economic crisis

The State of Our Union

I recorded President Obama’s speech last night. I did watch it, but knew from his previous speeches this one would be invigorating enough  to watch again.

With the economy as it is, day to day routines are clouded in uncertainty. How do you go to sleep at night and rise refreshed when your dreams are haunted by dollar signs floating out of reach before your eyes? Your children are asleep in the next room and you wonder how they’ll handle the sudden move when you lose your house. Or you know they’re hungry because money is so scarce that meals have gone lean. You try to sleep because you want to look respectable in the morning – at least enough so to be taken seriously when you go searching, yet again, for work.

I am safe for the moment. As are my friends and the rest of my family. But, I listened to the President speak and understand how much longer it takes to rebuild than to demolish. I understand community service and I get spreading hope, helping yourself, rising to the occasion and helping others. I get it. When my confidence falters, I will replay last night’s speech and feel it lift my spirits again.

But what about the kids in the next room of the house that might not be theirs in the morning? How do you spread hope to them? To their parents? How do you help when what they need is so much more than what you can give? They can’t wait for a stimulus to take effect. They need help now. Tomorrow, before breakfast. Or breakfast might not be served.

The saddest part of all this, I think, is that there have been people in this country struggling, worrying about their children and their next meal since well before the economic crisis. They’re called America’s Poor. They hurt, they hope and they dream just like the rest of us and yet somehow, it wasn’t until the diseased economy hit the masses that it was addressed in such an urgent way.

While we try to pick ourselves up, give back and fight to keep our jobs and our homes, I can only hope some of the daily gifts we have – like a DVR to record the president’s speech live on cable news, from a 32″ TV screen in the living room of my own gas-heated home with lights on and a late night snack in my hand – are no longer taken for granted but are appreciated as hard-earned and easily lost. I hope when we, as a country, can finally stand on our feet and brush off our knees, we remember how hard it was and that some of us… maybe even the same ‘some’ from before… are still worried about how to silence the grumbling from deep within our children’s stomachs.

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