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Walk a Mile in My Shoes

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Message David Cox
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I fully understand that many don't understand my anger and my rage. I was sent the following message, "I'm unemployed too but I never expected that Obama could fix the problem in eighteen months." I'm living in an urban county with one million residents, and between 2008 and 2009 10-percent of all the businesses in the county shut their doors. We have one stimulus project, a bridge over a highway and the number of jobs created -- 20? 50? 100?

I used to drive new cars and I had a 1965 Mustang with a "K" code motor and a four speed top loader transmission in the garage but now I walk every where I need to go. I traded the pony car for start-up capital for a business, and for a year or so the business did well and I thought I was living the American dream. Then it just stopped and I lost everything. My house, my wife, my job and I believe my future as well.

Let's forget about political parties because there are tens of millions of Americans who are in dire straits and need help. I've spoken to a woman several times that I see when I walk to the grocery store. She walks the streets with her two dogs as she pushes a baby stroller picking up aluminum cans. Stop for a moment and think of your own mother walking the streets picking up aluminum cans. Is that the future that you want for your mother or for your children? This woman appears to be in her late fifties or early sixties and she walks the streets in upper 90-degree heat looking for aluminum cans trying to stay alive.

I've met people living in tents, in cars and under bridges and they are not crackheads or mentally ill; they are regular people just like you and me and their country has abandoned them. I met an unemployed man who was living in his car after he had spent all his savings on cheap motels when he lost his apartment. He'd been waiting on his first unemployment check for six weeks. As he left his room in the motel, the police pointed guns at him and threw him on the back of the car. A nice car in this parking lot? They assumed that he must be selling drugs.

He's holding onto the car because it's all he has left of his past life. His job from where he was laid off offered that, "maybe after a year they might hire him back." Try living this life for a year. He was going through a divorce and missed one too many days. In America you're not allowed to have a personal crisis or a health crisis; the boss man won't allow it.

The other morning I woke up and went to the bathroom and, as I moved the mop, I was greeted by a three-inch garden spider. They say that they're more afraid of you than you are of them and if so, then it was scared shitless! I bashed it with the mop and hundreds of babies began trying to make their escape. The cooler nights had brought the spider inside the garage. Why can't I just be more patient with Barack Obama?

You see -- I want to be clear about this -- it's not that I don't like Obama's program to aid the homeless and destitute because there isn't any. There is nothing; you are on your own Bubba. Find a bridge to sleep under or start picking up cans and remember when sleeping in your car that, in most cases, you are violating the law. Try living one day in your car. Like the unemployed man said, "The heat was killing me, but I had to save my gas." His $200 per month food stamp allotment will be reduced to $90 per month once his unemployment check comes through.

I recently read about how the US State department had paid to repair all the damages after a bomb went off in a shopping center in Pakistan. They paid to repair the buildings and they replaced the merchant's inventories and gave a check for miscellaneous damages to the owner of the shopping center. At the same time the Senate voted to give Pakistan eight billion dollars to build new schools. But for the homeless and unemployed in America there is nothing. Got to watch the budget deficit don't you know!

Many of the shopping centers in my neighborhood look like a bomb's gone off in them as well. The last new shirt I bought had written on the tag, "Wrangler" made in Pakistan. I walk four miles each way to the library and I arrive before they open and every day there is a crowd at the door and we are all -- each and every one -- unemployed. Why can't we be more patient with Barack Obama?

He's trying; he's given tax cuts to spur business. He's given tax cuts to small business to hire the unemployed. He's proposed a 100-percent write-off for business on capital expenditures. Why, his stimulus package even gives tax cuts to investors who hold onto their stocks for five years.

My son, who is in the used car business, was upset about the cash for clunkers program. He didn't understand that when you give a tax cut to the affluent to buy new cars, it helps everyone. He complained that the cars taken off the road drove up the price of the used cars at the auctions. So while the affluent got a tax cut, the not so affluent got a price increase and a smaller selection. As I walk to the library each day, I pass half a dozen of these small car lots and nothing is selling. My son is strictly sticking to the cheapest cars out there because that is all that people are buying.

Some days I go through Craigslist and Job Monster and the local want ads, and there are literally no jobs to apply for. Nothing new from day to day; then there are the jobs that are come ons and scams. After a year or so you've seen them all and some want an investment, some want you to buy inventory. "Sell Refrigerators to Eskimos! Unlimited Territory! Make Big Money! Get Rich before Sundown!"

"Sell our new patented system! Guaranteed Easy Money!" Of course their new patented system is to take out a want ad that reads, "Sell our new patented system! Guaranteed Easy Money!"

This all has put me into a funk the last few days because they hang around the forts; the true proselytes of Barack Obama defend his performance tooth and nail. I understand that and I understand their anger at me for proclaiming the emperor has no clothes. But what of the millions? What's to become of them? Living under bridges and in their own late model Hoovervilles. Can we as a just nation ignore them or discount their suffering? Obama didn't cause this but neither did they, and they are forced to live it everyday, morning, noon and night, seven days a week.

These are Americans just like you and they are in need of assistance. This is a national disaster not unlike hurricane Katrina and tax cuts won't help keep the homeless and unemployed warm at night. Who among you would accept "wait and see" as an answer or tax cuts for business as the answer if you were in their shoes? You wouldn't accept this quietly from George W. Bush, and their suffering is just as real under Barack Obama -- so what's the difference?

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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