All week, it seemed more and more people became victims of employers’ attempts to cut costs. I met more than a few that were laid off or fired just so that someone new, someone accepting a lot less in pay, could take their place.
At the same time, I read somewhere that public assistance rolls are not growing, despite the very obvious growing need of some sort of income coming in for millions of people. Add that to the fact that there are no unemployment extensions or stimulus checks and you have ever more people suddenly cut off. What are people doing? Well, some single mothers are moving in with men in hopes that their children will be cared for. In many instances, that means walking into an abusive, ugly situation.
While all this is going on in the background, mostly out of sight, others wonder how and why some can keep going like everything is just fine. My answer to that one is simple: The only other choice is to be negative, angry and defeated, all of which make a bad situation that much worse.
Others contemplate new ways to fight upward on the path to economic recovery. One latches onto the promise of an online presence through social networking. Another hopes the truck load of motorcycle parts he just bought will be enough to put together an end product to sell. Still another hopes to sell a house for enough to pay off the mortgage.
What has me perplexed is the greater and greater distance between real people and the government. It seems that politicians have no clue whatsoever about the reality the majority of people live day to day. What good is a revamped health care system, for instance, if the first ones consulted were the insurance and drug companies? Unless the majority of people get to the point where they are actually able to pay utility bills and have enough left over to buy clothes again, the economy will never recover. Never. Since the rest of the world is in the same boat, there is no market anywhere to warrant an increase in production. Tax breaks to hire are meaningless. More and more earning minimum wage only cuts off the nose to spite the face. Someone, somewhere will figure out how to make a gigantic killing off this mess. Apparently, it hasn’t happened yet.
How are people changing? The “Me” attitude seems to be growing. More are isolated. More are hopeless and defeated. Even more rally together in times of extreme crises, giving it all until they drop in their tracks. It’s time and elbow grease willingly given instead of the few dollars pulled out of a wallet and thrown into a pot. Help given is real again, and far more meaningful – to both the giver and the receiver.
As the economic crisis continues, I project that more and more of our true human attributes will resurface. The impersonal will decrease along with the distance of superficial, casual acquaintances. Interactions will become more meaningful and valued. Empathy and altruism will replace judgmentalism and self-absorption.
Like the beautiful sunset at the end of a gorgeous day, the world will come to an end. No big bang. No destruction. No fanfare. The choice is plain: Grow with the world - or grow against it. One is life; the latter is death.