Social fabric is tearing

The recent social uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria and other countries – facilitated by Facebook and other social networks – have their roots deeply embedded in American technology. These events have led to the demise of longtime rulers and dictators. The protesting and civil disobedience overseas has boomeranged with a vengeance, yet most rich could not care less. Naturally, with the increasing gap between rich and poor, improved mechanisms for information-sharing and organizing are permeating American culture. The rich, largely unaffected by the economic downturn, don’t realize that real hurt exists and is proliferating. Outsourcing, chronic unemployment, underemployment, etc., are conspiring to saturate our economy with uncertainty and hopelessness. Justice is the first casualty. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. warned, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Immigrants, legal and undocumented, and willing to work for less, are unintentionally lowering American living standards. Blacks and poor whites existing on the fringes, forced into a black-market economy filled with crime and drugs, are overlooked by middle America, whose members are now themselves feeling the pinch. White-collar jobs have become a major American export. Homes are being foreclosed and devalued. Are we unraveling?

The Occupy movement has focused attention on many problems. The deep-rooted problem, however, is no consideration or care for the less fortunate. When our social fabric tears, those falsely believing they are immune should help sew things back together. John F. Kennedy cautioned that if we fail to protect the many we cannot save the few: “We all breathe the same air. ... And we all are mortal.”

A rising tide cannot lift your boat if you don’t have a boat. Dr. King also prophesied, “We must learn to live together as men, or perish as fools.”

Tunk Martin

Edgefield, S.C.

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