Well then, a reader has spoken as Americans do

By Don Rush
By Don Rush

These are some exceedingly exciting times we are living in! This past weekend, whilst meandering through one of the area’s state parks, my son Sean, 16, and I were discussing that very issue.
Said he during our walking adventure, and with not a little bit of sarcasm, “I am so thrilled to be living in these times.”
He was alluding to the wonderful Republican and Democrat presidential candidates duking it out this election year and how folks his age (and we adults), communicate every day.
I am sure I responded with my own sarcasm thusly, “At least we have running water and modern bathrooms these days.” Now, I know that was not the assuring, adult-like answer he was expecting. However, it is true, life in the hygiene arena is so much more awesomer today than in past generations. As far as civility, cliques, and communicating with courtesy and common sense go, pining for those polite, gentle days of yesterday is a waste of energy. Let’s face it, Americans are just as Europeans see us — rough and tumble. We are a nation of complainers and while it has worked to our favor so far, we may want to start closing our mouths and opening our ears.
Sean’s an “old soul” and has no use for manure he see’s about him.

* * *

Last week, we got taken to the woodshed for not apologizing publicly enough. Last Thursday, at about 3 p.m. in the afternoon, somebody secretly dropped off a plastic bag outside our Clarkston News office. Inside, as you can see in the picture, was a shredded copy of the September 21, 2016 C-news, and an 8 by 11 sheet of white paper with big red words, “Letter to the Editor.”

This opinion is trash -- literally trash as it was thrown on the sidewalk in downtown Clarkston in front of our building.
This opinion is trash — literally trash as it was thrown on the sidewalk in downtown Clarkston in front of our building.

I’m not sure what the ever “edgy” Clarkston News did to cause a reader to break the law and litter along Main Street. Was it a single news story? Was it something in the police log? Did the reader disagree with something on our Op Ed (Opinion-Editorial) pages? We do not know what the reader’s issue(s) was (were). And, that being said, I think this is kinda’ what my son was trying to talk about.
Today, instead of expressing our displeasure or differences by opening dialogue as to come to a solution, we: A.) yell at each other; or B.) just tell each other ‘you suck’ without any context. In both instances, the idea is to stymie communication because today in America, ‘you are either with me 100 percent or you are 100 percent against me.’
There seems to be no middle ground, just this side or that. I’d love to know what the shredding litterer was upset about, because once I know that, I can work on making the newspaper better. But again, that isn’t the way we roll these days — today it easier to just tear down and destroy than build up for the good of all.

* * *

Of course, as soon as I thought the above, I was reminded of that eventful day in December of 1773, when the Sons of Liberty went on down to Griffin’s Wharf. What, you don’t remember that? That’s when a bunch of colonists, disguised as Mohawk Indians (‘xcuse me, Native Americans) whizzed off at the Tea Act of 1773 tax hike, and led by John Adams, basically stole and destroyed over 340 chests full of tea by throwing it in that Boston harbor. (Kids, John Adams became the 2nd President of these here United States.)

Source: W.D. Cooper. "Boston Tea Party.", The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789. Engraving. Plate opposite p. 58. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party
Source: W.D. Cooper. “Boston Tea Party.”, The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789. Engraving. Plate opposite p. 58. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress. wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party

I reckon we have always been a riotous nation, so why should we be surprised now when folks riot in areas like Charlotte, North Carolina as they have done recently?
Because I am always curious and always think of questions, I wanted to know the value of those 45 tons of tea in today dollars. I went through a multi-stepped process on a number of websites. The value of the tea destroyed was 18,000£ (pounds). In Massachusetts, during 1750s, 750£ was roughly worth $48,000 in 2000 value. I divided 18,000 by 750 and using my handy, dandy, “Made in China” calculator, figured the year 2000 value to be $1.152 million (U.S. dollars). I then found an inflation calculator online, entered that dollar amount to find our founding fathers destroyed $1,618,994.65 of private property during their protest.

* * *

Wow. This column went in a direction I was not expecting. I will have to share this with my sons and see what they think. What do you think?

2 Responses to "Well then, a reader has spoken as Americans do"

  1. kevin thomas   September 28, 2016 at 8:55 am

    thanks once again for your awesomer column……you could have put in with all the lack of communication the idea of texting. nobody talks on the phone or even meet with anybody–its just texting. then the peoples’ conversation get blown out of way out of proportion or out of context and everyone get frustrated over this. communication, communication, communication–time for some tea–boston tea that is !!

    Reply
    • Don Rush   September 28, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Yes, the more options we have to, the less we actually communicate.
      thanks for reading my “awesomer” column! — don

      Reply

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