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Yesterday’s Footsteps: Titanic problem

By Greg Parrott I’ve always been intrigued by the great passenger ship, Titanic. The White Star Liner Titanic, the largest ship the world had ever known, sailed from Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage to New York City on Wednesday, April 10, 1912. She was built with double bottoms and her hull was divided into 16 watertight compartments. She was thought to be unsinkable. The liner carried more than 2,200 passengers, with 700 on the ships registry who were immigrants coming to America in pursuit of the land of milk and honey. The ship sank off the coast of Newfoundland after the ship’s captain and officers ignored warnings of icebergs from other vessels in the area. The Titanic steamed full speed through a sea of deadly ice. There was a ‘ram-you-damn-you’ philosophy in those days among all steamship lines. They wanted to deliver express service, holding exactly to schedule even if it meant going full tilt through fog banks, ice fields or fleets of fishing vessels. The Titanic paid the price for the repeated warnings that were ignored. The Titanic’s maiden voyage only lasted four days, 17 hours and 30 minutes. She sank at 2:30 a.m., Monday, April 15, 1912. The great ship now lies 13,000 feet deep at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. People from some 20 nations lay in 37 degree water under pressure of 6,365 pounds per square inch, including one Pike County native, famed author Jacques Futrelle. Even as the ship was sinking, the bandmaster assembled his men and the band was playing ragtime. Some passengers refused to believe the Titanic could be sinking and carried on as though everything would be fine. The sinking of the Titanic a century ago has parallel comparisons of our economy for the last decade. The government, banks and Wall Street gurus ignored warnings that the U.S. was plowing through economic thin ice by borrowing more than it could possibly pay back. Right now, China is the life boat of a sinking America. They hold the government like a dangling puppet. Lenders in the last decade have given out money like it was candy to developers, builders and homeowners. First time homeowners could get a home without any money down on an over-inflated price of the house to be financed. I have to give credit to some of our local banks that stayed afloat by doing business the way it was supposed to be done. They went by the rules and have prospered greatly through tough years. Many of the smaller banks saw greener pastures and went all in with the loan handouts. They eventually went under as the economy plummeted just as the Titanic did ‘“ because of ignored warnings. One word can describe the sinking of the Titanic and the economy of today – greed. Both wanted more without following the simple rules of good business practices. Just as the Titanic put passengers in harm’s way to arrive on time, the government and business leaders of this nation put their pocketbooks first to build their wealth at the expense of the working man. We the taxpayers have a choice coming as we’ll soon vote in the upcoming elections. Our vote will determine if we want to hit an iceberg head on or sail in calmer waters as we once did when greed wasn’t a common denominator on the politicians’ agenda. The Titanic was thought to be unsinkable. Ignorance proved it was sinkable. Ignorance can sink the greatest nation on Earth if we choose to ignore the warnings time and again. They are 100 years apart but very similar is the sinking of the Titanic and the U.S. We haven’t gone under completely but if we don’t tighten up the boot laces now we’ll be swimming in water deeper than 13,000 feet. If you’re fortunate enough to have your mother alive, call her and tell her you love her. I’ve got to go for now, I have a phone call to make.

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