Started this post last night:
I’m avoiding doing my homework because, well, it’s homework and I don’t wanna. Also, I made some chili earlier and cut up some kind of hot pepper from our CSA box to put in it. As you’re probably aware, the oils from hot peppers stay on your hands for awhile and I was, uh, digitally adjusting…something in my nostril. Now that delicate membrane is all burny and, according to the internet, vegetable oil will cut that spiciness.
So, I’m here trying not to dwell on the fact that I hurt myself picking my nose and don’t want to do my homework. I’m a grownup, dammit.
I’m actually being very academic this week. On Friday, I’m going to a lecture with Scot Brown about funk music from Dayton, OH.
Ahem. Where I was going with that is I went to a lecture by Steven Greenhouse yesterday evening. Greenhouse is the labor reporter for the NYT and wrote a book called The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker. It was a very timely lecture, considering all that’s been going on in the past week.
I will state right now that I could probably be accused of a bias. My dad’s been a postal worker for forty years and has always been a union member. Unions are good, not just for blue collar workers but for all workers, and contrary to what I hear most people my age and younger saying, they are definitely still needed nowadays.
While I have gripes with my job, just like anyone, I realize that I am pretty lucky. I have guaranteed paid time off days, good insurance, excellent job security and it’s paying for me to get my master’s. But it’s really mind-boggling to think of myself as lucky. Aside from the possible exception of tuition benefits, time off and insurance should not fall under the category of luxuries. But they do for millions of Americans.
As Greenhouse spoke last night, he would expound on a point and would make projections about what he thought would need to happen in order for American workers, blue and white collar, to have more rights and not get screwed over so much, and then would apologize for moralizing. But it is a moral issue.
I am not an economist. I am fascinated by economics and took a few classes in college whenever I could, but I will be the first to own up to the fact that I will never fully understand how we keep this machine running. But I think on a very basic level we have people who want money and things and power and then there are people who just want to live a decent life and not get stepped on. And, yeah, I think there’s something severely messed up with the moral compasses of people who will stop at nothing to get more.
Greenhouse said that as preposterous as the Wall Street bailout sounds to those of us who will pay for it, he believed that it was necessary in order to avoid a tremendous collapse. I think he’s probably right. So I’ll hand over my share. But, I think we should be honest about what it is. It’s welfare. It’s cash assistance. And you know that I believe in welfare.
So now that the richest among us are receiving it with the full support of the government, I demand that no broke person be given shit for the pittance that they receive. The next time that I pay for groceries with an EBT card, don’t glance at my selections and judge my character. The next time that I go into the hospital and have a baby and use my Medicaid, don’t bitch about “paying for my mistakes.” Don’t get all indignant about your tax dollars and don’t gripe about the irresponsible behavior of “those people.” Because what we’re seeing on Wall Street is the ultimate in irresponsible behavior and it’s not just fucking with the lives of one person or one family, it’s fucking all of us. We’ll pay for it. We’ll fix it because that’s what we need to do. Now hopefully that minuscule percentage of your tax dollar that goes toward social services won’t seem so outrageous. Because it isn’t.
And now back to our regularly scheduled pictures of not-jizz and innuendo-laden homework.