Posted: July 17, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana , USA the week of 7/17/2015

Over the years I admired the history of Greece. I found strength in the loyalty displayed by the Spartans and the battles they won and the absolute dedication they gave when giving their word to a cause. This is the same spirit displayed by the men and women in our military; the same dedication displayed for two hundred and forty years.
I also admired the Athenians and the cultural beauty of their architecture and art and the intellectual aspects of a life surrounded by the likes of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and poets such as Homer.
One Greek, Xenophon, transitioned both Greek cultures and was educated in Athens with Socrates as his teacher but was physically trained in Sparta. The true renaissance man of his time. Unfortunately with the death of Alexander the Great, Greece slowly slipped from being the leader of the known world and became a country of medium economic impact on Europe and the world.
Over time Greece was conquered by the Ottoman Empire of Turkey. The war with Turkey was costly as the Parthenon, the lovely ruins atop the Acropolis in Athens, was blown up when Greece had stored gun powder in it and the Turks shelled the magnificent structure setting off the stored explosives. This war coupled with the four hundred year occupation of Greece has embittered the country against the Turks since it gained independence in 1830.
After revolts and intervention by Britain, France and Russia; Greece gained some stability. Then during World War I the country divided with half aligning with Germany and the other half aligning with Britain. World War I saw Greece trying to take over parts of Turkey to expand its’ border. This was a failure and led to one and a half million refugees fleeing into Greece. Then the monarchy was abolished only to be brought back in the 1930s.
In World War II Greece was invaded by Italy and the Greeks defeated the invaders. This forced Germany to invade the country and thus help its’ Italian partner. A hundred years earlier Greece had thrown off the yoke of the Ottoman Empire only to be once again occupied but this time by Nazi Germany.
Following the end of World War II, Greece saw thirty years of turbulence. Communist forces battled anti-communist forces and this led to economic devastation. There were government changes which reinstated the Monarchy and then this collapsed and finally in 1975 the country voted to not bring the Monarchy back into power. This country that was the pinnacle of the ancient world had ultimately been bounced between occupation, civil war, reoccupation and then finally the country that founded democracy had democracy restored.
Unfortunately, the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement political party would swap control of the government with the Democracy Party. At first the non-Monarchy government saw great growth. Tourism exploded and shipping was bringing in massive revenue for the country. Aristotle Onassis built the largest commercial shipping fleet in the world and even married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of President John Kennedy. Greece was on a financial roll and the people relished in the regulations of a socialist country. It became the tenth member of the European Union and could then tap into the vast wealth of neighboring Germany, France and Britain. Socialist programs were expanding and more and more entitlement programs appeared.
As Greece borrowed more and more to fund social programs the ability to repay became more difficult, Then in the late 2000s, the world was hit with an economic down turn and came perilously close to a true depression. Now Greece was confronted with much debt, lower revenue and a society that demanded continued government supplied services. Finally this year, the European Union had enough and was tired of funding Greece’s social programs. This has led to an almost total collapse of the Greek economy. Greek finally accepted extreme austerity programs and riots are now taking place in Athens as many want the government programs to continue. Only problem is that there is no longer any money to fund the programs.
The United States must take head of Greece and reign in our own entitlement programs. We are now funding our economy by borrowing and the biggest lender is China. It is imperative that we learn from Greece and not leave a bankrupt America for our children and grandchildren.


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