Hello lovely people~
Today I'm interrupting my (semi) regular blog posts to put my thoughts out there on the current state of affairs here the U.S.A. I am not a political commentator. I don't write political theses or spend hours pouring over newscasts and internet news sites looking for the most recent news. But I read. And I listen. And I observe. And right now, my observations frankly scare me. This is not a normal post for me, and next week I'll go back to my usual ramblings about life and writing and miscellany.
But today...today is political.
Let's start with the economy. Our economy sucks. We're in a recession, and part of the problem is people living outside their means can no longer sustain their lifestyles. Banks are Big Business, folks. I know. I work for one in the collections department for one of their many credit card divisions. Banks are not out there to be nice to people - they're out there to make money. They WANT you to use their credit cards, take out loans, have more than one mortgage. That's part of what caused this issue in the first place. A lot of people made some risky and ill-informed decisions, the banks supported them, and now no one has any money.
I keep hearing these reports on NPR and reading through various media outlets online that the economy "is improving". Really? Where? Certainly not around here, where jobs are at a premium and there are thousands of people out of work. Why don't we know more about these people? Because some - like Himself - are ineligible for unemployment benefits either because they were self-employed, were small business owners who went bust, or (again, like Himself) are screwed out of unemployment because of legal loopholes. Something that shouldn't be a newsflash...employers don't WANT to pay their laid off employees unemployment. That's right, folks. Unemployment comes from unemployment insurance purchased by companies and they will do ANYTHING to cut costs. And if you're self-employed or a small business owner, chances are you don't have unemployment insurance to begin with so if you go bust you're screwed.
Something else I'd like to do is challenge those in power - the President, those Senators and Representatives who sit on their asses and moan about how bad things are but won't do anything, politicians and the 1%-ers in general, actually - I'd like to challenge them to live like we do. Live from paycheck to paycheck, never knowing if they're going to have enough to buy gas and food, not being able to cover medical expenses because even with insurance it's too damned expensive. Let's see THEM live like this for a year. Let's see THEM get told "fuck off, we're not going to help you lazy people" when they try to get help to cover their expenses. Let's see those billionaires and millionaires who refuse to pay equal taxes to the rest of us, let's see them lose their money and live like the rest of us for a while. I bet things would change rapidly if we got past the "it's not me so why should I care" mentality they seem to have.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe that those in power should be paid well for their work - assuming they actually work FOR the people and not for themselves. I don't believe that corporations should have any say in how laws are written. In fact, I feel that lobbyists and those who spend all their time paying for a Senator's vote are parasitical leeches and need to be excised from our government. I also don't think the government should be on the payroll of big businesses regardless of how much money is "donated" to them. Let's be honest here, folks. Those aren't donations. They're buying preferential treatment.
We spend so much money on foreign policy, where we go in with military force and try to establish our way of thinking on other nations, that we're cutting spending to families, the elderly, education. Veterans are coming home from these wars and are being told that they now could risk being evicted, losing their homes, etc. because no one is hiring. People who should be retired are being forced back into a workplace that doesn't want them just to survive. People can't live on their pensions and Social Security anymore. The cost of living is too high and the benefits that so many people rely on keep being cut back.
Another thing I find hard to accept is how much we pay the President, the Senators, and the Representatives AFTER they're out of office. Pay them while their in office. All well and good. But STOP giving them the benefits once they're out of office. They're not working for the people anymore, if they ever were to begin with. Make them get jobs, pay for their own insurance, take care of their own expenses without relying on tax payer money to subsidize them. In short, treat them like the rest of us. No one gives regular people a break on anything. Once they're out of office, they're regular people again. Make them live that way.
