Friday, October 14, 2011

the personal cost

This is my personal take on an issue that's seldom covered by the media — the crushing emotional toll of living in this economy without having work.

Imagine a continuous panic attack, high anxiety that just won't go away and being unable to sleep, night after night. Imagine having to balance completely inadequate financial resources every month with bills that can never be paid. Imagine hurtling towards a cliff and seeing that there is nothing you can do to stop going over into total destruction.

Imagine living that, knowing that nobody in your local or national government gives a damn or is going to offer any help — not, of course just for me, but for the millions upon millions sinking into poverty every day. We are truly on our own out here. I grew up believing the lie that there were always safety nets for the poor. I grew up believing that if you were just smart, honest and hard-working, everything would be fine.

My anger and rage at what is happening to this country is consuming. I now truly understand how bloody revolution is born. Career politicians who voted for "free trade" policies, including the brand new Korean FTA have raped our country of jobs. They need to GO, but they also need to be held accountable. The destruction of our middle class and working class isn't something we can recover from in the time-frame of a few years. It will take decades — if it ever happens.

My anger and rage is sometimes directed inwardly. I think about dying — all the time. But more and more, my anger is directed at its rightful source, banks, corporations, politicians and wall street. I feel that with all the people who are in this same situation, at last we have a voice with the Occupy movement.

The partisan bickering, blaming and gaming that's happening in my home town, Washington DC is intolerable. The people who live and work there are truly sheltered from reality. America burns while the fools in congress obstruct and play their political left/right games. This crisis of an economy has shown me how little relevance our federal government has, and how little my vote counts. Without massive, sweeping change of the players, there will be no change in this country.

I'm not nearly as poor as a lot of people in this country. But I'm finding it more and more difficult to get up each day and be positive about finding work of any kind. My true feeling is that I will never have work again. I'm in my late 50's and nobody is hiring anyone in that age range that I can see. If you think this doesn't eat into your sense of self worth, you haven't been there — yet.

I've left behind a few friends in this personal crisis — most just do not understand what it is like to be in this vulnerable state and are in total denial about how bad our economy is.

A "friend" ask me what I'm doing to prepare. She said I should have seen this coming for awhile, implying, I suppose, something about my abilities or lack thereof. The very question enrages me. It's as if this is my problem alone. I'll tell you this now: there is no roadmap for homelessness. How can a person possibly prepare for that? Nothing in my life up to this point has prepared me to even think about something so catastrophic. I can prepare for hard times (and have) by growing my own food, canning, dehydrating, learning farm skills, doing without, etc. I can't prepare for not having a place to put all those preps. I can't prepare for not having land to grow on.

So, small steps, because it's all I can think of to do: I'm shredding (laboriously by scissor) about 10 years worth of old paperwork, taxes, bills, etc. I'm teaching the cats to live outdoors. I've called a breed-specific rescue about my dog. I'm selling off my life's possessions, some things that have been in my family for many years at yard sales. For pennies of their worth. Sold a few things on ebay. I'm trying to sell my house. I'm trying to give away or sell most everything I own, and should be living in an almost-empty house by the spring.

Andrew Mellon once notoriously proclaimed, “During depressions, assets return to their rightful owners.” The (criminal) repossession of real estate and other assets is happening all over this country, to the satisfaction of the wealthy.

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