A Shortage Of Workers, Is Failure Of Gov’t.

Lots of things make me angry these days, but nothing makes me madder than seeing places close because no one wants to work anymore. We’ve weathered all kinds of changes in our country, but the deterioration of the American work ethic should send out alarm bells that are heard in every corner of this country.

America was founded on a set of values called Puritan Ethics, and yes, I know those Puritans could be a joyless bunch, but their devotion to the necessary toils of life was the foundation of what America would become: a country of hard workers that set their sights high–a nation of people who were willing to risk it all for their dreams, were willing to sweat and toil and sacrifice. Because of this we changed the world–invented things the world would buy and use, put men on the moon, created the Internet and home computers–the list is endless and historic and beyond impressive.

This was all possible because of our foundational belief in hard work, in our “early to bed, early to rise,” sensibility. Those Puritans set their sights west after spreading out across New England and they carried with them in their horse and buggies the idea that man is in charge of his own destiny, that he got out of life what he put into it.

A friend from Florida went to lunch today and she walked into an empty restaurant. The owner was sitting at the bar and just looked at her. “You want a beer?” he asked, “because my cook didn’t show up again and I don’t have a waitress anymore. I don’t want to fire the cook because he does show up occasionally. All I can offer you is a beer.”

I was at a Chautauqua County restaurant perilously close to the Fourth of July, and in the middle of that busy afternoon the whole cooking staff walked out of the restaurant. Just like that. They were angry some of the kitchen staff had failed to show up for their shift and they were tired of carrying the burden.

It’s the moment I realized we now inhabit an entirely different universe than the one I once knew. It’s getting harder and harder to reconcile reality, isn’t it? But isn’t that the purpose of this exercise in dismantling everything we value in this country? So you don’t even know where you are anymore? Where up is down and down is up? Disorientation is good for the masses when you want to make unpopular and historic changes without the permission of the people who live on the planet.

What kind of government encourages people to stop working? If our work ethic is what makes this country what it is, why would anyone create an incentive that causes workers to stay home? That forces businesses to close? To pay people to skip work and watch Netflix?

Work–the value and energy we put out into the world–is important to each and every one of us. We learn about ourselves, contribute our talents to the common good of all, develop our minds to their full potential. It’s not just about earning a paycheck: work is an invaluable tool that helps the human spirit to evolve. It creates structure in our lives, it defines us, it keeps our world alive and turning.

A shortage of workers is endemic all across this country. Another friend sent a picture today of her favorite restaurant. A sign in front of an empty parking lot read: “Closed. No Workers.”

I can’t tell you exactly where we’re headed as a nation–as a world. But what I do feel is that we are getting perilously close to the end of a road where there is no turning back. Our children are behind in school, our businesses are understaffed or closing, and we’re bickering with one another about all the things that divide us: political party, gender, race, economic status and now vaccination status.

It is time to come together folks. Recognize that these divisions are extremely dangerous to our democracy and is exactly what happened in Germany in World War ll. People who don’t regard the past are destined to repeat it.

It’s time to come together. To get back to work. To find common ground with one another and march towards a better world through communication and respect for our differences.

And sooner rather than later.


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