Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keeping Things in Perspective

My friend Adam and I had some words on Facebook today. Adam was responding to a comment thread today. This is a bit complicated, but the comment thread was about a different comment thread. That different comment thread was about this column.

The comments themselves are interesting. They're essentially the reason I don't have comments on this blog. The Jared fellow starts off with, "the nut seldom falls that far from the tree," which would be a slander on my dad. If you remember, he worked for local governments for years.

I'm not really out to convince Jared. What he's not aware of is the level of energy he brings to friends of ours that are actually suffering. Adam was one of those folks today that saw this and became stirred. Well, maybe "stirred" is a polite way of saying it...

Adam immediately wrote the following:

My mom is in the teacher's union and being forced to retire. For one, this is the ONLY way she can keep her insurance. And now, at the worst possible time, the company my dad worked for sold off his division. They simply fired everyone as the purchasing company didn't need anymore employees. So basically, my mom and dad will both be searching for work this summer. I can't blame the bad economy on Walker, but I can personally say that if he hadn't come to power my family wouldn't be so bad off. Just love the Republican philosophy that more unemployed poor people will somehow fix the economy.

More later:

My dad work for more than 25 years for the same company, before this current one bought them out. 10 years later, this company basically just sells the customer base and equipment, secretly, and tells the employees they are all fired. 35+ years, and this is the first time my dad has been fired. My mom has worked in the same classroom for most of my adult life. She actually worked there before I was born, but took a few years off to be a stay at home mom until I was old enough to go to school. For the last 25~ish years my mom has worked with "special needs" teenagers, and come home day after day with bruises, black eyes, human bites, and one incredibly tired back. Now, thanks to Walker and the Republicans, if my mom works even one more year she will lose almost all her retirement benefits. That's one big "thank you" from the state that she gave so much to for so little in return.

At times it blows my mind how some people can't see what's happening right around them. I sometimes think if Rush Limbaugh called "water" liberal, people would just sit dumbfounded as their house burned down around them. This whole year has been one of those times.

In a way, this particular series of events today has been instructive. First of all, I guess I sort of forgot that my hometown paper is smack-dab in the middle of Michelle Bachmann's district. We threw one in behind enemy lines last week, and I shouldn't be surprised that some of the readers don't agree. But we also know where our hearts are. In the end, they're with our friends and neighbors.

Adam was a co-worker of mine for nearly 10 years and we know each other very well. The recent happenings in our state have hit Adam's family straight in their chest. It hurts even more to be kicked while you're down, and called lazy, selfish, and every other name in the book. I'm sure Adam's parents did nothing to deserve this treatment. Anonymous folks out there on the internet are free to imply that they're freeloaders, and argue that if Adam supported freedom, he'd agree that his parents need to quit whining.

We know the truth. We know that we need to stick up for each other, and not tear each other down with insults. We know that we may not convince the Jareds of the world, but we sure as hell can lend a hand when our neighbors need help. We need to keep ourselves armed with facts, be willing to question authority, and also be gracious in defeat. We need to smile, time after time, pick ourselves up off the ground, and keep fighting. This is what our grandparents did in their struggle for workers rights. We will carry our momentum forward and take Wisconsin back. We will help not only ourselves, but Jared, and all of our other brothers and sisters struggling to make ends meet. Wisconsin will be ours!