To Bart Bertetto (who wrote an Inbox letter in the Jan. 25 LEO): Your point about the importance of hard work is well taken, especially in an economic landscape as difficult as this one. But please have some compassion for the people who do not have the advantages others (including myself) sometimes take for granted. Is an 18-year-old to be blamed for reading at an eighth-grade level, or might his underperforming school have something to do with it? Is a single mother of two to be blamed for bringing in a minimum wage because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get her degree? Maybe we see the world differently, but I have always assumed that for the most part, everyone wants to work hard to get ahead, it’s just that some of us have the wind at our backs while others are fighting it head on.
You can count me as one of the millions of Americans grateful for the corporations that have innovated to make our country prosperous. But when I see those same corporations playing chicken with the nation’s economy, poisoning our land, water and air, and buying elections, I can’t help but wonder if things ought to be more fair.
I’m not sure what data you have to support your claim that immigrants arriving with nothing are “ensconced in the middle class or higher” after half a generation, but if you could provide me with such data, it would certainly change some of my assumptions about the state of our nation.
Jacob Stoebel, Butchertown
Occupy a Vision
When I see images from Louisville’s occupation, it appears to be less of a protest, more of a small campout with friends. When you can fit the entire “Occupy” community in one tent, I think it is fair to say the message is not being effectively addressed. Apathy is a contagious social plague, and the problem is that 99 percent of the 99 percent will never actually do anything for the movement. At most, the average 20-something (including myself) will sit comfortably in his/her leather computer chair with the heat cranked to a toasty 75 degrees and send an email or two to various publications like this one, ranting about what needs to be done and who is at fault. When, in fact, they are not exactly sure who is screwing them, they just know that it’s happening.
Using sweeping generalizations/vague idealistic rhetoric and camping out in a seedy urban park in the middle of January with a handful of “activists” probably won’t change a thing. Let’s face it, the Occupy Louisville “movement” is getting more media attention about their tents being taken away than what they are actually protesting. I’m not proposing they give up, I’m just suggesting they re-evaluate the method being used if they intend to make real change. If you are protesting to make yourself feel better, then you are a part of the problem. Not the Wall Street problem, but the more subtle yet equally devastating social proliferation of narcissism and mediocrity. You want to make a change? Change your clothes, pinpoint the problem, assemble a noticeable group, have a clear-cut plan (that includes a specific vision), and see your plan through. I share your frustration with the expanding wealth gap in our country and support the general idea of what you’re doing, but the method is clearly ineffective.
Zack Sauer, Louisville
What kind of mind rationalizes cruel and greedy Bain dealings and pretends it is all ethical and respectable? Obviously, Mitt Romney has been in a deep denial to excuse his Bain riches. What kind of cold person can make millions in profits knowing the misery caused to countless people? Meanwhile, spectators look the other way and never question the slick fast-dealings of this “successful” business method. What has gone terribly wrong with our citizens and our country?
Imagine the millions of people hit directly or indirectly while these greed-obsessed “success stories” plunder this nation and call it “The American Way.” Such “free enterprise” remains a sacred Republican Commandment for these get-rich “successes” as they look down their superior noses at the terrible poor, now burdening those righteous wealthy lives.
Michael Gregoire, St. Matthews