What’s going on with American work ethic

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Back when I was growing up on the farm, we used to have a saying. “Old so-and-so is not afraid of hard work. He’ll lay down right beside it!” That was funny then, but not so now.

Something is happening in our nation and it is problematic. We need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask the question, “What is going on with the American work ethic?”

Our politicians, including our President, like to boast about the powerful aspects of our armed forces and our economy. I don’t disagree that our men and women of our armed forces are powerfully equipped and trained to do their jobs with great efficiency. I also believe they are courageous and patriotic. I’m proud of them.

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I also concede that the prosperity of the USA is at the top of the world’s list of economically powerful nations. We buy, use, and waste more than any other nation in the world.

We are where we are because, in the past, the people of the United States of America worked hard and did not mind doing any job that needed to be done. From soup to nuts, from outhouses to The Empire State Building, from country roads to interstate highways, America could “Git R Done!”

Not so much anymore. President Trump may have hung his hat on the slogan “Make America Great Again,” but the question is “Who is willing to work hard enough to make America great again.”

As I continue, let me assure those who read this. I know many hard working people. I know many men and women who are personally responsible in their businesses and jobs. Many, many Americans are working from “can to can’t,” meaning from early in the morning to late at night.

At the same time, I wonder what we would do without those people who are not American citizens, those farm workers who pick the sweet corn and other vegetables, those people who dig the holes and cut the grass, those people who frame the newly built houses and put roofs on them.

How many times have I heard of someone needing a plumber, or an electrician, or someone who will take up the carpet and put down the new flooring?

I know of someone who was having a renovation job done. The foreman was undependable and there was no pride in the work. So, another foreman was hired. Same thing. The costs were substantial, but the work was not. Just an isolated, unfortunate situation?

Not really. Just the mention of the need for responsible workers and, whether you are talking to a farmer needing help or a person in the public arena with a store needing help, there is the universal, “It’s hard to find anyone who wants to work.”

We seem to be falling back on immigrant labor. I am not criticizing those hardworking people. When we are desperate to get our work done, the saying “Any port in a storm” comes to mind. We hire whoever is available to do the job.

So where are our own citizens? Are we teaching our young to work hard and responsibly? Are we teaching that there is worth in all kinds of work? Or, do we have to admit that there is no longer anything like the American work ethic?

Making America Great Again is just a slogan and not a very good one unless it is backed by the citizens of our nation being willing to get back to the kind of attitudes we used to have regarding work well done!