I am reminded lately of the old joke where the Secretary of State goes up to an airline counter (old joke, this was before we could get our tickets online) and said “Give me a ticket to anywhere – we’ve got trouble all over”.
In today’s political and war-like climate, we do have trouble all over. It is too bad we, the people, don’t really have much of a say any longer. We the people everywhere, around the world, are at the mercy of our elected officials, or those who have taken over their countries through military actions. People are dying, some easy, some not so much, by the thousands, millions of others are being trod on by those who love money and power more than they do the human condition.
I am reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, which is a novel about one of the French Revolutions (there were at least three that I know of, probably more), and was reminded about the man who said “let them eat grass” about the poor and starving. He was one of the first to die when the people rose up. I think this is a period (1775-1792) before Marie Antoinette who famously said “let them eat cake”. I suspect the people during this period would have loved to have cake.
And I was thinking, why don’t we the people of this country rise up. Why don’t we have the same right to live comfortably, and well-fed. Oh, I am not hungry, and don’t have to worry about my personal comfort. But I give full credit for that to the privilege of having a government-assisted housing unit.
But I know that I have to really abide by the rules and regulations because in today’s economy, and I use my town of Austin as an example, when rents are rising, utilities are rising, taxes are rising, and government is fighting against raising the minimum wage, there are long lists of people who would just love to have a home with HACA (Housing Authority City of Austin). And it is the same with all other government housing districts. Because at least we have rent control. I pay only 30% of my income for my housing, and get free electricity and water. As for my phone, it is a free government phone, with 250 free minutes a month. I can add money to it for more minutes, for texting, for access to the World Wide Web, if I want to. I get the phone because I have food stamps. I get only $15 a month, but it allows me to get other benefits. I can afford to buy my groceries, but then I’m not feeding anyone but me and two cats.
But it has not always been that way for me. I had to retire, start taking my social security, get old enough for Medicare, and get “old”. That is okay too, but I will never forget how it was before I got here. I will never lose my compassion and empathy for those who are still fighting the battle of simply surviving.
I have heard that some Republican candidate somewhere has even made the statement that “they should all just die”, or words to that effect. I don’t know if it is true, it could be hearsay, but I have long felt like many of the wealthiest of this country really do feel that way. The Bible used by so many of the non-christian christians says “the poor ye shall always have with you”, meaning to me that when those rich catholic men back in 326 AD put together the current christian bible, this is how they wanted things to be. It is well known that during the darkest times of world history, the Dark Ages and such, that the heads of churches really did live off the people, off the fat of the land, leaving dregs, weeds, rocks, for the people to make their own livings. I cannot help thinking that even in a world where there should be plenty for all, it is still the leaders, religious and secular, who are still taking theirs off the top, and leaving the rest for the rest of us to try and pass around.
Nothing has changed.
I left out military there because even the generals and admirals are living with plenty, and the grunts, the ones who actually go out and fight their wars and get killed, or even worse, wounded, who are going wanting – at least in the United States, and probably everywhere else.
I stay off my computer most of the time these days because every time I open it, I read about more and more stupidity, selfishness, me-first and good luck to you, that it is severely depressing. I wonder if this year will be the year the people will stand up, or if they are once again going to say “why bother, nothing will ever change”.
It is horrifying. Well, I won’t fail to vote, and will continue to help where and when I can, with my meager resources, and can only hope that goodness will become the norm. I won’t hold my breath.
For now, I am going to watch Volcano and then Jurassic Park, and pretend that life is good.
Stay hopeful, my friends, and try to stay happy.
PS: I left out racism. I just don’t understand how it is still so horrible. I love President Obama, and will continue to back him, because I am so sick of his having to fight so many battles without the support of the people. In spite of our electing him twice. Keep smiling, Mr. President, and love to you, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha.