Things MUST change. Since I’ve started talking about the desperate state me and my family have suddenly found ourselves, many of my friends have shared with us their stories. What we are finding is that they echo our own feelings in an uncanny manner. For many Americans, for many families, waking up daily is not a joyful, big breakfast, greeting the bright new day event…but, as many have put it…another day in hell…or as I’ve put it often, “Welcome to my waking nightmare”.
I knew others were having it hard, but didn’t know HOW hard. What has surprised me is that others are so desperate they too have considered ending their life…not just a fleeting thought, but fighting this hopeless act of desperation daily.
So, for a growing segment of the population, we are falling, some with terminal velocity, into an economic hole…a Neo-Depression.
The problem is that the media has painted the picture that things are rosy…that, as in 2008, before Bush delivered his Henny Penny, the Sky is Falling, we have to Save the Banks speech, the picture being painted is that the economy is strong and getting stronger.
The net effect of this has been to make people who ARE falling down, think that they are alone…that somehow, they are the only people in dire straits, and thus, that THEY are failures. They are NOT failures…it is the System that has Failed THEM.
Our country is spending OUR money, money taken from us as taxes, like a drunken sailor. 300,000 dollars spent on a study of “how humans interact with bicycles” is spent, while people are looking at losing their homes. Their money was taken from them to spend on this. I wish that this were the only example of government waste of our money, but sadly, it is the mere tiniest tip, a pinpoint of a giant iceberg.
Just ONE SHIP, the USS Gerald Ford, costs taxpayers around 17.5 BILLION dollars (Cost: $12.8 billion + $4.7 billion R&D (estimated) ). Do you have any idea how many homeless, hungry Americans could have been helped with 17.5 THOUSAND MILLION ?
More than half of our congress people are MILLIONAIRES. http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2014/01/millionaires-club-for-first-time-most-lawmakers-are-worth-1-million-plus/
The wealthiest member of Congress is Darrell Issa, a man who started out stealing cars, but now, is in a position to steal much more by virtue of his political office. He was worth 450 Million in 2013 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darrell_Issa ) and reportedly has used his powers to divert highways to move traffic closer to his businesses.
Now, I am old enough, and enough of a student of history to know that humans have been in desperate times in the past. In China, in ancient times, things got so bad people ate bark from trees, and even resorted to cannibalism. But, this was in times of excessively harsh conditions such as famines. France, during the “Little Ice Age” also had its share of people who suffered greatly.
But, we are not in a time of famine…generally not in drought. We don’t see “breadlines”, but we do see people begging on the streets…I’ve seen whole families, mother, father, small child, and a baby, begging on street corners near where I live.
Back in the Depression, the poverty, the desperate times were in your face…you knew most people were having it hard..and, though that fact didn’t put one more piece of bread on the table or one more penny in your pocket, the fact that you were not alone, that you were not a singular failure, did give some relief in a weird way. Just knowing you are not alone in your plight, helps.
But, the media wants to paint the picture that we are all doing well…featuring pictures of new Cadillacs, new iPhones, big screen TVs as if we are all rolling in dough, just looking for something to spend all this extra money on.
No, it is this feeling of isolation, this feeling that you have failed your family, that you are the only ones in a state of despair, that makes the pain even deeper, that drives people to seeing suicide as their only way out.
And, I talk about suicide because that is what I am hearing from many people. They don’t talk openly about it…because they are ashamed to..who wants to feel like they are uniquely a failure…but that is the result of this charade of affluence the media has created. These are not people who are just speaking about ending their lives as some distant thought , but instead, they are describing a daily battle in which, waking to what has become Hell instead of Life, they wage a daily struggle.. Will I End it Today or Tomorrow ? And, these are not adolescent kids who talk about suicide after breaking up with their sweetheart…these are seasoned adults who have lived for three, four, five decades..who have overcome obstacles in the past, been good citizens, worked hard all their lives. They know all too well about the finality of suicide.
I don’t know how many of you are shocked to hear this…perhaps none..but, perhaps many. This is the Face of America today…it is a face marked with tears, but laden with a pound of theatrical pancake makeup to hide them from the public.
I’m not a Democrat, not a Republican, not a Libertarian…these labels have never applied to me really because I don’t support parties, I support people, and what I see are people who feel like, they literally have no hope. There is no light at the end of the tunnel…not even a train…just a black night of desperation.
People are losing their jobs, losing their homes daily. Obamacare, the “Affordable Care Act”…like most government names of programs, is a joke for many of us…because it is NOT affordable. When we looked at the plans available, we could not afford them…and upon talking with my neighbors, a couple in their twenties, they could not afford it either…and in fact, after speaking in the real world, I am finding many people who had to opt for the “penalty” which the government plans to impose on us who were too poor to afford their healthcare plans (written for the most part by insurance companies).
