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by Ron Cruger
rcruger@san.rr.com
The Starbuck's Seven Discuss What's happening to America
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
         Helaine, Mary, Steve and I were the first to arrive. We ordered our coffee at the counter and then walked to the outside area of Starbuckís. We pushed two tables together, making a rectangle that would seat the seven of us. Mary returned to the order counter and brought us our drinks. Carmel Macchiato for Mary, Cappuccino for Helaine, Espresso for Steve and my usual small decaf coffee.
         Not far behind came Aimee with her Caffe Latte, Helen and her Caffe Mocha and finally, Dick with his large regular coffee.
         We all had our drinks. We sat down and pushed our chairs up to the joined tables. Dick, the leader of our small group, stood and said, ďSo, welcome again to our meeting of the Starbuckís Seven. As we agreed in our e-mails, today we are going to discuss whatís happening to America. If itís okay, Iíll start things off.Ē
         ďThe big subject on the news lately has been the problem of guns and people getting killed. I think that the American people are getting angry and anxious about the guns and killing. There has to be a feeling of anxiety when people go to the movies or send their little children to school. Somewhere, somehow people in America must feel some kind of fear that lurking outside is some nut with an assault weapon and a grudge against society.Ē
         Aimee, a 34-year old Asian, gave the table in front of her a gentle slap and said, ďYou can tell, just by driving your car and seeing how aggressive and tense people are that something is bothering them. The killings, the uncertainty that exists in the country is getting to people. You can tell that people are jittery and tense.Ē
         ďItís not just the killings and the guns that are making people on edge. There is fear about the very foundations of our country. People are hearing that our president is a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a Black Panther. Donít you think that people listen to this stuff and it makes them nervous? Donít you think that people on Social Security and Medicare are worried that their way of life could suddenly change?Ē Helen, 52-years old, tall and slender and a born leader, continued. ďPeople are worried about America getting into another war. Americans
         Are sick and tired of hearing weíre going to get out of Afghanistan and it doesnít happen. Americans are worried that weíll become involved in a war with Iran and other countries in the Middle East. Weíre not sure if Israel is going to attack Iran and drag us into a disastrous war.Ē
         Steve, the 43-year old athletic black man, took a sip of his espresso and said, ďI agree with all you guys. People are nervous about guns and killing and sending their children to a safe school, but theyíre also worried about their way of life. We keep hearing about the 1%, the 99%. We hear about billions being spent buying elections. Weíre waking up to the fact that big business and lobbyists are dominating our government. And, little by little inflation is creeping into our purchases. The prices of basic foods are rising every day. And then, added to all of these difficulties we keep hearing that weíre going to have to pay more taxes.Ē
          Mary, the 39-year old, with a great sense of history, was eager to add her thoughts. ďDo you realize what trouble we are all in? We owe China billions of dollars. The deficit is growing by the second. Washington is considering cutting back on Social Security and Medicare. So, you know what that means to the millions of our senior citizens. Getting good health care and affording food for their table is being threatened. Weíre paying now for the excesses of the past twenty, thirty years. The cost of living for Americans is rising with little relief in sight. The little guy is getting squeezed. No wonder groups like the ďTea PartyĒ are being formed.Ē
          Helaine, the 50-year old, liberal, with the charming personality, sipped her Cappuccino, wiped her lips with the Starbuckís napkin and said, ďOf all the things that have been brought up here, to me, the most important is the state of our countryís health care. Yesterday I got in the mail the notice that my health insurance was being raised 56%. Thatís another $250.00 a month I have to come up with. Spending an additional $250.00 a month is going to have a severe impact on my life. As prices keep rising Iím finding my life changing and I donít see anything getting better. And if taxes rise things will get even worse. Itís the health care for all Americans that we have to care about.Ē
          Iíve been listening to the comments about our country for over an hour now. The Starbuckís Seven has accurately expressed the problems facing all Americans. The problems are monumental. Listening to my friends and fellow Starbuckís Seven members express their thoughts I wondered what is it we can do to solve our many problems. I realized then that the power to change things resides with us. Americans have to get involved. If we want things to get better we have to object to the power of the lobbyists, we have to demand that our representatives do the right thing, not the right political thing. We have to demand that our elected representatives have the fortitude, the courage, the fearless attitude to do the right thing. Americans must take more interest in their government. We can no longer expect our democracy to continue to roll along without our caring, without our involvement.
         Write letters, march, make phone calls, sign petitions, vote and donít take your freedom and our democracy for granted. Weíve looked the other way too long. If you want America to continue being the land of opportunity then get involved Ė donít leave it to others. Itís your duty, itís your right.
         By now my decaf coffee was cold. I looked at Dick and said, ďSorry for the little speech, but I do believe that itís time for all Americans to get to work.Ē
         And with that Dick said, ďI guess thatís it for this meeting of the Starbuckís Seven. Thanks for coming.Ē
         The Seven of us pushed our chairs away from the table and walked to our cars. There was a strange silence as we walked away from Starbuckís.