I have been amazed at our weather in South County over the past few days. As I looked down the Aliso and Wood Canyon Park, I continued to marvel at the beauty of what we have within our Midst. If I did not know better, I would think Spring was in there. It is November and we have Thanksgiving in our sites.
As I begin, I wanted to extend an “Eid Mubarak” to all Muslims around the World as Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) is celebrated at the end of the Hajj. It is a celebration of the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham.
As such momentous occasions are celebrated around the World, those “Voices from Street Corners” continue on trying to find a way to survive in the midst of the so-called “Darwinian Flush” that we seem to be the midst of. As I traveled down Alicia Parkway towards Laguna Niguel earlier on Monday, I noticed a young man standing at one of the corners of the Marketplace. This was the spot usually occupied by the Veteran who was there that same morning. I had kept my eye out for him to stop by and wish him a Happy Veterans Day. But, I seemed to keep missing him. I pulled in, parked my car and walked up to see what was going on and why he was there.
His story was not the typical story, though. He told that he had worked in Customer Service and Security. He had gotten into a fight with a former roommate, got charged with misdeamnor battery and ended up losing his guard card. I had suggested that he looked at Allied Barton before hand before he told me about his predicament. I suggested that he look into visiting the One Stop Centers and participating in some of the workshops that specifically targets individuals with records. I also asked him about his education. He told me he was a High School Graduate. I urged him to look at going back to school. I asked him about what he did for housing. He noted that he basically slept in his truck and if he could scrap up some money, would spend a few days in a Motel. He also was looking to try and pay for his car registration and smog. I also shared with him the resources available through 211.Org and wished him well.
As I walked away from him, I thought about my on-going challenges and gave praise to the Almighty for my blessings. I also did a bit of a “power walk” around the shopping center and while near Costco, noticed the Couple I initially talked to and initially checked back on. I decided, after a bit of soul searching, to build up the courage to go up and talk to them. I drove up, parked at Costco and walked up to talk to them.
I began by asking them how they were doing. They were trying to stay strong and It was great to see that. I saw a sense of apprehension in the gentleman, though–which was understandable. I told the Lady about some of the opportunities I had run across while visiting Toys-R-Us whereby they were hiring. I also told them about Ingram Micro looking to hire some 7,000 workers due to an expected surge in Christmas shopping. I happened to know something about Ingram and continue to be amazed as to how they have been able to manage things in a rather tough economic environment. I suggested that she consider looking at hooking up with them. I wish I could provide some guidance to the Gentleman–but I am sure that his “street corner” advertising for temporary jobs would continue to work.
I continued on the conversation with the lady by suggesting that she pick up a laptop. I was thinking that she could come up with $ 75 to pick up a refurbished laptop because I happened to run across one at a place in Santa Ana called Digital Salvage. She reminded me that they continued to be in a survival mode and there was no way they could come up with $ 75. She told me that she had lost the laptop because the storage place had auctioned off her stuff because they had fallen behind in payments to the storage place. As she talked about it, I could sense a level of frustration. She was gracious enough to ask me about how I was doing. I told her that by keeping faith, I was hanging in there and plugging along.
As I drove away, my mind again drifted away to Washington. I was horrified beyond words when I saw reports on the rise of hunger in the United States. As I recently caught a glimpse of Glenn Beck and his most recent rant on his program, I decided to see whether his website had anything about Hunger. I used the simple word Hunger and it returned “zero” results. I then moved on to visit Bill O”Reilly’s home on the Web and did the same search. The key word search yielded a grand total of 8. To Bill O’Reilly’s credit, one of the eight hits talked about a charity that fights hunger he supports in Long Island, New York. I have to wonder what the priority of all those who vie for Freedom, low taxes and individualism have to say about the rise of hunger.
Right now, the prevailing attitude in Washington is this: Cut Taxes. The Republicans are pushing the narrative that cutting taxes is the answer to the prayers of business. We are told that if taxes are cut, Bush-era tax cuts are made permanent and Government is cut to the bone, that everything is just going to be OK. The reality, unfortunately, is different. Yet, the narrative continues to be pushed as I see a continued rise in such people taking to the streets because they have no apparent other option left. It is even so as The Orange County Register talks about potentially getting rid of some of the cities in our midst.
In the midst of all of this, there is a battle within journalism itself for truth and fairness. Olbermann talked about it in his “Special Comment”:
There is a definite need for a Murrow and a Cronkite who had the courage to speak up when the times demanded it. I have periodically listened again to the words of Walter Cronkite when he spoke truth about Vietnam. Yet, even today, leaders like Senator McCain would have us believe that we actually won. The truth is not the rants of Bill O’Reilly using his “bully pulpit” to attack the so-called far left or Glenn Beck raving against George Soros. How can such people with so much power and wealth stay silent as the unemployed continue to be ignored and Americans go hungry in the breadbasket for the World?
It is tough at times to be hopeful. But, I see no other choice. I continue to pray that I am right.
The Story continues…..