Lost Faith in My Parents’ Generation

If this is all you read on line this week, read this and pass it on.


Posted at 06:58 PM ET, 11/11/2011

Penn State, my final loss of faith

By Thomas L. Day

I’m 31, an Iraq war veteran, a Penn State graduate, a Catholic, a native of State College, acquaintance of Jerry Sandusky’s, and a product of his Second Mile foundation.

And I have fully lost faith in the leadership of my parents’ generation.

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno arrives home Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in State College, Pa. (Matt Rourke – AP)

(Read Day’s follow up to this post in his chat Monday with readers here. )

I was never harmed by Sandusky, but I could have been. When I was 15, my mother, then looking for a little direction for her teenage son, introduced me to the Second Mile’s Friend Fitness program. It was a program resembling Big Brother, Big Sister with a weekly exercise regimen.

Instead of Sandusky’s care, I was sent to a group of adults, many of whom were in their 20s. They took me from a C-student to the University of Chicago, where I’m a master’s student now. They took the football team’s waterboy and made a 101st Airborne Division soldier.

I was one of the lucky ones. My experience with Second Mile was a good one. I should feel fortunate, blessed even, that I was never harmed. Yet instead this week has left me deeply shaken, wondering what will come of the foundation, the university, and the community that made me into a man.

One thing I know for certain: A leader must emerge from Happy Valley to tie our community together again, and it won’t come from our parents’ generation.

They have failed us, over and over and over again.

I speak not specifically of our parents — I have two loving ones — but of the public leaders our parents’ generation has produced. With the demise of my own community’s two most revered leaders, Sandusky and Joe Paterno, I have decided to continue to respect my elders, but to politely tell them, “Out of my way.”

They have had their time to lead. Time’s up. I’m tired of waiting for them to live up to obligations.

Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.

For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.

We looked to Washington to lead us after September 11th. I remember telling my college roommates, in a spate of emotion, that I was thinking of enlisting in the military in the days after the attacks. I expected legions of us — at the orders of our leader — to do the same. But nobody asked us. Instead we were told to go shopping.

The times following September 11th called for leadership, not reckless, gluttonous tax cuts. But our leaders then, as now, seemed more concerned with flattery. Then -House Majority Leader and now-convicted felon Tom Delay told us, “nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” Not exactly Churchillian stuff.

Those of us who did enlist were ordered into Iraq on the promise of being “greeted as liberators,” in the words of our then-vice president. Several thousand of us are dead from that false promise.

We looked for leadership from our churches, and were told to fight not poverty or injustice, but gay marriage. In the Catholic Church, we were told to blame the media, not the abusive priests, not the bishops, not the Vatican, for making us feel that our church has failed us in its sex abuse scandal and cover-up.

Our parents’ generation has balked at the tough decisions required to preserve our country’s sacred entitlements, leaving us to clean up the mess. They let the infrastructure built with their fathers’ hands crumble like a stale cookie. They downgraded our nation’s credit rating. They seem content to hand us a debt exceeding the size of our entire economy, rather than brave a fight against the fortunate and entrenched interests on K Street and Wall Street.

Now we are asking for jobs and are being told we aren’t good enough, to the tune of 3.3 million unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34.

This failure of a generation is as true in the halls of Congress as it is at Penn State.

Perhaps the most vivid illustration this week of our leaderless culture came with the riots in State College that followed Paterno’s dismissal. The display resembled Lord of the Flies. Without revered figures from the older generation to lead them, thousands of students at one of the country’s best state universities acted like children home alone.

This week the world found the very worst of human nature in my idyllic Central Pennsylvania home. I found that a man my community had anointed a teacher and nurturer of children, instead reportedly had them hiding in his basement. The anger and humiliation were more than I could bear. I can’t wait for my parents’ generation’s Joshua any longer. They’ve lost my faith.

Thomas Day is a graduate student at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Violence is Just a “Spark” Away


With city officials reacting to the peaceful protests and occupation of public places, riot squads are sent in to dismantle camps. This is a volatile mix of anger, fear, frustration, and police brutality that will most assuredly lead to violence. Some trigger happy riot cops will kill peaceful protestors and the spark “seen round the world” will ignite.

A young person asked me today “where is it all going?” My reply was that it would not be peaceful. I lived through the 60’s and 70’s and know that when people are poor, without work and healthcare, without hope, and are angry….it doesn’t take much to trigger a violent revolution. Unfortunately, it is the only thing those in power understand.

