After reading afterthoughts among news agencies on the President’s State of the Union address yesterday, I am compelled to write a response in my blog today about what it looks like from the bottom tier of the workforce looking up at our decision makers who have to decide in the next few weeks what they believe is the proper way to vote regarding funding unemployment extensions and food programs to continue to fund less fortunate people in our country.

I can’t help but recall reading about the Great Depression, and those who went to bed rich and wealthy one day, but arose the next day to be impoverished and broke because the stock market crashed and there were no government safeguards in place to protect their money in the event of a crash.  Imagine waking up to find that the thousands of dollars that were in your checking account are gone, and you, the account holder, are NEVER going to get them back.  That is what happened in 1929, and some of our Congressmen may actually remember those days and how their parents and lives were affected almost immediately.

I am someone personally who, through a variety of unfortunate circumstances not created by me, has been put in an unfortunate situation of currently being unemployed.  I am an extremely intelligent and perceptive person, who at this point in my life should rightfully be employed, have retirement planning, substantial income, and be enjoying a few comforts of living. But this has not been the life situation that has been dealt me fairly through the misgivings of underhanded people, thus I am one who must face the harsh realities of life and make choices that most others do not.

And even though I make the right ethical choices in life mostly and am a kind and caring person, it appears that I am challenged by those who forever make the wrong ethical choices for themselves, and who then cover for that fact at my expense in every possible manner. Thus I am in a situation where I have had to come to rely on the system and the safeguards that have been able to assist me.

If one has ever seen the movie Schindler’s List and remembers the scene with the boy peering up from the hole he is hiding in with waste surrounding him, one can begin to emotionally feel what it is like being hit so hard in this current economic period and then forced into uncomfortable, stressful, negative experiences thus having to find every way possible to survive it.  The look on that boy’s face in the movie says so much about the struggle and the will to survive.  But I am one person who just has a simple blog, my voice does not carry any weight in the world……..

But if I could reach a Congressman’s ears, this is what I would write………..There are millions of people right now without work in my same position, and most of them are not out of work by choice. Most people right now out of work WANT to be working with a good job under an excellent employer, but those positions are only being given to a “select” few who align with a certain thought process……….and the rest of us, who may have excellent skills and do an excellent job, are being passed over for others who are less educated, less experienced, and often less skilled at times.

Thus, is it extremely hurtful to be in the job market when we are “black-balled” or used unfairly and then forced to rely on government intervention and safeguard programs, (especially at a time when we have an artic snap that blasts the country with cold and have to pay to heat our homes), and at the same time we lose both unemployment compensation as a source of income and then hear that the federal food supplement program is also going to be cut substantially as well.

So now, those of us  at the bottom of the workforce who want to be earning our own way ourselves and are capable of doing so with the proper intervention or assistance, now are in a position where we are being strategically and unfairly overlooked.  Thus, we cannot heat our homes, get our bills paid on time, or buy groceries, because the employers and the government have control of our rights to thrive and are cutting us out of the workforce, while those who work under them watch us diligently become more and more reliant on a government funding system that we don’t want to have to rely on in the first place.  It creates a forced submission position and robs us of our coveted rights to freedom that make us the democracy for which we so pride ourselves.

So when I hear comments being made about cuts to these safeguard programs, I can’t help but see the unfairness and strategy of it when the President then turns and advocates for raises his State workers, who are already working.  The President did advocate for unemployment, so I am not calling the President unfair, what I am saying is if you choose to raise the wages of those working, but you don’t fund these programs for the less fortunate—-unemployment compensation and food supplement programs, you are going to discriminate and exclude those who will then have empty homes with burst pipes, increased crime, starving families, homelessness and the need for more grant-funded programs to assist people, which are also currently getting cut.  People will have to rely on churches, and charity rather than having their own independence.  Failure to fund these programs, robs the people of their self sufficiency.

This situation will end up costing the government more money in healthcare costs and public housing and free school lunch programs, and ultimately destroy the buying and spending power of the average American citizen who will then be relied upon to sustain family members put into these unfortunate situations.  Less buying and spending power for the people means companies will eventually feel the ripple in their lack of sales and profits will plunder.  More people will turn to drugs and alcohol as a means for escape, and thus children will ultimately pay that price as their parents fund themselves with illegal substances, rather than put the money they do get, where it needs to go.  It will create a “negative” reinforcement situation and cause system wide problems in other areas.  People, as they lose their jobs or retire, will become more and more dependent on the systems in place for aid at the government level which are not guaranteed to be there for us, which ultimately leads to and makes us a less free society.

