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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 7:44 pm | Fog/Mist 58º


Tim Durnin: We Need to Give Our Nation’s Takers the Boot

Finding common ground will help get our economy and communities back on track

I was raised believing that actions have consequences. In my early years those consequences were swift, sure and painful. Coupled with this belief was an understanding that successful people earned their success through education, hard work, faith in God and commitment to strong and basic values.

During the past 20 years, my appreciation for life’s contours has evolved. My naivete has been tempered by experience, and I have come to understand that the map of my youth was turned upside down. The concentration of good, hardworking, thoughtful and generous people are not at the top of the salary scales, nor do they fill the seats of power.

This is not to suggest that there are not good people who are self-made. I have the advantage and good fortune to know many of them. They are easy to identify. They do not address the world looking down at it but looking out into it, often asking, “What more can I do?” They are thoughtful and generous, humble and appreciative. They give far more to the world than they will ever take.

Unfortunately, as our current economic climate would indicate, there are far more takers, people and businesses for whom the world and its people are commodities to be consumed, to be used, discarded and forgotten. Like some fatal parasite, they suck the life and moral blood from our economy, from our communities and families with little thought to the end game. Wall Street and Washington loom large in this emerging horror.

What fascinates me is how successful the villains have been in deflecting and redirecting blame. And by placing the conversation in the context of political ideology, they have paralyzed any effective response, buying them precious time to accumulate more wealth and garner greater control.

Our problems will not be solved in the contentious, divisive and soundbite-driven environment of the political arena. We need to leave Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Moore off this guest list.

Our greatest hope, I believe, is in each other. But as long as we are looking across the table pointing fingers, we are not going to talk. We will not get to that critical point in our conversation where we recognize how similar are our circumstances.

It is at the point we recognize and embrace our commonality that we will find the courage, creativity and will to challenge the external forces now shaping our destiny. It is the common and good women and men, the generous and principled from both sides of the political aisle that are our hope. It is you and me.

In my imaginings I want to be a part of a new political coalition, driven by thoughtful dialog and informed decision-making. I want to participate in an alliance that emerges and is strengthened without the support of corporate America, a party free from the paralyzing commitments to outdated and ineffective models of governance. I want to turn the map right side up.

I harbor no illusions about the absurdity of such suggestions. But when I compare it to the absurdity of our current situation, well, I find some merit in my hopes. I do know that, no matter how passionately it is advanced by either party, our current course will not take us where we need to go.

Finally, I acknowledge that I am one small, inconsequential voice, a voice that has often failed. In spite of this, I know that ultimately it will be the many small voices, finding each other and speaking together that will change our course and circumstance. It is a deserving ambition.

— Tim Durnin is a father, husband and serves as chief operating officer for Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for comments, discussion, criticism, suggestions and story ideas.

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