This could all be avoided IF money was taken out of political elections. Congress, and state legislators are bought and paid for my the rich and powerful. America is no longer a democracy. That is a fact that more and more people are beginning to understand. Unfortunately, Snowe, Collins, Michaud here in Maine still don’t get it! Pelosi, Boehner, McConnell, and maybe even Obama still don’t get it. We The People are sick and tired of it and deserve and want better. This is not a Democratic or Republican Party issue…this is a matter of Democracy being undermined by the rich and powerful and our politicians losing their moral compass.

I’m afraid to say it, but the end will be revolution….and there will be violence. It is the only thing “they” will understand and THEY will provoke it!

FDR Fought Economic Injustice With the National Guard and His Economic Bill of Rights

The Occupy movement has its roots in and found its voice in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Economic Bill of Rights. Please read this and share it. It is a moral compass for the path we are on today, not only in this country but around the world.

In 1936  hundreds of men and women took over GM plants and occupied them for 45 days, and their actions beat the corporation and was the beginning of the middle class. When the local police were sent in to break the strike and force the protestors out, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent in the National Guard….not to end the strike, but to force the police to back off and to protect the protestors from violence and police brutality. Amazing contrast with what is happening today in Portland, Oregon, Oakland, CA, Denver, and other cities.

In his last state-of-the-union address to the nation, he was so ill that he could not appear before Congress to deliver it, choosing instead to deliver it by radio. When he had finished, he went before television cameras to deliver his “Economic Bill of Rights.” Here is what he proposed:

“It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.”[3] People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world. “

FDR died before WWII ended and before his Economic Bill of Rights could be enacted. It is now up to all of us – We The People – to reclaim our rights and our country.

Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” portrays this in a magnificent way. If you haven’t seen it yet, see it. And if you have seen it, watch it again. The Occupy Movement which is growing exponentially all over the world found its voice in this documentary.

Moss Stars-in-the-Trees Stancapiano – Occupy Augusta

I met this wonderful young man on November 5, 2011 at the Occupy Augusta event. He’s here for his 5 year-old son and future generations. This movement represents such a diverse cross-section of the country….and the world. I find myself totally engrossed in them and their stories. What a reawakening Occupy has become.

Michael Moore: America Is Not Broke

Amateur video taken in Madison, WI in March, 2011.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

You can see it here.

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

You can read the entire talk on Michael’s website.


Mother and Three Children Support Occupy Augusta

Kathleen Danckel and her three children made the trip from Belfast, Maine to join the movement at the capital in Augusta on Saturday, November 5, 2011. This isn’t just young people, the poor and homeless, and the jobless who are supporting the movement. Kathleen is like millions of Americans who do what they can to support those who are camping out in public spaces. They bring money, food, wood, tools, bales of hay, tarps, and medicine.

You too can help out by contributing what you can to sustain the effort through the winter months. Here’s Kathleen and her children in this short video clip.

Occupy protesters in B.C. may be forced to pack up tents

This is absurd! People are dying everywhere: in hospitals, on our highways and sky ways, on NASCAR and Indy Car racetracks, on high school football fields… you name it. What this shows is that those in power still don’t get it and think they can make this movement go away by force.
I find it amazing that the “establishment” types are the ones who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s when millions and millions of young people marched with Dr. King to fight for civil rights; they were the ones who protested against the Vietnam War – another war of lies; they were the ones who witnessed the anger and violence that erupted from Watts to D.C., Detroit, Chicago and across this land when neighborhoods and stores burned.
Those in Congress, multinational board rooms, and Wall Street still are not listening to the voices of the people, but they will! Millions of people in cities and towns all over these United States, Canada, and abroad are crying out of justice, equality, and a voice. One sign I saw at Occupy Augusta, Maine read: “When Injustice Becomes Law, Rebellion Becomes Duty.”

Watch Leonard Cohen as he performs “Democracy” in the PBS special LEONARD COHEN LIVE IN LONDON

Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” is prophetic: “I love the country, but I can’t stand the scene…..Democracy is comin’ to the USA.”  For me, this song could be the Occupy Movement’s anthem.
After a 15 year absence, Leonard Cohen, one of the great signer/songwriters of our time, returned to the stage in London. The live performance aired on PBS and is available for viewing on youtube. I’m offering it here in support of the Occupy Movement in Maine and everywhere the voices of the people are crying out for justice, equality, and a voice.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHI9BTpGkp8&w=480&h=360]

Occupy Oakland Calls For City-Wide General Strike, Nov 2

This is what true Democracy looks like: millions of people in the streets scaring the shit out of Congress, Wall Street, and the 1%. Fear and hopelessness are being overcome in cities and towns all over this country, and the world. For too long, We The People have not been part of the equation. This land is our land, and we are taking it back! Click on the image below to read the article.