Monday, May 05, 2008
Hope Against HopeI'm not a person immune to hope, even though at times I wonder how our nation will recover from the last 7 years of neglect and poor decisions made by those in the White House, and rubber-stamped by those Republicans and sometimes Democrats in Congress. There are days when hope seems so far away. You only need to look at the news headlines of terrible storms, whether they are tornados in the Midwest, or cyclones in Mayanmar, it is clear that we are living in a time when the environment has become dangerous to human life, and it seems to worsen with each passing day. How can you begin to hope for a solution to a problem of this magnitude, when you know in your heart that the scales have tipped, the ice is melting, and if we are not at some point of no return, we are very close to it.
The price of oil continues to rise, and while the tight supply of oil may help to reduce the dangerous emission that are wreaking havok on our weather conditions, we face the problem of living in a world that still depends on oil to provide basic transport for food and trade. We live in a country that demands that our poorest citizens depend on oil to bring them to work. I can ride my bike to work, or even walk, and still get there on time, but the people who really do the work, can't afford the housing in my neigborhood, and must drive. For the ease of the consumers in my neighborhood, we open our store at 8 am. Many of my workers don't have the option of catching a bus at 5am, many of the busses don't begin until 6, and when they need to go home at 10:00 pm, if they miss that first bus, they have to walk to catch the Metro. On weekends, the last bus to the metro ends at 8:00 pm, so I have to schedule those workers who catch the bus to leave before the store is closed. Commuting for workers who don't have a car could take as long as 2 hours each way, and if you have to pay a babysitter for those extra hours, it could amount to just as much as the extra money they are paying for gas now. I know that suspending the gas tax will not really help my workers. I know that there is no easy way out of the problems that face the world today. I know that there is no money for health care, and that there is no money for education. Because I'm better at math than most girls, I also know that there is no money for war. We are facing some really tough times and we must make tough decisions. If making gas more affordable for workers is not viable, then we must figure out another way to get them to work, by making the busses run earlier and later, because if we don't, nobody is coming to work, and I'll be damned if I'm getting up at 4 am to do the work of ten employees, shit I'm a paper pusher, I can't even do the work of two of them. So when you all try to buy your tuna fish salad at 8:00, you're going to have to come back at 11, because it won't be there.
I want this country to confront the very serious issues that face our nation, and our planet. But I worry that Democrats have signed onto this idea of hope without understanding the very difficult choices we face. I wonder if Democrats will pull a lever in the voting booth in November, believing that change has been accomplished with just a vote. The kind of change that we need will take all sorts of sacrifice, and I think it's irresponsible for Barak Obama to promise it, without telling us how American workers are going to find transportation when gas goes to 5.00 dollars a gallon. Okay, dismiss the 30 dollar savings that my workers will get with the McCain/Clinton gas tax cut, but tell us how you are going to relieve the pain that the poorest Americans feel, how will you get them to work on time? These Americans are the very piston that drives the economy of our nation, without them, those crappy jobs will fall on those of us who can get to work.
Hillary Clinton has a bad plan for getting Americans to work. But at least she has one.
Where's Barak Obama's plan?
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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