It seems to me we are in a depression almost as great as the one my mother and father grew up in—but nobody wants to admit it. Things suck all over but Washington still doesn’t seem to get it. They continue to play politics and the blame game. Jobs are being lost left and right, yet CEOs at companies that got HUGE AMOUNTS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS are still getting ginormous bonuses—even if they were the ones to f *%k up the company in the first place. People are starving and becoming homeless at record rates, but NBC has 45 million to buy off Conan O’Brien from his contract. Something ain’t right here…..
I just took a mental health break from my job and snuck a quick read of Stephanie Snowe’s blog and it got me thinking—along with Lora’s post from the 15th. Very guilt inducing. [Not what I was looking for, but I’m glad I read them both] Lora’s tears your gut out at how we as a society fail so many of the people on the fringes. What some people endure in this life is just awful. Stephanie’s evokes mixed reactions. If the story is true, it is heartbreaking that a family has been reduced to begging and sleeping in the park.
Sadly, because of the many scams and hoaxes pulled on us, we question whether the people we have approaching us looking for handouts are genuine or not. I was duped once at Christmas time a few years back [right outside of my apartment no less]. I gave someone my last twenty because I thought they needed it more than I did. This person promised to be back later to pay me back—needless to say, I never saw him again. It was a young guy and the mother in me helped him because that’s what I’d want someone to do for my son or daughter if I wasn’t there to help. But, after that incident, I’ve hesitated to help out. How sad that we’ve come to that.
How equally sad that more and more people ARE finding themselves in dire straits as our economy continues to struggle. So many of us are just a paycheck away from disaster. I know I am. And I also know I have it WAY better than others in this country. It’s scary for me to think about, I can imagine how it must be for people with young children.
But I don’t want this to stop me from doing what little I can to help others less fortunate than myself. So I’ll keep on giving loose change to the collection jars at the convenience store. I’ll continue to donate my outgrown clothes every season. I’ll try to stage readings of plays as “pay-what-you-will” fundraisers for rape prevention, Katrina relief or suicide awareness. And I’ll keep on helping my blind neighbors whenever I can. Not much in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps.
My friend is a state welfare case worker and he has noticed a serious increase in people applying for food stamps and medical benefits. He and his colleagues are beleaguered and overworked. Like social workers, inner-city teachers and doctors and nurses in ERs, I don’t know how these people do what they doo every day. I couldn’t. So, here is a huge thank you to the Alan’s—and the Lora’s of this world: people willing to take on this daunting task. I salute you.