In the early 1970’s, when Muncie was flush with manufacturing jobs and the Detroit machine was rolling along, we rolled along with it, for the most part. Several people saw the writing on the wall and prepared for what was almost certain to come our way.
However, in our arrogance and ignorance, we were blinded by great wages and benefits – certain these would never end. That the mid 70’s brought petroleum issues and cars that fell apart soon after the warranty ran out ( does the Chevrolet Vega ring a bell ? ), we still did not see, would not see, what might be coming. The much hyped and flawed NAFTA agreement certainly didn’t help, but it is not to blame for excessive salaries and bonuses paid to GM and union leaders.
It also did not help that we neglected to heed what we had long been told – as far back as the late 1950’s – that computerization was the wave of the future. Isolated by our lack of vision, entrenched in backroom politics and hampered by a populace unwilling to face the reality – we are now reaping and weeping.
The only solace many of us have is to avoid future mistakes and to look ahead – to become better educated and our horizons widened. Considering the now empty parking lots in what were once bustling business concerns, we have alot of physical room for potential, but emotionally and intellectually, where do we stand ?
Can we envision the possibilities and what it might entail to make these changes, not only in ourselves, but in our government. Men and women who worked decades and who now face uncertain futures for themselves and their families are reacting – not just here, but all over the state, all over the country.
We look back to The Great Depression and ask…” Is this our future ? ”
Looking back, to a editorial in a Muncie newspaper during those dark days of poverty and uncertainty, an editorialist asked ” Who is the forgotten man in Muncie ? ” He went on to answer his own question this way – ” I know him him as intimately as I know my own undershirt. He is the fellow that is trying to get along without public relief…In the meantime the taxpayers go on supporting many that would not work if they had jobs. ”
I strongly suggest you read Amity Shales book – ” The Forgotten Man : A New History of the Great Depression. ” Her insight to the problems faced by Roosevelt and now somewhat mirrored in the world today is outstanding..
Deborah King – Eichholz