The flood of Hurricane Issac and who is the working class today?

I received an intriguing letter asking for some input.  Unfortunately the letter itself provides all the input I could offer as you can see from my response.

Dear Ricky,

From the time you were a child and continuing on into adulthood you were always a quiet and seemingly shy individual.  In so many ways you are like your grandfather Andy in that you both appear to be able to listen even while you speak and have this way of making connections that most cannot see until they are shown.  Just like your grandfather your words often take a form similar to parables, but the person to whom you speak clearly understands if there is a conflict or issue between you and them.

Maybe you can provide a response to these Tea Party Patriots, Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Jindal, and a host of Generation Y individuals without an emotional rant.  Am I blind, deaf, and dumb or am I the type of person deemed unsuccessful, a failure, seeking handouts, and a socialist calling for a Robin Hood pilfering of the coffers of those enjoying success?

I started my first “official” job, meaning working for wages not family, as a cashier at age 16.  Prior to that I had the typical cleaning chores inside and assisted with the milking and other responsibilities associated with dairy farm life.  I loved school because every day I got to discover something different and the feel of the air from those large metal fans made me feel as if I were flying as I read every book I could find.  I earned larger scholarships with my grades and smaller ones in essay contests for organizations such as the VFW and American Legion.  I graduated from college summa cum laude and worked throughout my undergraduate years both for wages and milking whenever I had opportunities to go home.  For over 20 years I taught and during that time I married, had two children, and managed to get masters degrees in administration and a second one in mathematics.  Mother, military spouse, teacher, and student were my job titles for about a 15 year period before I began the responsibility of evolving from a military wife to that of a military widow after my husband of more than 15 years lost his life in combat.  Yes, I took 1 year off from teaching to focus all my attention on being a mother.  While saddened my son, daughter, and I along with my parents, brothers, and in-laws bonded as a team which persevered that year and beyond.  Aside from life insurance and military benefits, I never received any government “gifts” other than the American flag which had draped my husband’s casket.  According to the Grand Old Party, I’m lazy and living off others by not working that year.

After 1 year on leave, I returned to work as a Vice Principal and worked in that capacity for 2 years before I had another career decision.  I was offered a position as Principal, but I learned that a return to my alma mater was possible because one of my former math teachers was retiring.  After thought it was back to the classroom for me because I felt happier teaching even though my pay was significantly more in administration.  After my children both graduated from high school, I typically taught 1 or 2 courses as an adjunct at the college to simply stay familiar with more advanced mathematical concepts as the school systems continually lessened the scope of content we were to teach in high school.

I may not be the Republican definition of success in that I neither own a business nor have amassed great wealth, but I feel happy and content.  My car is paid in full as is my house and our 3 acres of land.  This house was built in the 1940s, but it was in solid condition when my husband I purchased it and continues to be well maintained today.  Not even in 1983 or through Andrew, Katrina, Rita, and Gustav did we ever suffer any flooding inside the house.  Sandbags had been prepared and stacked, but had not been needed.  Sandbags were prepared and stacked for Isaac as well, but the surge was 5 feet or more than that caused by any previous storm.  For the first time, this little house built back in the late 1940s had water inside.

In spite of the finger pointing, I do not feel like a fool for not expecting a flood of this magnitude.  Likewise, I never felt like a fool for stacking sandbags that were not needed in previous storms.  We were denied traditional flood insurance years ago because our land was “not at risk.”  Still, I will be able to repair the water damage.  It will take some time, and I will need to rely upon the assistance of friends and family for much of the labor.  Everyone did what they could for those affected by previous storms, and that responsibility of assisting your neighbor continues in this area.  We will repair the worst damage first and then move on to the 2nd most damaged residence.  That’s life in the community.

Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Jindal, and your Generation Y entourage, we will finance and repair our damage with our own funds and labor but Mr. Jindal it is your responsibility as Governor to assure that the damns and floodgate failures this time do not repeat.  Yes, the state government may be financially challenged, but routine inspections and maintenance on these structures would cost the equivalent of the pay increases to members of your staff and the costs associated with your out-of-state fundraising trips.  Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan, two development companies built a strip mall and other structures which altered many of the natural drainage passages.  Both received tax incentives to build in this area.  You may argue free market fairness, but I will argue that at minimum the tax credits they enjoy should be revoked since their free market work increased the amount of flooding.  Also, I wonder why both companies report profits while the number of jobs they promised before building has never reached 50 percent of that level?  Perhaps, you could explain that to me Mr. Romney.  Generation Y people, take the time to step down from your over inflated egos and ask why you have been unable to purchase the property and live as comfortably as the “unsuccessful people of earlier generations.”  Could it be that many of things you claim as rights are what previous generations deemed as privileges?  Everyone is not equal; everyone does not need a pat on the back for accomplishing the most basic of tasks.  You are not any more or less special than me or someone else.  The narcissistic attitude is one of the reasons why you are not enjoying the success you might be able to if you displayed some humbleness.

Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, and Mr. Jindal, I guess I am a failure since I do not fit your definition of success, but I am not a burden to “working people” as you claim.  I’m actually a member of the ambiguous middle class of America, but to you I’m no better than dirt because in your world middle class stature begins when your salary exceeds $250,000 a year as an individual.  Do I want a repeat of the last 4 years? No.  Am I better off?  For the most part no.  But the reason I am not better off financially is because of the stock market and those taking risks.  Mr. Ryan, if Mr. Obama’s stimulus was so evil, why did you personally seek out stimulus funds?  Mr. Romney, would you have “saved” the Olympics in Salt Lake City without the funds you requested and received from the Federal government?  Yet, you label me and people like me as that class who wants to punish your success by limiting your influence in government while it is alright for you to silence the voices of those beneath your economic status.

My response:

You are not deaf, blind, or dumb.  You are someone to be not just respected but admired.  The problem is that too many expect to run when they have yet to learn how to stand.  I think the issue is that you live by the idea that everyone should play by the same rules.  Within the political rhetoric, however, there are two set of rules:  1) what you feel you deserve for yourself and 2) what you feel is right for others.  The stay out of my life when that suits me but be on call if need mentality is manifested in this idea that government should not regulate business but it can regulate private life if that regulation is in accordance with your view of private life.  I usually think about this image.  There is one large piece of cake to be shared by two children.  If you cut and distribute the pieces, you may be accused of favoritism.  If one child cuts his or her piece, the other child may get upset that the pieces are not equal.  The solution is to have one child cut the large piece and then to allow the other child to pick the piece they want.  That seems fair and reasonable to me, but it does not address this want or “need” for instant gratification.

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