In his Inauguration Speech, President Barack Obama directed these very words to the Muslim world, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” As far as I am concerned, this statement equally applies to the Republican Party since not one of their House members voted yes to the stimulus bill which passed by the Democratic majority.
To his credit, President Barack Obama kept his promise to reach across the aisle to the Republicans and what did they do, they slapped his hand. Some would rather kiss the ring of Rush Limbaugh than do what is right for the citizens of this country.
Some Republican members threw a hissy-fit as they came before the cameras yesterday citing they wanted their voices heard. Not remembering that for a majority of the Bush years, they had their say and what was the end result? Millions of jobs lost where tens of thousands were lost this past week.
In reading an op-ed column in today’s Newsday, Carolyn Gusoff formerly of WNBC news in New York relayed her story to those willing to read it of her new-found-status in a growing club of sorts called the unemployed.
As we all know, with work comes a sense of dignity and pride in what we as Americans do. It is where one is able to have a conversation with another of what we do for a living. So, I was struck when she had this to say, “I am unemployed.” She goes onto say, “There - I said it… It sounds embarrassing - something you wouldn't want to shout out in a crowd. And it's something, after two decades of quite gainful employment, that I never imagined would happen to me.”
We often think those in the media are not representative of we the people, but here a former news reporter and a good one at that chronicled her feelings and I do suspect, many do see themselves in her shoes.
The reason for her job loss is at the hands of the Internet where people do not want to wait for the news and the advertising base is being lost to these local news departments. As with print news, the local news is one that I rely upon to see what is happening in my world. It is getting harder and harder to know what is happening within one’s own community.
In fact, I did touch upon this subject in a column, Cable News: I long for the days of “We now resume normal broadcasting”
Getting back to Guoff’s powerful commentary, somehow this one item written by her stood out and I do suspect that the millions who have lost their jobs could easily identify with "And what do you do?" leaves me at a loss. "I am, I was, I ... um ... and what do you do?" As I said, with a job comes a person's identity and how we show ourselves to the world, how we move within it and for millions, it is lost. Yet, these Republicans who failed at voting for this one bill simply do not get it.
In a prior piece, I wrote a similarity between the world we inherited after 9/11 to these stark and dark economic times. Directly after 9/11 both parties did come together to show a sign of strength not only to the American people, but the world in the name of patriotism. Gusoff's words spoke to the very heart of it as she listened to President Obama's speech in which she wrote, "As I watched him usher in a season of change across the nation, I hung on every word. Because for me, like so many other Americans right now, hoping he succeeds is not just patriotic, it's personal." In these bleak economic times, the Republicans by not supporting this one bill are failing the American people.
As the Republican members gathered in a mob-mentality to show themselves flexing their political muscle, what they failed to do was to listen to the individual voices of those who have lost their jobs. They failed at listening to the personal and for that, I say, shame on them!
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org