My parents were young people during the Great Depression. While my maternal grandparents had owned the town grocery store and a large rooming house, complete with “hired-girls” to help, they were now relegated to living with their children, in a miner’s shack. It had a dirt floor and whatever they could find to stuff into the cracks in the walls.
I believe the World War II may have been the relief our nation found to overcome the abject poverty the Depression visited on our world.
Times were so tough back then that the president created many work programs to put men back to work. President Franklin Roosevelt, in fact, directed the railroads to allow out-of-work men to ride the rails (empty box cars) as they traveled in search of a job--any job!
One of our now deceased friends, Hank Myers, told how he had met his wife, Betty, after traveling west on one of these trains. He brought her back to Michigan where they raised a family and grew old together. (Several of Betty’s sisters married in the same way she did and, until they died in their 80’s, they sent letters and family pictures around the U.S. in large manila envelopes to one another, each adding to the envelope as it made the rounds and subtracting from it as it arrived back at their homes.)
It appears this “down time” eventually gave way to where we are today. During the in-between time of then and now, this up-and-down movement of boom-and-bust has become typical of world growth. Now dependant on one another, the countries of the globe all seem to have traveled this same road. One country is NOT independent! We all must care for the others, supplying whatever it is we make, exchanging goods of all kinds...sharing the load.
For much of the world, it would seem, we are now at one of the times when more jobs are available for those who want to work. However, it becomes more obvious than ever that the “haves” (those millionaire/billionaires) are in control of things, many wasting their money on week- long parties where pretty much anything goes, while the majority of workers who make much less, keep the machinery going that does the hard work.
This became more clear to me when I went looking for a part-time job, where the starting wage was $7.25 an hour. And there are plenty of these jobs available.
How, one is left to wonder, does one subsist on this kind of income--even if both dad and mom, and often some of the kids--are pulling in this enormous sum?
I would like to propose that anyone running for higher office live on these wages for a month.
No one else would be around to wash their undies and fix their meals while putting in eight-to-10 hours a day on the job, then coming home to help the kids with their school work before going out to mow the lawn, and coming in to sweep and mop. Then, MAYBE they would begin to understand how so many of us live! Still...
Most of us are loyal Americans, loyal family members, often attending religious services who still believe in America and the American way.
Then, perhaps then, those privileged few at the top would realize how really GREAT America is (not how to make America great...again) because, in my book/opinion, it has always been the country of many people’s dreams.
There has to be some reason so many people are willing to die to become an American, doing anything to get here. Many, besides me, must believe God has blessed America. Many, besides me, will always stand when the flag comes into view. Do the millionaire/billionaires still do that? It’s not like they’d lose their seat if they stood up. After all, it was probably paid for by many of the dollars those of us contribute to the cause of seeing America stay the great country it already is!
(Columnist Faye Harris may b e reached at Fayeharris77@yahoo.com.)