Wednesday, July 02, 2014

"And nobody with any power to do anything about it gives a shit at all."

Just left this comment on facebook:

Great discussion, y'all.

Only one comment to add, and I'll direct it to the capitalist running dog. I've been living like you describe in your comment above, Matt, for the last seven years or so. I've been a waiter while pursuing acting gigs that never materialized. And yeah, you can do it. I don't eat out. I have no entertainment or social life budget. I spend only on the bare necessities. I use an old school flip phone with no bells or whistles or text. Etc.

But the entire time, I've been one emergency away from disaster. No health insurance until last month, Obamacare, which is actually a godsend--I can now do some important health stuff I've been putting off for a long time. But before that, I don't know what I would have done if something major happened. Bankrupt my retired father, probably, which is a horrible thought. I don't know what I would have done if my car had failed me: actually, my dad bought me my car, which makes me extraordinarily privileged, and ultimately utterly unlike most of the people with whom I've been working, who have no family safety net, and who have to work multiple jobs, sixty and seventy hour weeks, just to make ends meet. Also, I couldn't afford children at all under these circumstances, and I humbly note that I am lucky in this respect because lots of people doing this kind of work don't get to choose whether or not they have children. Nor should the have to, when you get right down to it--we should all be able to afford to raise a family if we want to do so.

At any rate, I've been afraid over the years that my entire edifice will fall apart, and I've got some family help if it comes to it. I imagine my co-workers, with their own families to raise, are even more afraid. Because it could all go to hell at any minute and nobody gives a shit about it. These are good people, who work hard, seven days a week, with very little time off just to enjoy being a human being.

That's the reality in which most Americans live. Work all the time just to stay afloat, never getting ahead, ever, one emergency away from living on the streets. This isn't academic or an ideologically charged story. These are people I know and work with. I'm lucky. I can call my dad or go back to teaching whenever I want. They can't. That's their life. And nobody with any power to do anything about it gives a shit at all.
'Nuff said.