We’ve just passed the phase of the year when people pick up “A Christmas Carol,” if they bother to read the book at all.
If you’ve never done so, it’s not too late to give it a shot, because it really is a short effort and it has a lot to teach — about more than Christmas too.
Dickens was writing about a time in history that was not too different from our own, about a time when people were concerned about the rate of change in their society, about a time when the difference between the haves and the have-nots was so severe that it was causing unrest.
It was also about a time when technology was bringing great advances to the society, but when technology was also threatening the very existence of many people. Technology and its adoption was behind the changes that destroyed poor Mr. Fezziwig’s business, while Scrooge embraced the new technology, even as it rolled over people’s lives.
And we see much the same thing going on in our culture today.
This past week, the Associated Press reported on how changes to the Postal Service are impacting residents of western Kansas.
“Western Kansas newspapers are worried that another postal switch could mean some of their mail subscribers will be getting their news days late.
“The Colby Free Press and its sister papers already have bumped up deadlines to meet the mail truck headed for postal sorting in Salina. But now the U.S. Postal Service wants to send Colby’s mail to Denver for sorting, meaning a two- to three-day delivery window.
“The post office has said the majority of newspapers will be exempt from the processing center switch. That includes papers delivered in the Colby ZIP code area, for example.
“But the smaller batches of papers mailed to small communities likely won’t be. The postal changes are on hold until May.”
We all see the hand-writing on the wall.
The day is coming when instant messaging, electronic communications and hand-held Internet technology will connect us all.
Making that change is not painless, but the private sector will handle it, just as we have handled all of the painful changes since the 1970s.
Lifestyles will change, jobs will be made and lost, businesses will prosper and fail. But technology will advance.
We know the private sector will adjust.
What we DON’T know is how Americans can EVER get our public sector to fall in line and drop all the cronyism from the last century and slim down to what is appropriate in this century.
It must happen, just as it has happened in the private sector over the past half century.
This should be the central issue of this election year.
Don’t be surprised when it is not.
— Chuck Smith