I watched a disturbing video last week from the Rachel Maddow Show on the web. Leading up to an interview with Michael Moore on the Occupy protests going on nationwide, she focused on the plight of Youngstown, Ohio, a once-strong manufacturing town with middle class Americans going about their jobs to make a living in middle America. Now it’s facing very hard times, like many other manufacturing towns and workers.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) was shown in the video speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives about the plight of the middle class, how the middle class has “had it up to here” and we’re seeing the results in the movements that sprang up from Occupy Wall Street in the past several weeks.
What was shocking about the video from Maddow’s show came when a wide angle of the House chamber was shown. Out of all the seats in the room, there were a grand total of four people to be seen – Ryan and three other people who I’m sure had to be there because of protocol, or Ryan would have simply been speaking to the walls off in the distance.
Out of all the seats in the chamber, you’d think there might have at least been a few Democrats there. But there was no one but those four people. Where was everyone? Was it a mass potty break? A representative is speaking on one of the most important issues facing our nation, and there are only four people that can be seen in the chamber?
Was everyone else in the hallways or their offices getting their ears bent by a lobbyist? Were some of them on the golf course? What were these representatives doing at that moment to earn their pay?
Middle class America should see a scene like that and get very angry, at Republicans and Democrats alike. People across this nation are fighting for survival, and their representatives are off doing … what?
I have recently joined those millions of Americans who are now stressing over keeping a roof over the heads of their families, food in their stomachs, heat for the coming winter, and worrying about staying healthy because health care costs and two appendectomies in rapid succession have already sunk our bank accounts to the breaking point. All because I just recently lost my job due to downsizing, a corporation cutting its costs while it possibly gets ready for a “fire sale.” And I was just a number. It didn’t matter how hard I worked, and I do believe strongly in hard work. That doesn’t matter to those who make the downsizing decisions.
I am now working full-time to do all I can to find another full-time income. The times are frightening. I am a fighter. I am a survivor, in more ways than one. Are there any jobs to be had in which I don’t have to make my way through ferocious competition for that one?
Hey, I’m a writer too! I used to earn a living doing just that. Maybe while I’m scratching and clawing my way through my own tiny portion of this nation’s mess, I can see about putting my writing to use on a topic that’s “near and dear” to millions more like me these days.
Middle class America needs as many voices as it can get. You’re about to see and hear mine, and mine can get LOUD (and at times funny as well)! Tell your friends, and stay tuned!