I’m too angry to sleep, too weary to hope. I’m too old for optimism and too young to stop fighting. I’d hit someone if only I knew who; I’d march if only I knew where to go. I support the new President and think that he will bring a new vitality to the nation, but my age and anger tells me that vitality is a show business term. That trickle down never reaches us, and political spin is just so much wind passed into our faces.
During the Presidential campaign Joe Biden made the statement that President Obama would be tested by foreign leaders. Who would have thought that it wouldn’t have been Russia or Iran or Venezulea that would test the new President, but Israel? A country the size of New Jersey invades and bombs an area twice the size of Washington D.C. for three weeks with a modern air force and shells it from the sea. Shells and bombs a country that is without an air force or a navy, a country with only two airstrips. A country where 44% of the population is under fourteen years of age and to hang this on a new president and then to suddenly stop 48 hours before his inauguration. This is a most cynical ploy by those who use our friendship to their own best advantage.
Israeli tanks, Israeli planes, Israeli bombs, and while Israel looks inward and ignores the world’s scorn, the new American President will not have such a luxury. For every epithet hurled at Israel will be whispered that it is the United States that makes these things possible. What sort of friendship is this where we are required to clean up the mess and help to pay the tab?
The more things change the more they stay the same. I entered the workforce in the mid 70’s, I have seen my health insurance deteriorate while the premiums soar. I've seen physicians with double waiting rooms and hospital Taj Mahals with marble porticos and leather couches, understaffed by overworked nurses and technicians. Life-saving efforts of EMT’s and paramedics whose salaries are paid by the revenues of one call per week. They do the dirty work and they keep the populace alive, and yet they earn the same money as a sanitation engineer, while the hospital administrators and company executives earn millions and leave at five o’clock each day.
Your grievances are answered by a call center in India, which tells you to call your insurance company, and then by an insurance company call center in India that tells you the fault lies with the hospital. The politicians of all stripes tell you this is a free market system of health care, but it’s a monopoly if I’ve ever seen one.
Healthcare executives are elected to Congress and the medical industry subsidizes the rest. The drugs companies finance the drug trials through the FDA and they’re always real sorry when they recall the drugs that have killed or injured a few hundred of the little people. No one is ever fired or loses their job, they're just real sorry.
The Congress passes bills such as the Personal Bankruptcy Reform of 2005, making it easier for corporations to file but harder for the average American citizens to do the same. Those that do run the gauntlet are forced to pay for a credit education certificate. You pay $150.00 and answer a telephone survey courtesy of America’s credit card industry. Call it the adding insult to injury tax. The banks, in turn, write these debts off of their income taxes and plead poor to Congress. Only citizens are ever questioned about poor judgement, banks can ask for billions but citizens should have known better. These corporate debts will be sold off for pennies on the dollar to companies that will then go after the debtor for the full amount of the debt.
They are a flock of corporate buzzards picking the bones of the poor, using the courts that were once established for the defense of justice as an instrument of oppression. “Why don’t you have a lawyer?" We have three. Then, if you try to get up on your feet, they will garnish your wages making any progress impossible. If you dare to get angry or to make a peep about your condition, you could be charged with making terrorist threats under the Patriot Act, which was also passed in one day.
You could be banned from flying or buying a gun or even buying a car because you dared to speak up for yourself and someone didn’t like your tone. The onus is always on you to defend yourself from the charge. I wonder what your attorney thinks. Oh right, you don’t have an attorney, do you?
These new winds of change promise only to curtail the worst acts allowed in the Patriot Act when the act should be gutted or scrapped or both. It is a law that requires paraplegics to take their shoes off because the machine beeped and for the elderly to hold up their hands like robbery victims. Even so, it is but the tip of the iceberg, while we are pushed and prodded like cattle going up a chute. Employers check your credit score to see if you are worthy to hire after you lost your job to a Chinese factory where Americans ask no questions as to the worker's credit scores.
The new administration promises tax credits up to $500 dollars. I don’t know, what are you going to spend your tax credit on? Let’s see, they are going to cut capital gains taxes on small businesses and fight for fairer trade agreements and… excuse me, but I’ve heard that one so many times my ass is sore. What are you going to do for me, the average, struggling American? What are you going to do to help me get a job, this week? What are you going to do to help me keep my house? Many of us no longer care what you’re going to do for the banks or about tax credits for small business.
I find myself in no small minority. There are millions who’ve already lost their jobs and homes and millions more who are going to lose their jobs and homes. Will fireworks and flag waving change their somber prospects? Will it make us all feel better with a jobs program that will help us in the next year or two? It is cold today, the furnace needs to run today, I need to eat today, and I want to save my home today!