Yesterday I attended “Lifeline to Valley Workers” that the UAW put on at the Chevrolet Center. There were many agencies, organizations and colleges providing information and resources for individuals in need of assistance. I went for a couple of hours to help at the Mahoning Watershed Time Bank booth. I believe this organization could really help build community and that’s why I belong to it. I encourage you to join and you can find out more about it by clicking on Time Bank under the Mahoning Valley Links on my blog.
While at the Chevy Center I had the opportunity to talk to some people who have been out of work for some time and are really struggling. One man that stopped to chat had three children he worried about as he has been unemployed for quite a while and has used up his nest egg. Another young man admitted he screwed up his life by commiting a felony. He had completed some electrical classes but said no one would employ him because he has a felony. He said, “ I am going to go do volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity as maybe they can use some of the electrical skills I have learned. ” To me that sounded like a young guy who was not afraid to admit he had messed up his life and now wanted to at least give back.
Another older man talked about losing his job and having difficulty getting another job at his age. A retired GM Lordstown employee told us he was lucky to have retired with a good pension and health care after over 30 years at GM. Because he felt lucky he drove all the way down from his home in Ashtabula County because he was proud his UAW union was putting on this event to help others not as lucky as he had been. It was sad to hear so many stories of folks having a hard time in the job market. On the other hand it was nice so see so many organizations willing to help those in need.
While in downtown Youngstown I passed demonstrators for the TEA Bag protest. I find it interesting to note some of the signs I have seen on the news at these events across the country. I can agree with one I saw about ending the NAFTA trade agreement but not any others. While I noted what the UAW was doing to help people at the Chevrolet Center I see signs at some of yesterdays rallies trashing unions. I would ask those sign holders what it is they have done to help those who are unemployed.
The Rally in Warren Ohio had a doctor speak about health care. This is a doctor who writes right-wing letters to the area newspapers against socializing medicine. He loves to distort facts about the Canadian Heath care system. Bottom line doc is that in a new, bi-national opinion poll done by Canada’s CTV television network and the national newspaper Globe & Mail, 91 percent of Canadians said they preferred their national health care system over America’s private system.
I noted in the Warren Tribune that WKBN’s Dan Rivers came to give a talk bashing illegal immigrants. This while the “Real Americans” in attendance waved small U.S. flags made in China. One photo in the Tribune shows a “Real American” senior citizen in a jacket of Italian colors with the map of Italy on it. As he listened to River’s speech I wonder if he thought about how if this was a hundred years ago someone would be trashing Italian immigrants calling them WOPS (With out Papers)? I think the “Obama’s Plan White Slavery” sign at the Madison Wisconsin event was the most honest because it showed the racism that was at the heart of many of those at these events.
I ponder where these “Tea braggers” were when Bush was throwing money at war profiteers with billions in cost overruns. Sad news is former politicians turned corporate lobbyists like Dick Armey and Fox News were behind these rallies. Armey gets all manner of corporate welfare for his corporate clients then wants citizens to be outraged at the nation being in debt. Dick and Fox are ringmasters and they got clowns from around the country to attend a circus. The circus included “elephants” like Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Rush Limbaugh had stated the turn out might not be large as most of the people who would like to attend are real Americans who work. I thought that was an odd comment from a guy who works at a three hours radio program five days a week. I guess those heavy fifteen hour weeks are what lead to Rush’s drug problem.
CNN featured this humorous exchange between a reporter and Tea Bag participant holding a sign saying Obama is a fascist: Reporter: Why do you call president Obama a fascist?” Sign holder: “Because he is one.” Reporter: But why do you say that?” Sign holder: “Because he is.” Reporter: “Ok, sir, why do you say he’s a fascist? Why are you calling him a fascist?” Sign holder: “Because he is.” Doesn’t this tell you all you really need to know about the clowns who came to this circus?
Today I am thinking about those I met at the Chevy Center who would happily pay taxes if they only had a job. I contrast them to the whiners standing on street corners waving tea bags to protest paying taxes. Texas Gov. Perry said Texas pays so much federal taxes they should think about seceding from the United States. Texas gets back 88% of every federal dollar they send the federal government where a state like Minnesota gets 44%. I’d say that makes Texas a welfare queen we can no longer support.
I have mentioned before that I work with autistic children. The pay is not very rewarding but the kids and the people I work with make the job rewarding. Today I got this from a parent of an autistic child I am friends with that really had me thinking: Autism Violence
I’ve met many parents of autistic children that worry about the quality of life their child will have as an adult. I’ve visited prison and talked to men who are sorry for what they have done and hope their children don’t take the same wrong paths. I’ve seen people fired from their jobs because they were getting up in age and costing their employer more on the health care plan. I’ve seen veterans return home wounded and not getting proper care. I am seeing homeless people and unemployed people barely holding on to their homes. I see people struggling to feed their kids. I see all manner of people with their backs bent over suffering from the undeserved baggage of life. On the other hand I see tea bags being waved by pinheads manipulated by corporate interests like the Heritage Foundation, Fox News, lobbyists and right-wing politicians. Sorry tea baggers I have no time for your circus tent, as it doesn’t represent the real canvas of life.
A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election~ Bill Vaughan