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Bob Herbert was an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. On April 16, 2009, he was awarded the [p://www.ridenhour.org/recipients_01g.shtml Ridenhour Courage Prize] from The Nation Institute and the Fertel Foundation. He has spoken about how Americans feel basically powerless to intervene in their own fate, and feel they bear no responsibility for the important events of their time, and how their perceptions of powerlessness are wrong, and even dangerous.
In March, 2011, he wrote about how, as a result of limitless greed, runaway corporate power and an insatiable addiction to foreign oil has caused the U.S. to lose its way. He wrote, in part:
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home ... Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.
Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.
The above column was his last. He followed it with an announcement that he was leaving the New York Times after 18 years.
- Paul Street, “Important Tasks” Worth Achieving: Liberal Empire Denial and the Civilian-Military Disconnect, Dissident Voice, May 15th, 2007.
- Ridenhour.org Bob Herbert 2009 - Recipient of The Ridenhour Courage Prize Organizational web page with video, text remarks. April 16, 2009
- Bob Herbert Losing Our Way, Op-ed, New York Times, March 25, 2011
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