We live in the South, but speaking to many people online daily, this is not a Southern Plight…it is a NATIONAL plight. People in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Oregon..all around the country, are telling me the same thing.
We live in a country that elects millionaires for president and vice-president. We live in a country that has a Congress where more than half of them are millionaires. Is it ANY wonder that the laws are written to benefit the uber rich ?
This country lost many men and women in Iraq, Afghanistan, Viet Nam, Korea in wars…but we are losing many more…those of us I call the “Walking Wounded” right here, right now, not in armed conflict, but living lives of quiet desperation. What do you do when you are out of money, facing utilities being shut off…facing eviction, facing children crying …or like many of us, are the caretakers of both elderly parents with dementia, AND dogs or cats.
You deserve a decent life. As Americans, we were raised with the idea that if you worked hard, got an education, kept your nose clean…you could achieve the American dream. The average American CANNOT afford the American dream, cannot afford a home. http://www.munknee.com/average-american-household-cant-afford-house-heres/ and http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/schor-overspent.html .
The net effect of this country catering to the rich, and in essence telling the poor to go fend for themselves…is just what we are seeing..the disappearance of a middle class, and the creation of a situation in which parents in a family are so squeezed by inflation that is running away from incomes, that they find themselves in a hopeless situation, a helpless situation.
The reality of what is going on is this. You look around at your friends, your acquaintances, and you THINK they are doing ok…but if you care enough and show concern enough to earn their respect, and they feel comfortable confiding in you, you find this is a facade overlying a state of fear…of desperation…of hopelessness.
Stores are already putting up Christmas trees and decorations next to the Halloween and Thanksgiving stuff…but, if you can’t pay your October rent, how are you even thinking about buying Christmas presents. This year, for many, is much worse than last year.
And yet, merchants, the Government, are fine with draining the last penny from you. Merchants have to figure a way to get you to give up your money…the Government can just use law and force to TAKE it.
I’ve never, in 61 years, seen it this bad. I’ve seen hard times..plenty of them. I grew up poor, my parents did without to see I could have presents at Christmas…and they tried to hide it from me…but sometimes, being a smart kid is a curse…you see the worry carving wrinkles prematurely in their brow.
And, through all this…I have seen great concern, caring, and yes Love, come from people who have nothing. It at once breaks my heart and engenders in me, rage…rage against a government, rage against the rich, who like parasites, are fine with take, take, taking, knowing that the host is dying as you grow bloated on their blood..their life’s blood.
If you look at the current situation with clear eyes, and are not frustrated, not angry at what is happening to our people…and by that, I am referring to the 99%, then you are not paying attention or cannot fully understand the logical outcome of the current situation.
You cannot fully understand what I am talking about unless you find yourself broke, without hope, and desperate. When you have plenty of money, a good job, health insurance, nice house and car, it insulates you…that’s not really an indictment of people with a good living..but it does insulate you from understanding what increasing millions of people are faced with…unless you are in the situation, you cannot truly understand the depth and width of the problem.
So, here I sit..thankful that for this hour, I have a place to stay, have lights on, and water to flow from the tap, and yes, even a bit of canned food in the pantry..but this is now, this is today. The fear that creeps into your soul is that tomorrow..you may be sitting in the dark, without power..because you had no money to pay your electrical bill.
And, here in Texas, Energy Future Holdings..owner of Luminant, the company which owns the power stations that create the power, essentially an energy monopoly in Texas…filed for bankruptcy in April 2014. How his happened, with the overpriced energy bills we have been paying, is a mystery to me…but there you have it.
Even big companies are filing for bankruptcy, reporting billions of dollars in losses for the third quarter, laying off people (layoffs are really, terminations for most workers) …so, if these rich people are having to close, file bankruptcy, fire people, “downsize”, if you are a small business person who find yourself drowning in a sea of red ink…don’t feel like you are a lonely failure.
I am one man…I try to be truthful…try to not fool myself or those I care about…but I am now realizing that my plight is not just “MY plight”…but is quickly becoming an epidemic of desperation. And, in a nation of desperation, desperate people do desperate things.
For those of us raised to be decent, honest people…breaking the law, stealing, robbing..is not an option..but when you are out of options, ending this treadmill of torment becomes your ONLY option..and that is why, many in this country, fight suicide as their only solution daily.
It’s not a matter of telling people who are seriously facing such a choice to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” any more than you would tell a blind man to “open your eyes and see”…or tell a paraplegic “Just get out of that chair and walk you lazy bastard”…. you cannot do more than you can do…no matter how much someone wants to shame you into action.
