Voices From Street Corners

Anyone who has driven around South County has seen people at street corners with signs asking for help.    Many have been out of work, are homeless and are truly helpless.   Yet, the governing elite seem to have found religion on the need to be all of a sudden fiscally responsible because there is no money anymore.

Monday’s  New York Times featured a story about the plight of the so-called 99Ers.  For those who may not know what that means, it reflects those who have exhausted all unemployment benefits and are basically left out to drift in the wind.     I have been witness to such stories in our own backyard right here in Orange County.      The only word I could find is shameful.

A few weeks ago, I worked up the courage to actually walk up and speak with two such couples.  I happened to be driving down Crown Valley Parkway and noticed the couples ones at Costco.    I opened up the Conversation and asked them point blank:  What’s going on?  Their story was heart-breaking.

The first couple had driven out to California from Florida.   They were both looking for work. The gentleman was going out to the local day labor center to try and find enough money to help pay for the weekly motel he was renting with his wife.     They talked about how they had turned to their local Church who did not have the means anymore to help.   I was struck by how proud they were–and how embrassed they were.    I talked to them about some of the resources I had ran across that could possibly help them.  I gave them the number to the One Stop Center and gave them information on 211.Org.     As I walked away, I wished them them the best and told them that both were in my prayers.

After thinking about the predicament of the first couple, I walked up to the second couple.  The gentleman noted that he was in the Construction Industry for almost 30 years as a handyman and had fallen through the cracks as a result of the near-depression of the Construction Industry.    I asked him whether he had looked into unemployment.  He noted that because he was considered as self-employed, he did not qualify.    I talked to him about going out to the One Stop Center and talking to them about trying to get involved with retraining programs because Construction and Real Estate were two impacted industries. I also encouraged both of them to check 211.Org to get help.

The woman was in tears as she recounted how she was so involved with Retail.   She talked about how she wanted to stay respectable and not look like a street person.   They went out to the local Y to take showers, kept her  clothes in the storage ready to go, checked email every day hoping for something to break loose.    She remembered how she had worked on actually launching retail outlets like Kohls and had managed a multitude of individuals,.  Yet somehow she could not get a job now.    She was in tears as she talked about it all.  They also noted that the local Church they were members of was so overwhelmed that they wer enot in a position to help at all.    I underscored the need for them to keep the faith, stay strong and stay focused.

As I walked away from this couple,   I thought about what was going on in Washington.  This was especially during the most recent tirade by the Republican “Gang of No” against extending unemployment benefits and the jobs bill that Senator Reid had been trying to pass. I thought about how Senator Reid’s opponent, Sharon Angle, talked about how unemployment encouraged people to not look for work and about how the Republicans had found religion by wanting to all of a sudden be fiscally responsible after having presided over tax breaks that were not paid for, wars that were not paid for and a prescription drug program that was not paid for.

As I drove through my town today, I noticed a new gentleman standing at the corner yet again.    He was apparently a Veteran who had served and had apparently no place to go.   I did not have the courage today to talk to him.     I wondered about all who push the fictio nof wanting to help Veterans while Veterans suffer the most.      I also noticed the same co9uple from Florida at the same street corner somehow hoping for a miracle I suppose.

I truly wonder whether the Republican  “gang of no”  truly understands the plight of the dispossessed.   Many of these same people I talked to were the very people were symbols of the Middle Class and the hope and experiment that has been America.     If  one of the richest patches in the United States (if not the World) has to be witness to such tragedy, I can only wonder about Detroit, Cleveland and other major areas within the United States.

What the Republican  “gang of no” need to get through their head is that this is not a liberal or conservative issue.     As  their slick campaign to call out the Obama Adminstration to be the radical socialist, communist & facist Government who is hell bent on taking away cherished freedoms Americans enjoy gathers steam, I am yet to see any concerte solutions from them.  I guess their plan is akin to what Richard Nixon’s secret plan to end the war in Vietnam.     It seems to me that the American People should at least be told what to expect.

There is one thing that everyone must truly agree on:   Getting people back to work is simplyst a human right and a civil right.   It is a question of dignity.     One wonders whether the folks sitting in Washington and the State Capitols understand that.

One must never lose hope.

Mike Pouraryan has over 18 years experience in Operations, Finance and Administration for Small to Medium Size Businesses, start-ups and publicly held companies. He has also had the good fortune to be involved in the community in various capacities. He has served as an intern on the Staff of a LA City Councilman, worked as a poll watcher for a Congressional Candidate and served as Vice Chair for the City of Laguna Niguel Public Safety and Emergency Prepardness Committee for 2009. In addition to his on-going business interests, he has also served as an Adjunct Professor for a number of years. Mike moderates the following sites focused on US & World Affairs: 1) http://www.outsiderviews.com; 2) http://www.kittenpolitics.com; 3) http://www.smoothpolitical.com.

  1 comment for “Voices From Street Corners

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