As a child my dad would scoop me up in his his arms and throw me into the air before catching me. I learned that scary can sometimes be fun and that in the end he was always there with a safe place to land. Whether it was helping a teenager with a flat tire on the side of the road or newlyweds wanting to move back home to save money for their own house, dad was always there, he was the safe place where we were always welcome.
Some time around 9 years old my dad and I had a serious talk. He made it clear that he never wanted to hear of me starting a fight or picking on someone. Hitting someone in anger wasn’t how we did things. However, he made it very clear that if someone was picking on my little brother that all bets were off. He was fiercely proud of his family and I learned from him that we safeguard and protect them.
I found the list of topics for today’s assignment daunting. Nothing was really resonating with me, and then I opened Facebook this morning and found an update from an old friend.
“I’ve been mulling over my thoughts in silence the last couple of hours, trying to nail down my feelings. Shame? Embarrassment? Humiliation? Then it hit me: anger. Pure anger. No one who works a full time job should have to go to the food bank to feed their family. What is wrong with this country?”
This week my friend had to decide between laundry soap or fruit. She owns no car, has no cable TV, has good credit, rents her house and is struggling to raise her high school aged son. She works full time at a university bookstore, doesn’t drink or smoke, doesn’t use drugs… and yet she struggles to survive.
In the U.S. we are at the start of what will no doubt be a very long election cycle. Later today I plan on sending a portion of my friend’s post in identical letters to our candidates, asking how exactly they can help. My friend is not alone, she’s one of the millions of working poor in this country, where basic needs aren’t being met, where their lives and future is uncertain. And I want to know what our presidential candidates are going to do about it.
I know someone for a brief second thought it was some miracle diet. Oh yeah right like that would happen. Not on my watch sister! No we will just have to live with our bellies and curves the way nature intended. What I got rid of this week was what nature NEVER intended, my conspicuous over-consumption, my tribute to consumerhood, the whole lot of crap piling up at my house.