As I drove around town this week, I admit I became a bit self-centered. When one worries about their own predicament, one forgets about all that is going on around them and forgets. I then remembered Elie Weitzel’s admonition to us all to “….to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.” As I noticed people who continue to hold up signs, I wonder what else could be done.
As I was getting some gas, I noticed a middle-aged lady scavenging for bottles and cans. I struck a conversation with her and asked her: why? She noted that she had no job after losing her job as a daycare provider for a lady that had passed away. She and her husband frequented Gas Stations to collect cans and bottles. I am sure they also scavenged other areas as well to help make ends meet. I was so amazed as to her attitude.
The image of people scavenging for bottles and cans to help pay the rent and food on the table is a scene I just could not imagine in America. I had seen tragic scenes of people working the dumps in Cambodia, Thailand and other places around the World. I still sometimes think it is a scene out of a movie. If I had not actually seen it, I would not have believed it. I suppose that such action would be considered to be entrepreneurial by those who beat the drums for free enterprise and freedom. I have to wonder whether folks like Joe Miller, Sharon Angle and some of the Orange County Locals who tout the same line truly understand the predicament of the average guy on Main Street.
As I got ready to drive away, I decided to worked up the courage to yet again walk up to one of the regulars I had seen around town. On his sign, I noticed that he was a World War II and Korea Veteran who had nowhere else to go. I began by thanking him for his service to his Country. I then asked him point blank: What happened? The story was too familiar. He lost his job and couldn’t get another job because he was perceived to be too old to be hired by anyone. He was a bit hopeful because a friend of his was about to start up something and he would be going on to run security. He also opened up about a divorce he went through and how he got shortchanged by his wife too. I wanted to ask him about Veteran Benefits. But, frankly I was afraid because I am sure that he would have begun another round of horror stories over at the VA. I avoided this question because the VA Secretary’s speech horrified me about the extent of the challenge faced by the VA. The stagggering statistic by the VA Secretary noted that over a million customers would have to be absorbed by the VA System. Someone like this gentleman would truly be lost in the shuffle. I was struck by how optimistic and hopeful he was. As I bid him farewell, I suggested that he check out the One Stop Center that could potentially help him. I told him that many of the opportunities gave Veteran Preferences which I hoped would give him a leg up on others.
The plight of these unfortunate souls is another indication of the challenge we face as we go through this Darwianian Flush. There are those who will not survive. What will become of them? What will happen to these two souls who want to work and are willing to just the others “voices from street corners” who have yet to realize the dignity of work?
There is only thing that is for sure: We will be in a state of near paralysis until the Mid-Terms. In the meantime, those who are on the down and out will unfortunately be left to fend off for themselves when State Leaders in Sacramento can’t even come to a decision on a budget.