I have joined the "protest movement" - not a very well organized state of affairs, but critically important. (A previous protest stopped the Vietnam War.)
For those in the present generation who do not know me and who never knew the "Great Generation," who are mostly not here anymore, let me introduce myself and perhaps speak for some of them.
I am a 93-year-old businessman, still working long hours, currently in the land-development and home-building business. I have done about 50 projects (large and small), some public. I came from a humble background, founded and ran a local appliance and furniture business for 40 years, graduated college magna cum laude at 65 years of age, the same year my son also graduated from St. Lawrence University.
I created much new tax base and economic developments in the village, four towns, two counties and Florida. My success is a result of hard work and honest dealings, anti-APA (state Adirondack Park Agency) and anti-poor government. I have lived at the same address and have been married to a fine lady for more than 60 years. I am a World War II combat veteran with ribbons in three theaters of war and spent a year in a state hospital in Ray Brook recovering from tuberculosis, which I acquired in the South Pacific war. I have never received a dime in benefits from the Veterans Administration.
I am anti-militarism and an advocate for peace and prosperity - I have earned the right to say what I think. Please bear with me.
Too many American people are not working anymore. They want to be taken care of. They consume more than they produce. Even wealthy people expect a monthly check from "the government." We are living too well on borrowed money, which will have to be paid back. It may be near the end.
There are too many able-bodied people not working, living well from excessively generous government and education fringe benefits.
Our school system is failing, controlled by unions with too much emphasis on sports - graduates are not prepared to earn a living and are not qualified to fill job openings. Many cannot pay off their education loans. The high cost should not fall so heavily on senior citizens and non-earning real estate.
There are too many people on Wall Street and in banks, big organizations and companies making too much money with schemes, waging war, which has become a large American business.
Our tax code is a mess. It should require all earnings above $2 million a year to be in the 90 percent bracket, with no exceptions or loopholes. All homes above three per family should pay a real estate tax of 90 percent.
As wonderful as some people and institutions are, we need changes which would improve things. Human beings need to make better decisions and right what is wrong in private, local, state, federal and world affairs - a very big order!
Let us start at home, where we may have some control. Government has lost "the shiny vision on the hill" which was America. The greatest economy the world has ever known is broken - people did that. They just did not care.
We do not have a democracy or a republic in these United States anymore. We have a plutocracy: that is, government controlled by a small minority of very rich and powerful people, banks, business and institutions.
"The military industrial complex" is running America by lobbyists, not loyal American citizens.
We still elect our lawmakers, but they have put their own interests and the interests of those who reward them ahead of the public good. There are very few intelligent, dedicated statesmen in government today.
As great as our federal and state constitutions are, they need major revision and updating.
It is not sufficient to recite the problems, and the solutions will not fit into 1,500 words - it would take a book. I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I can point out two symbolic facts:
Recently, a football game in Miami with a very large attendance got more news and televison coverage than any previous coverage of any subject ever. What happened? Some gladiators played with a ball. Locally, what subject gets the most coverage in the Enterprise? Every day, two or three pages of sports, many in color, occasionally both the front and back pages; the couch potatoes love it. What a waste of time and resources! How can we get Americans to stop playing with a ball and get back to work?
I see little in local newspapers about school and community betterment. My school taxes are much higher because of an over-involvement in expensive sports.
Furthermore, although the towns and villages have much expensive equipment, they provide virtually no services to some taxpayers.
We live in a nation that wants to be fed, housed, clothed, entertained and provided good health care, but there are too many with wants who do not want to work. There are too few workers to provide all of the necessities and wants, even when the takers are willing to pay. It is not entirely a matter of money. Quite a few people have plenty of money.
Our government sends money to people, who are mostly over 65 years of age, in the form of a Social Security check of $1,000 or more, whether they need it or not. Many have paid in, but less than they receive, and many spouses and children have never contributed. If you see a person really doing hard work, they most likely have dark eyes and a dark skin color.
One thing Saranac Lake does not need is an APA environmental lawyer running our village and spending our tax dollars for the next four years.
I plan to continue until I get old. What are you going to do about it? I will be watching!
Frank Casier lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Saranac Lake.