Let us start off with a recipe before I get into a very heavy topic.
Country Living has a nice recipe for Green Tomato Gratin.
Last night I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite bloggers, An Historical Lady, will be signing off from the sphere. No one likes to see a familiar voice disappear and while most of us get that "Life Gets In The Way" I am angry that she has no choice but to be silent for awhile or maybe even forever.
I am in no way her voice, but let me put it in a nutshell for you. Her and her husband are pretty much impoverished and have hit a wall of massive depression. I could sugar coat, but why bother? Her husband had a good paying job like many other Americans, then BAM, job gone. After sending out resume after resume, he had to take a very low paying job and then another. So he works two jobs and combined they do not make enough for them to even survive. She is in antiques and that industry took a major hit when the economy went to crap. They also had both of their older cars bite the dust within the same week. When it pours it goes to typhoon level for some folks.
For those of you who are international you need to understand that while we do have some safety nets in place here, unemployment, food stamps, they are nowhere to the level of what France or Australia or Sweden has. The Republican/Tea Party/Libertarian bent of society would have you believe that any government interference is against our God given rights and if you want to survive you need to find a way. To that I say, what if you have done everything and yet you still struggle? What if you have taken every odd job or sold everything you could and still you cannot afford your electric bill? What should one do, live in a tent? Those who say hard work will get you far and to keep trying seem to forget that though some people might own their houses outright, they can still lose said home because of failure to pay property tax. What is also gross about some of our public services is they fail to reach those in need. One of the stories she had told once was how the oil company would not work out a payment plan so they could have heat in the winter. The stream of curse words I wanted to let fly were held back then and held back now. New Hampshire has brutal winters and to deny someone oil is tantamount to not just being a jackass, but cruel and should be illegal. Payment plans happen all the time in our area, we do it, so I find that response of theirs to her question just a touch masochistic.
Everyday I read comments on some blog or other about those here and abroad making do or doing without. These are working people. People who bring home a paycheck. Some are getting social security or are on disability, but a spouse may be working. These are not the stereotypes fed to you by the politicians and lobbyists. In their world the poor are living high on the hog form welfare checks and driving shiny news cars and have iPhones while pumping out more kids to get more cash. Does that happen here in the US? Absolutely, but they are the bad apples in the bunch. The good ones suffer on their behalf.
Why isn't there more press on the common citizen? The ones trying to make it and who can't. Why are people afraid to see the faces of the poor? Is it the same reason we do not allow pictures of our dead soldiers? Fear of a real reaction by our citizens? Or does it hit way too close to home? To see a poor person or family, why, that could be one of us! Is it that scary to see someone that looks like you struggle? Yeah, I am about to go there. White people are poor too and not just the hillbillies the media like to throw at you to make you believe they deserve their lot in life as well. FYI - Appalachia people are some of the most resourceful folks and if you do not believe me go read up on their culture and listen to terrific music on Blind Pig & The Acorn.
Could I take this to another level? Who could I reach out to? Maybe I can compost a letter. Here is a rough draft of rambling thoughts.
Dear Frontline or Ken Burns or some other Documentarian,
I have read some of the most heartbreaking posts by those doing their damnedest to survive. True stories with real outcomes and real consequences. Poverty is not just an urban blight, but suburban and rural and it is taking its toll. Please contact me as I can direct you to those who need to be the faces/voices to show what our governments (Fed/County/Local/State) and corporations have done. You need to show these are people who have no credit card debt or mortgages and yet, they can't even find the money to pay for heating oil. I think it is time to break the bullshit example shown to the general public and let them see that this could be them at any time. I do not have a solution and these folks are not asking for handouts, but empathy has long been going from society and it is time to get it back. It is time somebody in power understands that their choices can do a lot of damage when not thought out. Bail outs for banks but not home owners, expensive health care, prohibitive education costs, these things will snowball and hurt so many. Sure there is Darwin's survival of the fittest, but who knew the fittest would come to represent only those that have money and nothing more.
I remember being a child and hearing the phrase "Dog Eat Dog World". I have always known it to be true, but to see just how big and ugly it has gotten is downright depressing.