Another sore point with me is education. Our teachers are paid substandard wages, expected to maintain discipline over 30+ students, expected to teach with sometimes outdated materials, and suddenly we're supposed to be a well educated country? When so many children get through HIGH SCHOOL without being able to do simple math or English? When hearing someone ask "Oh, where's that?" about a state in the U.S. isn't shocking...when they're asking as an adult? I've had adults who asked me in all seriousness "Is Idaho in Canada?" What the fuck? How the hell do you get to be 20+ years old and not at least have a vague idea of the country you live in?
And higher education costs are going up, while loans and grants are going down. It's getting to the point where only the wealthy can go to college. How does that help the job market? I don't have a college degree. I can't afford to go to school to get one. Himself doesn't have a degree either, although he's desperately trying to get loans and grants so he can go. We can't afford anything out of pocket for him if his applications are denied. Yet people are telling the both of us they won't hire us because we don't have that stupid piece of paper that says we spent tens of thousands of dollars to get an education. Honey, I've got more life experience and more job experience than some of those college graduates do. Yet I'm passed over time and time again for jobs, promotions, etc. because I don't have that piece of paper.
Another hot button these days is gay marriage. Honestly, WHO GIVES A FUCK? Give them equal rights under the law and let them get married. Marriage should be between those who love each other, not strictly defined as being between a man and a woman. Domestic partnerships are recognized in some states, and those can be between same sex pairings or a man and a woman. If we recognize domestic partnerships as being allowable for all genders, then why not marriage? Let a same sex couple cover each other on their insurance. Let them adopt. There are tons of children in this country going without a decent home life because "normal families" can't be found. Who defines a normal family anyway? Personally I believe a "normal" family is parents who love their children - whether or not those parents are both men, both women, or a man and a woman. Or even a single man or a single woman. No one should have the right to say that a person is an unfit parent unless that parent is seriously causing harm to a child. And no, seeing a gay/lesbian/bi/transgender person or persons together does NOT constitute causing harm to a child.
Legalization of marijuana - I don't use it. I've tried it twice in my life and will never touch the stuff again. I didn't care for the feeling I got from it. But for heaven's sake, people, legalize the shit and tax the hell out of it like you do cigarettes. Put an age restriction on it like you do alcohol and cigarettes. At least marijuana is less detrimental to the body than alcohol is. (Yes, I know all of the propaganda out there. Believe me, I wouldn't be making these statement if I hadn't done the research.)
This fall, I have to pick between two politicians I neither trust nor want to see as leader of this country when it comes to the Presidential election. I did that four years ago. I voted for Obama. Not because I thought Obama would be an awesome president - because I didn't - but because I didn't trust McCain to do the job. Now I have to choose between Obama and Romney, and while Romney will never get my vote I'm not sure I want to vote for Obama again either. But I will do what I can with my vote to keep Romney out of office. That man scares me more than McCain and Palin did combined. He'd set this country back 50 years, destroy the rights that we women have fought for, and do it all in the name of "good Christian values". Fuck off. I'm NOT a "good Christian woman". I don't want your values imposed on my life. There are many in this country who are not Christian. Whatever happened to religious freedom and the rights of those of us who live here to worship as we desire, so long as we don't kill people?
I won't voice my opinion on the abortion debate. I just won't.
I am neither Republican nor am I a Democrat. I am a U.S. citizen and a woman who demands fair and equal treatment. I do NOT want men telling me I can't take birth control because it's "immoral" when I use it to keep me from dying every month from the cramps caused by my menstrual cycle. I also don't want politicians telling my friends who do not want/are not in a financial position to afford/are at risk with their health so a pregnancy would be a BAD IDEA that they can't take birth control. Don't tell us we can't possibly know what is good for our bodies. We know them better than anyone because we live in them.
To sum this up - our economy is shit, I want fair taxation for all people and no exclusions, legalize gay marriage and marijuana, and for the love of little green apples stop fucking up our nation. We used to be great. We can be great again. But only if we destroy party lines, work together, and push past the blockage that happened when politicians lost sight of the "government by the people and FOR THE PEOPLE" and started looking at it as "government by the rich to screw the poor".