Preceeding World War II, groups of people Hitler wanted to cast from his country for his creation of the supreme race, were denied rights to thrive. He strategically prevented them from thriving, took away their jobs, and they were forced over a period of time to live with less and less food, clothing, and adequate shelter over their heads, until he built his concentration camps and exterminated them all together.

And if you ask surviving Holocaust victims what the worst part of WWII was, some would say that it was the treatment by the Germans, the ones who weren’t Nazi, rather the ones with the nice houses and food on the table who stood there watching it happen across the fence and in their backyard, and who did nothing about it as the certain people were separated.  Even Queen Elizabeth II remembers ordering rationing for her country to help feed one another during this period in England, so that community wealth took care of everyone, not just a certain group of people.  And that is what showed that England was still free, that all people took care of all people and wealth was distributed equally despite differences in philosophy, differences in lifestyle, and difference in economic societal circles.

So now is Congress’ chance to show and prove what we as the United States of America are going to stand for roughly 80 years later when faced with a similar dilemma regarding their positions on caring for people and the way to vote, and whether we have learned anything from those who survived both the Great Depression and the World War II era.   It was from these situations that economic safeguards were put in place to ensure public confidence in the Government.  It is those safeguards which are being challenged this day, and how Congress votes is a very important message for the American people about where we are headed. Some of our older Congressman can relate stories from this time period in our history, because they have LIVED IT firsthand, where we have not.

This vote speaks to more than just unemployment or food supplements, it should speak to everyone regardless of economic societal status, because these programs came about from our government’s experiences from past situations, to ensure that we could take care of ourselves as a country after learning what wasn’t available for us as safeguards during the Great Depression.

In the era of the Great Depression, men who were rich one day woke up the very next day broke with no way to pay their living expenses when the stock market crashed in 1929.  If anyone in Congress remembers those days from their youth, they will remember that the poverty that was created for the average American wasn’t about being “lazy”, or any less of a person, or singling out a race of people……….what it IS about is learning that the Government can better take care of having certain failsafe parameters in place in case there is an economic collapse. That is what they are voting to fund NOW……..they are voting to fund safeguards for themselves, their children, their relatives, and for those who currently need those benefits, so that if in a month they themselves end up in a similar position with a loss of income, they know that they have government assistance to be able to intervene to help them survive independently.

Otherwise………..we are no smarter as a government than we were 80 and 90 years ago when those safeguards were not in place the first time and people lost dearly with nothing to help them remain independent. THAT is what they are voting on.

Congress has voting coming up on whether to continue to fund those who are trying to find jobs with extended benefits of unemployment compensation………….or whether to look the other way and do nothing and choose to leave people stranded, as well as whether to keep food supplement programs in the system to feed families who depend on them, or whether to axe it and let them starve without government conscience.

This isn’t a question of laziness of the people, which less educated people want to claim………….it is a moral question of government taking care of your people and making the educated choice by choosing, like England did in WWII, to publicly ration the wealth appropriately.  We can choose, as a government whether to ration our wealth as a free and democratic society………..or we can choose to be like Germany in WWII………… and discriminate who thrives.

We have elder Congressman who remember those days………fortunately.  We have the good fortune of having people in power who LIVED the stories and the suffering we hear.  They can recount to those of us who are younger what life was like without any government safeguards, and the lessons learned.  They have lived in those times,  they watched the Great Depression happen to their parents, and they have seen firsthand what we only hear about in books.  That is why we put them in Congress………….. and this is their legacy………….

I would like to think that Congress has learned something from some of them living in the years of 1929-1950. That is why we rely on our elder Congressmen for wisdom handed down, and why they are in office still, because they have actually LIVED the stories and they have actually FOUGHT in the trenches when there wasn’t enough heat, money, or food to go around. They have LIVED those times………………..and now we need and ask their life experience and ask them to vote to keep the safeguards in place that don’t allow those circumstances to happen……again.

Reference to Website and Film:

  • Khimm, Susie. (2014). http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/finally-some-hope-jobless-aid.:  accessed 1/29/2014
  • Spielberg, S., Zaillian, S., Neeson, L., Kingsley, B., Fiennes, R., Keneally, T., Universal City Studios., … MCA Universal Home Video (Firm). (1994). Schindler’s list. Universal City, Calif: MCA Universal Home Video.
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