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.

9 Responses to The State of Our Union

  • America’s poor have been ignored for far to long. They have been categorised as “lazy”. Money became much more important than people, and that is so wrong.

  • Debbie,
    Obama knows about the challenges many face. One of my closest friends is taking on her son’s mortage so that it doesn’t go into foreclosure, and she is doing this on her teacher’s salary.
    My husband, a CPA, comes home almost every day with a client’s tough financial situation. Last night he told me about a medical doctor who said he had bought “too much house” and sold it at a loss and moved into a condo they owned as rental income. It turned out the condo is built by land owned (not by the condo association) by an investor who has the right to tear the units down in twenty years. Those who own there will have nothing.

  • futiledemocracy,
    Thanks for visiting my blog!
    You are so right about how America’s poor has been categorized. I only hope with our job security at risk – and for some non-existent – more of us will keep these people in mind and fight as hard for them as for the middle class.

  • Kathleen,
    What a horrible story! Is that even legal?

  • Debbie-
    In CA many houses or condos people buy are sitting on leased land and they pay a rental fee to the owner of the land. It sucks but it’s legal.
    It’s scary how bad it is all over. Many of the people who made lots of money when times were good have nothing now. And like you so eloquently put it, many who had nothing have less than that now. Great post.

  • It annoys me when I hear people criticizing what Obama is doing because he is trying to dig us out of a deep hole someone else got us into. Will it work? I hope so but even it doesn’t, at least he is trying to fix the problem, which is more than his predecessor did. Not to mention, he’s taking into consideration the people he represents…again, way more than his predecessor did.

  • Beth,
    I’m amazed that something like you describe is legal. I mean, paying a rental fee on the land is fine but if the owner decides to sell or have something else built on the property… wouldn’t s/he have to buy out the homeowners first? I’m puzzled by this whole thing.

  • Laura,
    You’re right, and Obama himself said it when he said he’s not trying to look back just trying to see what got us into this mess so we don’t get into it again. Pure logic. The emotions on both sides are still so hot, though, so it makes sense that opinions on Obama’s plan will be skewed. That’s why Rush Limbaugh’s comment that he hopes Obama fails was met with applause by some and jeers by others. This country is still deeply divided though, judging by the response Obama received from BOTH sides during his speech, there’s more consensus now than before. Let’s hope the trend continues.

  • I’m not sure how that part works out but I do know that my best friend Mrs. Smith’s mother bought a condo on leased land. Later the owner sold the land and the homeowners were able to buy the land their condo’s on. My cousin and her husband are looking at a condo that is also on leased land. The lease is usually for a specified number of years. I don’t know exactly what happens when the lease runs out or if the owner of the land wants to develope something else. I imagine they would have to buy out the homeowners at market value, otherwise why would anyone buy on leased land.

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