By Jo Cross
“The old order changeth, giving place to new.” When Tennyson wrote those words, he could never have imagined the changes we are seeing today. Perhaps Calvin Coolidge came a little closer when, in the 1920s, he said, “The business of America is Business.” But he, too, was looking at business as it was nearly a century ago, not as it is now.
What the nation’s people have lost is loyalty. We can no longer depend on loyalty from the companies we do business with. Lost is the loyalty we have given to our political parties. Gone is the loyalty we expect from the workplace we have devoted our lives to and the benefits we had expected to have in our retirement years. The only commitment they have, wears a dollar sign in front of it.
Let’s look at some of the changes in the old order. When we shop at our preferred grocery store, we find that what we buy is ten cents higher than last week. If we turn in $100 worth of grocery receipts, we save ten cents a gallon on gas. We look at the gas bill. We should look at the grocery receipts and see the many ten cents increases in the foods we’ve bought.
Many of us have been loyal voters for Democrats and Republicans. We fail to see that the party we’ve been faithful to has not been loyal to us. Given a choice between dollars and doughnuts, key politicians have chosen dollars from lobbyists and large corporations and the voter is left with the hole in the doughnut. Having sold out, politicians must do as their financiers decree. Our do-nothing Congressmen get rich by doing nothing for their constituents.
What of the millions of men and women who worked for fifty years for a large corporation, bought stock in the company, and belonged to a generous retirement plan? If the retirement fund was ever insured or held in escrow, it has long been used to keep the dying company afloat. Employee’s stock is worthless, and these retired employees face their old age without funds.
Remember the Rockies in the 1990’s? Great team spirit – stands full of ardent fans. They had everything but good pitching. The new owners promised changes, and that’s what the fans got. One by one, the good players were sold and the Rockies, we knew and loved, were no longer there. Loyalty to the fans? Forget it. The only loyalty was to the almighty dollar.
Even family loyalties have lessened in many families. Not enough loss to be noticeable, perhaps, but different from what it used to be. We, all of us, need to think about loyalty. Can we afford to be loyal to a company that has forsaken us?