m sure it seemed benign at the time but in truth, ALEC wrote the legislation to favor corporations not the people. They have slowly stripped away the peoples’ rights in the courts. When you ask yourself why do we have dirty water, air, oceans, lead in our toys, ecoli in our fruits and vegetables, hormones in our milk, drugs in our animals, salmonella in our poultry and Genetically Modified Organisms in our food chain, the answer is ALEC. This is a biggie to be aware of: Pennsylvania law endangers public health by forbidding health care professionals from sharing information as they learn about certain chemicals and procedures used in high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. The reason, it’s considered a trade secret. So it is not done to benefit humanity, no, it’s done to increase profits at the bottom line!

I’ve lived through two recessions so I’m very conservative when it comes to money. If I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel I’m not going to invest in it. I live in a small sub-association (66 homes) which is part of a larger community (3500 homes) and we are very close knit. We’ve lost neighbors because of the housing boom/bust. Many are struggling but still kept their heads above water. I sometimes wait for the other shoe to drop and lose another neighbor. I planned for our retirement so we are comfortable for now. I’ll let you know after the “fiscal cliff”. We did without so we could have what we have today and still we are constantly threatened with the cutbacks. I’m very angry with Congress and I think they should take the paycut and they should lose their benefits. The hypocrisy of those useless legislators sitting on their little thrones, telling the people that they have to cut pay and benefits, so they can afford their excesses is unforgivable. I was very happy to see some of them lose the election because of this “you can’t touch me” attitude.

I am very hopeful about the future as long as WE the people stay engaged. We can’t go back into hibernation until the next election because those dummies are still playing games with us. I think they need to be accountable to the people. I was disappointed that Boehner and Cantor were re-elected. I hoped Boehner would have a change of purpose but he’s back to the same old game playing.

I thought I was an informed voter when I was younger but I had no idea how much corruption was going on in the background. There are organizations that are about the people and keep me informed. Coffee Party and all the Occupy movements have been a very strong influence in my political outlook today. I’m glad to see Occupy still alive and kicking as much as the Right and Fox News would like them to go away. I love the ideas that they have come up with, such as buying up debts before the collection agencies can get to them. I would like to see some of the organizers run for office. I want our elections to be free of money influence. I know that it takes money to run for office but really there is a huge internet network that doesn’t cost and the information can still get out there. We need this change.

So how do I think I can change the future? I’m going to continue to be informed and spread the news. I’m going to join in the protests. I’m going to write the letters and demand the answers not a form letter. I’m going to support Coffee Party, Occupy Movement and any other interest that is about the people. I’m going to stay involved at the local level. I’m going to be grateful for my political friends who don’t see eye to eye; it makes the world go round. I want campaign finance reform and that is going to be a very difficult goal. I want to stay positive and be 100% right, America does have a future.