WE, THE ENDANGERED PEOPLE!
With some 50 million people uninsured or underinsured in this country, it is difficult to see how things could get worse. If it becomes a choice between buying groceries and buying health insurance, we all know which will win out.
I have heard that by simply wiping out the taxcuts for the wealthy, National Health Insurance could be afforded. By halting the Iraq War and its tremendous expense, Social Security could be saved. The problem is, our leaders seem to be thinking of everything except the American people. We are being lowered in status to the lives of peasants, simply scrambling to keep our jobs and make a living.
Visit any marina. You will see the fine, white yachts of the Very Privileged. Very often, they even dress up in uniform, with shining white outfits and Captain's hats. In the meantime, we row our dinghies past these monoliths, enjoying life any way we can.
The differences are amazing. The rich spend their money on jewel-encrusted umbrella stands and gold toilets, while my own toilet is held together with a bread tie and a prayer. The rich furnish their homes in fine mahogany furniture, purchased from exclusive shops, while the legs of my kitchen chairs wobble precariously and give way despite all efforts to salvage them. The rich dress in Armani and Calvin Klein, while I patronize K-Mart and walk about in cheaply-made clothes from a Chinese sweat shop.
Poor thing, you might say, she's poor! But I am not. I have plenty of money for my lifestyle and I occasionally eat something besides beans. It is just that the rich have multiplied and the former Middle Class is sliding on a downhill route toward poverty. It is just that the rich are able to tour India, while you and I watch our jobs go to India, while we stay home looking in vain for another comparable one.
Our candidates for the next President seldom say a word about the plight of the Middle Class. Occasionally, they answer questions about the some twelve to twenty million Illegal Aliens climbing over our borders, but they evade the obvious answer. Our corporations are luring these poor people with offers of jobs, while America's Middle Class is trying to keep the wolf from the door.
Last week, the Justice Department awarded John Ashcroft a 52 million dollar contract to monitor Hip and Knee Replacement Parts companies in New Jersey. Five other attorneys, all former government officials, were also given the job. It seems that these Hip and Knee Replacement Parts Companies have delivered defective merchandise and need watching. But, one wonders, does it take 52 million dollars....plus the salaries of five other attorneys...to monitor this? Is it just a coincidence that the Justice Department official in charge of hiring these people has chosen Ashcroft, his former boss, as well as other governmental brethren"?
Our government seems to operate under the "Buddy System," and political bedfellows get the spoils. John Ashcroft was not a great Attorney General, nor can he sing very well, but he was selected because of his "honesty" to get this lucrative contract, which will come from my tax money, my friends, yours and mine. All I really remember about John Ashcroft is that he spent a few thousand dollars to cover up the naked statues in the spot where he spoke to the Press. He didn't do much to cover up the ragged folks seeking jobs in this country.
We are supposed to be a unified country. Even the Constitution speaks of "We, the People." But it is boiling down to a situation of "us and them."
I am not afraid of poverty. I have been poor. I grew up on cornbread and wormy apples and potatoes plucked from the fields. At that, we had food, albeit simple food, and we had a roof over our heads. As you read this, some poor shivering soul is rolling up in a slab of cardboard, trying to keep warm through the night. Worse yet, a family of three children is sprawled in a car, no place to keep warm, no place to enjoy a hot meal. With more people joining the poverty ranks daily, new shelters have not been built, new food lines have not opened. I don't know a single church that serves a daily meal for the destitute. Not one.
Crime is up. What did they expect? When you drive people to desperation, they do desperate things. Not everyone is like myself, growing up with that orchard to climb in, that warm soup on the stove. We are confining hundreds of jobless youths in cities where the only paying job is within the drug trade. Their playground is the cement sidewalks, their games are battling the neighboring gang. We have spent millions and millions reconstructing Iraq and gotten little for our money. We do not spend very much on reconstructing our own cities.
Not long ago, a few Alaskan legislators were arrested for accepting kickbacks from companies they awarded with political favors. This hardly hit the news at all. It was just Ho Hum! A few more indicted politicians...what else is new? Yet we are inundated with tales of Brittney's woes, O.J.'s escapades and the strange disappearance of a college student in Aruba. Only Lou Dobbs hammers the government for its "War on the Middle Class" and risks being called a bigot, or worse. We live in a world of Information Deprivation, and are all at the mercy of just what is being reported today. What isn't being reported is the Middle Class struggles in a world that has slipped into Corporate Craziness and political greed.