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Loose Cannon Careening
Recent comments by a Christian leader caused me to think of a loose cannon. During the days of sailing ships opposing frigates would stand toe-to-toe against each other blasting away with cannon shot. The recoil of such a gun hurling a fifty-pound missile could be terrific. Thus both sides of a cannon were secured firmly with a thick hawser.
Occasionally, during a storm or a battle one of these ropes would snap allowing a 2,000-pound cannon to careen wildly about the deck causing more death, injury and destruction than an enemy broadside.
Does any of this remind you of Pat Robertson's statement recommending the assassination of Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela? As a Christian, Robertson knows the sixth commandment – correctly translated – reads "Thou shall not murder." Assassination, whether by a government or an individual, is just an euphemism for murder. Robertson, in his position as a Christian spokesman, brings his religion – my religion – into disrepute by advising or consenting or approving murder.
But there's more harm yet.
The United States imports 15% of its oil from Venezuela. President Chavez has threatened to cut off all petroleum exports to the U.S. if the CIA., as he believes, makes another assassination attempt on his life. Pat Robertson's public statement calling for the murder of President Chavez only exacerbates an already strained relationship between that country and the United States. Perhaps, like a cannon with its restraining cable pulled apart, Venezuela could react severely to Robertson's martial comment. Is the stage being set for another oil embargo? This, at the very least, would mean a return to the gas lines of 1973, financial chaos in the oil markets and, perhaps, even worse.
New Milord, PA
Let’s Utilize Us!
In Susquehanna County, what do “Economic Development”, “Black Plague”, and “Progress” have in common? They are all equally feared by many of the folks in this community. Why?
Well, I can understand about the Black Plague. Not something I’d welcome either. But what about the other two? Why does the concept of economic growth and the benefits derived from such action terrify the population so? It is a mystery and frustration to me. But from what I can gather from casual conversation within the community, there are two main ideas that seem to be cast in cement, and at first glance non-negotiable.
Idea #1: This is a rural area and the character of it should not be changed.
Idea #2: I like it just the way it is. (see Idea #1)
However, much as it may be wishful to some to keep things frozen in time, the real world doesn’t work that way. Just as nature doesn’t exist in a vacuum, neither does a community. Simply put, it either moves forward (and grows and thrives with careful planning and guidance) or slips backward (through inaction, cowardice, ignorance, and myopic economic vision). From this high horse, it appears to be sliding backwards, at a rapid rate.
Agriculture, though one of the main “industries” of the area, is not able to sustain the economy of the area at present. The potential for developing our farmland properties as centers for local and short distance sustainable agriculture is great; but that’s another letter and a heap of education aimed at the public to wake up and notice where your food supply is really coming from (and what it does or doesn’t contain!). Therefore, agriculture (as it exists in its present form today) as a source of employment is not cutting it.
Next, there are very few small to medium industrial, manufacturing, or technical businesses in the area to support the working population. Therefore, there are three choices for earning a living: commute 60 miles a day to the Scranton or Binghamton area, leave the area entirely, or go on welfare. These alternatives should be unacceptable to the residents of this county. Business and a rural quality of life CAN co-exist if they are developed and managed intelligently. It doesn’t have to be an either/or choice.
The lack of economic development can be demonstrated as a simple formula:
No businesses = no jobs = wage earners leave area = no taxpayers = no $$ for services = decay of town and infrastructure = more folks leave = no economy at all = NO TOWN.
In your opinion, where are we right now on this scale?
There are four levels of government responsible for this trend. Federal (congressmen), state (senators), local (county reps and township/borough councils), and you and I. The most important level is us. We, as a group of citizens see things on a day to day basis, notice areas where there is a need for improvement, and have an endless source of ideas and solutions to offer in each one of our towns.
But what is needed most is the “courage” to demand action from our leaders. Most of our towns have an “economic development” committee or representative. Do you know who your representative is? If not, find out. It’s time they did their job, or gave it over to someone who actually cares about the community in which we live. And, the “courage” to get involved ourselves. Each one of us is the best “natural resource” our community has. Let’s utilize us!
New Milford, PA
EDITOR’S RESPONSE: Although I do not normally do this, Sue – RIGHT ON!
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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