This week is about unemployment – something in which I have some experience. I am not unemployed, but I am self-employed, or rather, an independent contractor, and have been for years. My husband, however, has been unemployed since 2007 and has never found a job since. Oh, he’s tried and he has had interviews, but you see, age discrimination is alive and well in our country. He is 60 years old, and according to society has no value in the work place.
He was greatly respected in his field at one time, and was in demand because of his knowledge and expertise, but when he lost his job some seven years ago, his performance had not been up to par nor did it meet expectations. Understand that this was not due to a lack of work ethic or experience, but because he was going through some unknown medical issue that was being tested. He took leave, but returned to work before his physician cleared him for fear of losing his job. One month later, just as the long awaited referrals to specialists were finally coming in, he had his first negative job evaluation and was fired for low performance. In one fell swoop, we lost a substantial income and our insurance coverage.
I am not writing this concerning health care – that is another blog in and of itself. I am addressing what follows – a Facebook meme that is going around:
Republicans Again Block Help for Long-Term Unemployed:
A bill to revive benefits for the long-term unemployed was
blocked on Thursday by Senate Republicans. The proposed
three-month extension of the jobless-aid program, which
expired Dec. 28, was supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders and
all of the other members of the Democratic caucus. Only four
Republican senators supported the measure. One more vote
would have provided the 60 needed under Senate rules to
advance the bill. Since Christmas, unemployment benefits
have now expired for 1.6 million Americans out of work for
longer than 26 weeks. Unless Congress acts, the same fate
awaits another 1.6 million people nationwide during the
first half of 2014.
This announcement came from Senator Bernie Sanders’ office. What astounds me is that these people can make such decisions that affect and devastate American lives while they enjoy the luxury of quality lives. My husband’s unemployment ended many years ago, and I have been the breadwinner. Because of the nature of my career, my body will not allow me to work at what my training brings, and I was forced to close my massage practice. Now, I work as an independent contractor for a well-being center that services people with emotional and mental disabilities, but that is only two days a week.
My family went from a six figure income to just above poverty level. Oh, we get by very well because we had and continue to have very little debt, but it has been devastating. What is so outrageous to me is that women are bearing the brunt of this tragedy in our country. We fight to keep our rights for equal pay and equal treatment. We fight to keep medical care at clinics like Planned Parenthood. While the conservatives in Washington and throughout our nation continue to defund clinics such as these in the name of pro-life, what is happening is that they are exhibiting anti-life by denying aid and assistance to those that most desperately need it.
I write this blog this week as a call out and challenge to all of you who are reading this. Make your voice known and heard. Remember what our country was built upon. Remember the opening words of the Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a
more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic
Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty
to ourselves and our Posterity. . .
“Domestic tranquility, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity . . . ” I don’t know about you, but I do not believe that denying aid and assistance to people in need is upholding our constitution. I do believe in self-responsibility and accountability, but when the actions of those that we elected hinder our own people from the opportunity to enjoy life, then it is time to call out those men and women to do what is right – not what will win the next election. It is after all – We the People!