The only hope I have…quite literally…is the goodness of the American people. Most Americans give a damn…even though this culture has, for decades, pushed us to be consumers, be obsessed with getting our fifteen minutes of fame…be obsessed with our looks, our body weight, our cars, our clothes…in short…consume, consume, consume.
I have seen the goodness of people…goodness which surprised even me. They want to help others…in spite of all the conditioning which wants us to put ourselves first. We are afraid of being conned, taken advantage of… and me and my wife, more than most…know what its like to trust someone only to find they have ripped you off so badly that you can’t pay your own rent.
Despite the efforts of the media, of big business, they have not wiped out the spark of caring in the hearts of our people. If there is salvation for us as a nation, it will come in spite of the government, in spite of big business, in spite of big media’s propaganda.
I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve heard that ONE story about a cop using his own money to buy a homeless guy a pair of shoes in the winter. The fact that this is the only story that continues to be shuffled around to prove that there is generosity out there…is something to think about.
We will NOT achieve change by electing either Rich Tweedle Dum or Rich Tweedle Dee as POTUS and vice-POTUS. Most Congress people, the majority of which are millionaires, continue to be re-elected. Most top or mid-level administration people continue to be embedded in their jobs regardless of who becomes the nominal head of the country.
We see in business, CEOs get shuffled around from company to company. The notion that you start out in the mail room and work your way up to CEO may have been the case in the dusty past somewhere, but if you follow the musical chairs of CEOs, you find that companies just grab a CEO from another company and insert him or her into THEIR CEO position…instead of promoting from within. I’ve followed this for long enough to see the trend. And, those CEOs may be making 500 or 1000 times as much as the average worker at their company.
The CEO of Walmart, sitting on his ass between the beginning of his day and lunch, makes much more than most associates do in a YEAR ! It is not unusual for a CEO to make 20,000 dollars an HOUR…for sitting at their desk surfing the Net.
I don’t have to belabor the plight between the haves and have nots…because you know that the gulf between the rich and poor widens daily. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, has been a saying for centuries…because it is true..and gets truer daily.
Change must come or we are doomed. And, by change, I don’t mean nickle and dimes, I mean fundamental, substantive real world movements toward making lives bearable for the growing number of people who are teetering on the brink of financial ruin.
When a nation has its people unable to buy medicine, or food, or pay for their rent or utilities, or buy gas to go to work (if they still have a job)…that nation is heading toward disaster.
Rome fell…not just from the barbarians at the gates, but also, fell from within. The French Revolution happened when the ruling class turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the hunger and desperation of the people.
But, we know OUR government is ready for civil disobedience. The MRAPs in the hands of small town cops…the M-4s, M-16s, flash bang grenades, LRAD sound weapons, rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas..these are the loving gifts they are ready to give us if we dissent.
Their plans of how to deal with us are there for us all to see. Just check out the plans they have conceived for dealing with us http://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-19-15.pdf . As you can see, these contingencies have been in the planning stage for a long time.
We know that the government has been on a buying spree for quite some time, buying millions of rounds of hollow point bullets…allegedly for “target practice’…perhaps this is true if they are referring to dissidents as targets. Those of us who are familiar with guns KNOW the function of hollow point rounds…they do more damage to the internal organs than non-hollow point rounds…they are meant to kill people.
So, this is where we are…we are squeezed…but even the idea that the Founding Fathers promoted, that occasional rebellion is essential to liberty, will be frustrated by small town cops who are trained that killing civilians may be necessary…and toward that end, they are ready to suit up into battle gear at a moment’s notice. This “militarization of police” has been addressed in books, on TV, and even in congressional investigation..but still it continues, because they have to be ready to put down any insurrection of the population…of American citizens who have had enough of the crap.
I love my fellow citizens. That is not bullshit. I am beyond bullshit into the zone of Truth because, I can’t afford lies…Truth is my only currency now.
I have seen the tears in my wife’s eyes as we read what others are going through. Our hearts are broken by the desperation of others, and our own desperation.
Most of us who are in this condition, only keep going for our loved ones, for our pets, for our kids, because they depend on us…but we are out of solutions, out of hope, out of money, out of strength, out of time.
And, for those obsessed with defense, this is making our country weak…opening holes in our defenses. People who cannot afford medicine or a doctor when they are sick…cannot long be counted on to pay taxes when they have no money. We are heading toward a cliff as a nation..but the windows have been painted gold so that we cannot look out and see how close to the edge we are.
We must Unite…we must get real change…not just substitute one millionaire for another one and call that “change”.
My family is with you, my brothers and sisters. There has to be a solution…we must find it before it is too late.