I'm going to tell you a story today, it's a story about you and me and it's a story about a father and son. In a larger sense it's a story about America because a story like this only happens in America. I doubt that it happens even in third world countries but it might happen in places like India where people live in wretched poverty, and it might happen during times of war or famine, but this is America, isn't it?
On July 11, an eleven year old boy awoke from his bed to find that his father was gone. The boy found two notes left behind, the first instructed the boy to take his play station and go to the neighbor's house. The second note asked the neighbors to take his son in because the father was no longer financially able to care for his son.
The note to the neighbors explained that the father was unable to find work and that their home was about to be foreclosed and they would be homeless. I say that it is a story about America because most governments wouldn't allow their people to become so degraded or as my mother used to say "good jobs make nice neighbors" or maybe in the current vernacular when you treat people like sh*t they act like sh*t.
This is America and because this is America do you know whose fault this is? Why it is this mans own fault, of course. We have twenty four hour running propaganda networks to teach and to train our people to hate one another. They preach that the mortgage crisis was caused by people buying homes that they couldn't afford when the truth is that people lost jobs that they couldn't replace.
The father, Steven Cross is sixty years old and is an architect by trade. It is a profession which requires a college degree and assuming Cross graduated when he was twenty one it means he was a positive contributing member of society for thirty nine years. Rather than buying a home he couldn't afford Cross had owned his home since 1995 more than half the term of a conventional thirty year mortgage.
A bank had purchased the Cross home recently for $336,925 and there will be no criticism of the bank on big brother TV. No commentary about the bank buying the property for $336,925 and expecting to turn a tidy profit on the property. The bank is using their monetary advantage to crush families and to push people over the edge in the holy name of profit. Millions of American families are struggling and suffering and America's banks flush with new cash borrowed at near zero interest rates see that suffering as a profit potential.
Cross also owed $35,000 to finance companies since 2007 does this story begin to have a familiar ring to it? A debt amassed while trying to hold on, hoping against hope, hoping for something good to happen and waiting for hope and change and receiving only buckets full of more of the same. The police investigating Cross's computer found a reservation for a motel in California. A private investigation firm has offered free assistance in tracking him down because to the state Cross is only a criminal and not a victim.
"Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight." -- Malcolm X
President Obama laughed off banker's bonuses by comparing them to professional athlete's salaries but this case clearly illustrates just how these seven figure bonuses are earned, not by stuffing a ball through a hoop or hitting a ball over a fence but by crushing our people. About a month after his disappearance a women reported to police that Cross had contacted her by E-mail from a library saying he left his son and was depressed and sleeping in the streets.
"I probably only have a couple of days," Cross said in the email. "No one I called would help me. ... I didn't know what to do. I am scared and hopelessly depressed.'"
As would be expected the right wingers in their role as most hateful nation unleashed a barrage of scorn upon Cross. It is standard fare in America that if you haven't been mauled or eaten by the predators in the jungle to then declare yourself smarter than all the other monkeys. An ironic Christian right version of Social Darwinism that says if you get mauled or eaten by circumstances it's your own fault alone, Christ once said that this world wasn't his but to the Christian right this world is perfect and its you who are defective, maybe you should have gone to church more or prayed harder.
I'm not defending Cross but I'm not condemning him either, I see him as a man pushed over the edge by predatory economic system and ignored by impotent uncaring corporate federal government that doesn't give a damn about our people. It sounds to me like Cross is having a mental break down, he isn't a criminal he's a victim just like John Valjean. A man caught in circumstances beyond his control and as his life began to unravel he made the wrong decisions.
Victor Hugo's novel "Les Mise'rables" literally means "The Miserable Ones" I think that is applicable to the Cross case. Men are expected by society to be bread winners and when they fail in that role regardless of circumstances it is a blow to the psyche and self esteem. It is appears likely that Cross had succeeded in that role of bread winner for decades and now like millions of other men and women in this country that ability has been stripped away from him until he felt himself naked and without options.
2.9 million homes were in foreclosure last year and big bother media excoriates the victims and laments the poor struggling banks. The right blames Barney Frank and the left blames George W. Bush and all sides seem to forget that these aren't just numbers or buildings, these are people's lives. This little boy will never get to be eleven years old again and his experience is a more severe example of what is going on daily in America and yet there are worse examples still.
Perhaps I have a soft spot in my heart for Cross because I too have lost a home and I too have been unable to support myself. I have felt that helplessness and I have made those phone calls for help only to be told that I don't qualify for this reason or that.