Horses 9/5/19

Opinion piece by Richard Bleil

A horse will kill itself for its rider. It’s heartbreaking, actually.

It was portrayed by John Wayne in a movie. The reason was his need to get a wounded woman to the doctor, quite long away, quickly. As such, he road the horse at full speed until the horse died, after which, if I am recalling correctly, he stole another nearby horse to complete the journey.

Can you imagine? Trusting the “master” and being betrayed as the horse tries to please the rider by following orders to run to death, tasting its own blood in its mouth, breathing so heavily that it must feel like suffocating, until finally, nothing. Because the rider was heartless and careless.

Isn’t this what is happening with our society today?

Our president is diverting funds from military projects that would provide jobs and income to many states to build a ridiculous wall. Congress passed a tax break that favors the exceptionally wealthy, and builds tremendous national debt. National health care is under assault and is being dismantled piece by piece. A “trade war” with increasing tariffs is hitting our nation’s agriculture industry extremely hard. Funding for education, the arts, science, and housing is being reduced. Our young men and women are being sent to fight wars that are going on two decades old now with no real end in sight.

And here we are, working hard to pay taxes and social security for a government that sees both as their personal property rather than belonging to us.

The cost of education continues to go up. Although unemployment is down, we are working more and more jobs for stagnating wages and ever decreasing benefits. The cost of goods and rent is skyrocketing, while we are forced to work for wages that haven’t increased significantly, well, let’s just say for a long time. It costs money to live, to eat, to be healthy and even to die.

And here we are, with no choice but to play the game, making money for those who don’t need it, and won’t share with those who earned those profits for them.

In every way, it seems that we are being ridden harder and longer by our masters. How long can we maintain this pace, and these policies?

The reality is that the people can only be abused for so long. Fortunately, some businesses are beginning to see the errors of their ways, and beginning to change their thinking. Part of this is a certain number of mega wealthy giving significant amounts of their considerable holdings back in the form of charitable contributions and benefits for society. Warren Buffet is the first one that I recall doing so, and even he claims his liberal wife helped him to see the errors of his ways, and the need to give back to the society from which he drew his wealth. His actions acted as a model to other super wealthy, such as Bill Gates, not only contributing huge sums of money to society and philanthropic activities, but also promising to leave most of their wealth to such causes in their wills.

It’s a start, anyway.

Some businesses are also changing their focus. At some point in the ’70’s, NCR changed its focus to being investor-centric. Before that, they were a great corporation with wonderful perks and benefits for their employees, including a great private park open only to their employees. New young business majors started cutting these benefits for temporary improvement of their bottom line, only to discover that the employees lost their dedication to the company as the company began cheating the employees. Today, it’s still in business, but almost as a zombie corporation with little real growth in many years.

The model of businesses focusing on investors has been the primary means of operation for many years. Today, the focus is beginning to shift, by too few but at least increasing numbers of businesses, to the needs and desires of their employees.

But, is it too little too late? History is full of examples of examples of governments becoming too large and corrupt, until the people finally had no choice but to rebel. I’m certainly not advocating such violence, and truly hope that it never comes to this, but in a country where more and more people are oppressed economically and racially, I fear we may be approaching a dangerous point. Fortunately, in this country, we have built in methods of bloodless revolutions. As people become sick of the games and injustices, they can always vote those responsible out of office, which is, of course, the preferable means of revolution. If things don’t change, though, one way or the other things will end up being changed before the horse dies.

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