Gebhard: Time to rethink our priorities

A society is a living organism, and when one part is infected and sick, the whole organism can be infected as it metastasizes. We need to bring all of our citizens up to a healthy level both educationally, emotionally and financially. Educationally, as many of our citizens as possible should be educated as well as we are capable. Equal opportunity requires full educational opportunities for all. Without equal opportunity, people are not emotionally invested in American ideals and culture.

America has always taken pride in nurturing the ideas of Horatio Algers. If citizens are not educated properly they cannot reasonably expect to share in the American Dream. Thus, we need to invest in education for all our citizens or we are asking for an unstable society.

One of the reasons for our tremendous effort in World War II was the pervasive feeling of inclusion by all our people. True, we had been going through a terrible depression, but most people felt like they were all sharing in the pain. Thus, Americans mobilized the entire country and produced weapons of war in record numbers.

As a country we have lost sight, at least in our nation's capital, of the terrible injustice we are doing ourselves. Robbing our citizens of a decent education also robs all of us of intellectual capital that will sorely be needed as the world changes and new challenges arise. We are emulating the oil sheiks of the Middle East, by shortchanging our children of the working class of a decent education. We will pay a steep price, as these youngsters see no future without the reading, writing, and arithmetic skills that they need to find gainful employment.

Our prisons are overcrowded and our unemployment lines are only short because of all those whose benefits have run out. We need to rethink our priorities.

Dave Gebhard lives in Lakeport.