To the Editor:
When “how things are” and “how things can be” come together, growth occurs. However, not acknowledging “how things are” denies the opportunity for growth.
I wish to speak to you as if we were face to face. Whether you may agree with what I say or not, you will know that I am speaking from my heart. I want to talk about Oak Ridge because it is something that I am personally very passionate about.
The scientific achievements from Oak Ridge are extraordinary, with some of the best research in the world developed here. I am very proud of Oak Ridge and our contributions to the world. Whether exploring the deep structure of matter or the genetic code, our scientists are leading the way. But, we must confront the hard truth that we can no longer count on the federal government to carry us through. For decades, we have been avoiding this and other avenues of development. We’re starting to make progress but still have a long way to go. We need to create a balanced economy that will provide prosperity and economic security for the people of Oak Ridge and Anderson County.
I feel it is apparent that only pursuing “white collar jobs” must come to an end. We must stop this stigma that has prevailed in keeping our youth from taking a career path other than college. There is honor in every type of job. Whether working in sanitation, paving the streets, plumbing, or cooking. My father was a machinist, my mother was a home maker, and my brother was a truck driver. All respectful work worthy of dignity. I feel that some of our leaders are bankrupt of a developmental agenda. If you don’t think so, just drive around and look at all the homes for sale. Look at our disgraceful mall and empty buildings like Pathway Bellows and Boeing. I feel we need more competent unselfish leadership.
One of the great debates of our time is about how much of your money should be spent by the state and how much you should keep to spend on your family. Margaret Thatcher said: “Let us never forget this fundamental truth: The state has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the state wishes to spend more, it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay—that ‘someone else’ is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money.”
Protecting the taxpayers’ purse and protecting the public services—these are our two greatest tasks, and their demands have to be reconciled. How very pleasant it would be to say, “Spend more on this, expand more on that.” We all have our favorite causes—I know I do. But someone has to add up the figures. Every business has to do it, every housewife has to do it, every government should do it, and this one will. “What we need now is a far greater degree of personal responsibility and decision, more independence from the government, and a comparative reduction in the role of government.”
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and more courage so rare.”—Mark Twain
I have the moral courage to take on the task of being your commissioner in District Number 7. I have the heart of a servant and the desire to lead in a new direction, a direction of prosperity.
I humbly ask for your vote on August 7.
Michael “Mike” Marsh