I have been struggling with this question over the past few weeks as I have been reading on the bloodbath that has been proposed by President Obama in Washington and Governor Brown in Sacramento. I have been wondering whether I expect too much as I have thought about all those “voices” that I have been talking to and kept track off over the past number months.
As I traveled around South County, I kept a special eye out for all those unfortunate souls that I have been writing about over the past number of months to see how they were doing. I have been visiting the usual places to see how they have been doing. I was quite surprised when I actually saw one of them after almost two weeks in Laguna Niguel.
I struck a conversation with him to see how he was doing. I found out that he apparently was run off by the Property Managers because he was not “welcome”. The Property Manager/Owners had complained to law enforcement and law enforcement had begun patrolling the areas to avoid them occupying the corners to solicit help to try and stay alive. I also asked him about some of the suggestions I had made. I specifically asked him about 211.org and whether they were of any help. He told me that he had talked to 211.org and they had given him a list of organizations to talk to to see what can be done. His basic request was simple: Shelter and Food so that he can at least have some reasonable basis to continue on with his life.
We continued on. He noted that every organization he called said that either they were out of space or had limited space. Beyond that, there was not much that can be done. I asked him how he was coming along now that he could not be at his usual corner. He said he tried to go up to the El Toro Area for day laborers. I asked him how that was going and he basically responded with a sigh. He also noted that he tried going on to the temporary area in Laguna Beach. The problem was that he could not get there in time to have a reasonable chance to get work. The soonest he could get there with the bus was around 7 AM. By then, all the spaces would be gone and his chances of getting work will be pretty much gone. He also told that he was out of work since 2008 and had tried everything.
I concluded our conversation by wishing him the best and drove off. As I drove off, I thought about the deliberations in Washington and Sacramento. There is no question that we have to realize that we must live within our means. Anyone who does not get it does not understand the true realities. But, I have to wonderÂ if all those in Washington, who are falling over themselves to show themselves as fiscally responsible, actually understand what is going on in Main Street. Is it asking too much to remember those on Main Street who are struggling?
As I thought about deliberations, I remembered a comment by President Obama while still a candidate. During a visit to our County, he told Pastor Rick Warren about how the question of Abortion was a question beyond his pay grade. I suppose that what I expect from our Government is truly beyond the pay grade. What is clear is that Government has to be there for the truly down and out so that they can help them get out of the predicament they are in. Yet, it seems as if the total lack of regard for the down and out seems to be evident in a major way. I wonder if I expect too much?
Conventional Economic thinking I have reviewed notes that tax cuts are not stimulative. Yet, policymakers seems to be falling all over themselves to cut taxes in order to supposedly stimulate the economy and create a sense of stability and confidence for investments to resume and for hiring to commence. But, the realities are truly different. Yet, we seem to have been fed this fiction of the old way that has not worked will somehow work yet again. The current crop of rising Republican Stars (Christie in New Jersey; Scott in Florida; Walker in Wisconsin; Kasich in Ohio) are on quite a rampage which is quite interesting to observe. I was amazed to see the arrogance of Christie as he spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference. I realize most of these guys want to be President–but they have to somehow realize that there is a function for Government and guys like this young man who has been out of work for almost 3 years must be given help because simply relying on the generosity of corporations and private business cannot simply stand. I wonder if I expect too much.
As I write this, I am listening to a live feed of Al Jazeera English talking about the transformation of what has gone on in the Middle East. I continue to be horrified by the reports right now about the actions by the Government of Bahrain to muzzle dissent. According to Al Jazeera, there are apparently 50 tanks patrolling the Capital, Manama. Their recent program, Empire, had a panel to discuss the transformation. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now noted how crucial the role of a Journalist is in insuring that Governments are held to account. Those of us who have aspired to take this noble path must never be silent and must insure that we give voice to the dispossessed and make sure that they are not forgotten. We must question those who say that they speak for us when in fact they seem to be as disconnected as ever.
It is easy to talk about having an open mind, a positive outlook and a desire to “make your own luck”, but sometimes it is rather rough when the odds are against you.
As I conclude, I continue to struggle with this simple question again: Do I expect too much? I wonder….