we are facing a crisis today in America that we have seldom seen because of unemployment and poverty. the most perplexing part of this crisis is that our own government and leaders continue to report there is no problem. today too many American individuals and communities continue to face unemployment, poverty and the constant struggle to avoid hunger and homelessness. today in America too many are facing desperation and a feeling of hopelessness for things that just a very short time ago we all took for granted. regardless of the path or broken road individuals may take, the destination is the same. it ends on the road to desperation and hopelessness along with a sense of mistrust when to comes to our government.
Having stumbled into the position of the president of the united states, Barrack Obama spoke of a sense of urgency to repair the economic damage and untold financial losses that the American people had suffered due to decades of damaging and faulty policies. he spoke of transforming America back to the great country we all once knew. he spoke of income inequality, restoring jobs, creating jobs and the economic well being of all americans. he spoke loudly of restoring and bringing back our middle class from the brink of disaster. all of these speeches and all the grand visions he bestowed upon the American people came at a time of unemployment, financial strain and a failing economy this country had not seen since the great depression. So in his speeches, obama offered a sweeping vision for upward mobility, one that brought in the poor, elderly and unemployed on a wish list of possibilities for a future where stability and economic success were once again attainable and achievable. But not entirely through individual effort.
Obama spoke with a broad sense of community, corporate and governmental participation in mind. primary to this was an effective government policy that worked for the recovery and advancement of the middle class that had suffered so greatly during the beginning and height of the recession. Fortunately for the nation, at the time, he understood that a president’s obligation is always to embrace and address the entire social and economic situation before him. And what he saw was a level of damage and inequity that would forever alter and possibly doom our future.
president Obama promised very large dreams and ideals filled with some realistic promises. he protected the unemployed thru the highest unemployment rates in decades. he bailed out large corporations to keep the country from falling deeper into a recession and imminent depression. he halted banks from sliding down that slope to insolvency and ultimately effecting every aspect of our economic existence in this country. some of his policies and laws relied on a trusted partnership, however forced, between government, corporations, banks and individuals. some of the laws and polices he instituted were so broad that it offended those whose main concern is with individual rights and freedoms with low federal government interference on a state and local level. as the recession progressed and relief was slow in reaching those at the bottom of the income brackets and those who continued to be unemployed, the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" groups began their much too familiar chorus that the government had now reached the level of enabling the poor and unemployed. and today that is where we stand in America....on much too familiar ground....with each side arguing over the best way to help the homeless, the poor, the hungry and the long term unemployed. which, by the way, often are one and the same.
today in America we have to decide and determine whether or not we build a country where progress is still geared toward the American people or a society where old values, old visions, stigmas and stereotypes bury the vision and the need of individuals. we have the opportunity to move forward and repair the damage that the decades of careless economic decisions, detrimental trade agreements and disregard by our lawmakers have inflicted on the working and middle class American. but that window of opportunity is fast closing. it will, however, take more than just the actions and spending of the federal government.
this year...election year....we have to ask ourselves why we have missed the goals and promises that Obama made during his run for the presidency. today we must ask ourselves why our congressmen and senators have failed so greatly in their task to serve their constituents even on a basic level. today we must ask ourselves why a congress that is elected to serve and protect the best interests of the American people have continued to inflict damage on those very same people by cutting social safety net programs, failing to act on an unemployment extension, failing to address 11.5 immigrants, and letting our educational system continue to fail our next generation. they do this while our jobs continue to flow out of the country and corporate profits are at an all time high.
the continuing existence of massive poverty, the ever growing presence of hunger and homelessness, continued high unemployment with very little new job creation continues to negate the claims that the economy is recovering and we have turned the corner. some 46 million Americans live in households where the government considers their income below the poverty line, roughly 1 million people are homeless in this country, the unemployed now number app.11 million.. that's only the official number, some estimate it to be as high as 20 million people. the national debt, expensive involvement in other countries around the world, and the slow progress of innovation and technology and industrial development have decimated a once world class manufacturing sector and practically eliminated our once envied middle class wage earners. For all the “welfare queen” and food stamp debates and other programs associated with public assistance to the poor, the idea of being low-income without a job is often more associated these days with corporate white collar or blue collar workers who have seen their industries decimated by foreign competition and the willingness of our corporate leaders to ship our jobs overseas at the expense of these workers ability to make a living and survive economically.
the homeless, the poor, the hungry and the long term unemployed are still with us. the gaps between these groups have narrowed significantly and now overlap. no longer are the homeless considered to be only the mentally ill or highly addicted. the economy is still teetering on the edge of prosperity or another dip into recession. too many American jobs were lost due to what our leaders call global competition. global competition is a phrase used to veil the intentional acts of corporations to allow our jobs to be exported overseas for the sake of a higher profit at the expense of us all. we have come to accept this a new normal and that allows the corporations to continue to carry out this destructive business plan. today's largest employer is walmart with a significantly lower average wage than general motors, who was our largest employer in 2008. many of the jobs created since 2008 have been low paying service jobs that do not guarantee 40 hours a week. there is still a huge net job loss since the recession began.
when Obama was running for president no doubt millions were inspired by his political rhetoric and promises. when the current congress and senate were elected no doubt millions were inspired by their promises, loud speeches about income inequality, unemployment and the return of the American dream of prosperity and security. today that rhetoric and those speeches ring empty. they echo off the walls of the bridges the homeless sleep under at nite. those words ring in the halls of the food pantries striving to serve the needs of the hungry. they echo in the ears and the minds of those unable to find work, not because of lack of effort, but because of lack of opportunity and available jobs. the visions of Obama and the politicians during elections weren't too large or too distant to fulfill. their promises weren't too challenging to achieve. their ultimate effort on these promises, visions and challenges were just too weak, short sided and lacked the will and effort to make good on.
now...on november 4th....it's time to hold the president, congress and senate accountable for the promises and words they spoke when trying to win our votes. it's time for them to make good on those promises. this year, election year, you can choose to accept the status quo or you can demand and make change. it's too bad we have accepted it for this long. it would be worse if we accept it again. make no mistake...it is obama's policies and direction that he has led the country that is at stake in this election. please do not vote for someone based on what they tell you they stand for. research their record, look at their voting records, then you tell them what they stand for. I seldom quote bill Clinton unless i'm making a joke. but now, more than ever we all need to keep in mind....it's the economy stupid. remind them in November just how true that is. remind them in november that we as voters still maintain control over the direction of this country. it is our duty as citizens to vote and let our desire and hope for this country be known. it is our responsibility not only as patriots but as fathers, mothers, daughters and sons to set our countries direction and ensure that our leaders are just that...our leaders...and not politicians spouting empty words and promises for the sake of a thirty second news clip on television. it's time for a change...not in our system...not in our government....but in our sense of voting being a responsibility.
our founding fathers did have great foresight and anticipated many of the complexities and problems and challenges that our nation would face as a free, democratic society. what they did not anticipate or imagine was a country filled with complacent citizens who failed to exercise their constitutional and guaranteed right to vote and elect their leaders. today, in a world of twitter revolutionaries, an internet full of small groups of people calling for upheaval and the downfall of the government...the vote is still the most potent, most powerful and the swiftest form of change that we have.
n November...change this country. indeed....vote like you own it....because you do.
see you around town