There’s still a lot of work to do

By Jeff Smith


Some days I think that I could accomplish so much more if I didn’t have to be in front of  a screen. If I wasn’t here I would most likely be doing ranch work in Nebraska.

I think there is a lot better sense of accomplishment in building something or fixing a fence than in creating a paper. But I enjoy journalism more.

Unfortunately, if more of the younger labor force doesn’t go into technical and trade-based training America will have to rely more on immigrant labor.

There are several factors that led to people having a distaste for manual labor and more grueling tasks. For one, it’s not fun and can be overwhelmingly difficult. There are days that I don’t wish to relive. Another reason is that it is not as flashy and doesn’t receive a lot of applause. The work I do is seen by everybody in the community. But ranchers, farmers, plumbers, carpenters and pipefitters rarely receive notoriety. Ranchers and farmers may only see paychecks once in awhile but the hard work a person has to do endure lasts for a while too. People in other professions may not receive paychecks until there work is done right.

I would like to get away from the notion that blue collar workers are unskilled. They have more skills than me, who went through four years of college. We need more people to emulate right now. I would like to see more apprenticeships and mentoring happen in the trades professions.

The younger workforce has a lot of determination. I know where I want to be in five to seven years as do a lot of the people my age. Yet, people are unwilling to share their expertise with one another anymore. A lot of work that needs to be done needs to be taught. It is not second nature to work with one’s hands anymore. There is also a combination of skills needed at jobs now too because no one handles just one task anymore.

This had led to people thinking that they deserve more than they are getting. A lot of the time they are right, but it’s not really any one person’s fault.

I think too often we measure our success with others in America. I may not ever make a lot of money or be successful but I want to at least try to do the best that I can.

There has been a huge turn in the way that many in this country are treated.

More people are caring about the condition of healthcare in this country, more schools are figuring out how to prevent bullying and young people are now less likely to start smoking. There are also great strides being made in removing regulations so businesses are able to run more freely and there is less unemployment.

I don’t think politicians want to see people have lower wages without healthcare. I have to believe most politicians are just stuck playing games in elitist bureaucracies.

In a way we are seeing the common man’s vengeance taking effect. For years they have seen government make bad decisions that they didn’t support. Politicians who can relate to the everyday struggle of the common man have been successful in being elected to key positions.

Along the way I think professionalism has been sacrificed for efficiency. Maybe one day we can get that back in the presidency and other leadership positions. But we still need to have an efficient government that is getting things done.

I used to think it was somewhat abnormal to have a farm and ranch background. But there has been a lot come to light in recent years about the importance of working with one’s hands.

It’s not that complicated. There is a sense of freedom in just having one task instead of the two or three I might have in a day.

I know that it can be tough to focus on what is positive amidst all of the different things that are happening in our country.

But summer is pretty much here. Soon there will be a lot of people out and about to greet and serve.

Like a lot of people I have a Dickensian worldview sometimes and only see how there are dangers hiding around every corner and nothing seems quite as charming as it once did.

It sometimes seems that everyone is living in a constant state of fear in today’s world. We shouldn’t be controlled by what’s on the news. There is still humble, well-meaning people around no matter what you hear in social circles or see on social media.

In a way we have become desensitized to seeing bad news. I hope we can still value life and see that there is not going to be an end to our way of life anytime soon. I don’t want this era to be the end of transparency. I want to be able to freely cover the bad news with the good news but have more good news than bad in the paper.

In this week’s paper you will find stories about a restaurant owner who moved from the Seattle area to run Guadalajara’s in Keystone, a college student who wants to create a museum to honor past Native American traditions and the Black Hills Film Festival who was created by our very own Chris VanNess.

Like every week, these stories show how there is a lot of opportunity here and people are energized to create a better life for themselves.