One of the blogs I read from time to time had some wonderful graphics in a post from a few days ago. It is made more poignant by the 1/26 entry, which speaks to the effects of poverty and economic insecurity which are so widespread today.
Here's a lift from the more recent post, which starts with some lyrics from Bon Jovi from a few decades ago:
Once upon a time not so long ago:
Tommy used to work on the docks; union's been on strike
He's down on his luck - It's tough, so tough.
Gina works the diner all day, working for her man
She brings home her pay for love for love.
She says: We've got to hold on to what we've got
'Cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.
We've got each other and that's a lot for love -
We'll give it a shot.
We're half way there - Livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it
I swear - livin' on a prayer.
Those sentiments are not confined by time. Change the words slightly, slow down the tempo, add a tinkling piano and an orchestra and you've got:
"I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby" . . . .
Gee, but it's tough to be broke, kid.
It's not a joke, kid, it's a curse.
My luck is changing, it's gotten from
simply rotten to something worse
Who knows, some day I will win too.
I'll begin to reach my prime.
Now though I see what our end is,
All I can spend is just my time.
I can't give you anything but love, baby.
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.
There may be trouble ahead
But while there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
"Just two kids in love" can look frighteningly unromantic when you have no permanent place to live. Not knowing where your next meal will come from. No health insurance and you become ill or have an accident. Not even a suitcase to schlep your clothes from wherever you are to wherever you may be going, so you use black plastic garbage bags.
And then, if (or when) a baby enters the picture, it's not so romantic anymore.
I've been working with a young couple who are really struggling. In their 20's. They met online. She left her home in the North to be with him in the South. He's in construction. The work dried up after a month. They moved to Delaware in search of a work. He found it, though it didn't last long so he got another job but not in construction. Right after Christmas, his hours went from 30-40 to 16. Per week. At $8.50 per hour.
She got pregnant. They lived with friends - a few weeks here, a few weeks there. She got food stamps. They applied for housing. She had a baby. Two weeks early. By C-section. Now, they need a place to live, no longer able to stay a few weeks with friends here and there. She says she's not afraid to be homeless, but fears "they'll take my baby from me."
Yes, they should have thought of all of these things. Months ago. They didn't. Which happens. More often than we care to think about. They're both adults with the choice to "live on a prayer". But now, there's the baby. Reality has set it and it is often a very rude visitor.
The thing about life in Lower, Slower Delaware is that there are shelters, I've discovered. Shelters for men. Shelters for women. Shelters for women and their children.
There are no shelters for families. Because, you know, the folks in power have "family values" but do not necessarily value families.
Thankfully, a consortium of churches in the Lewes-Rehoboth area have pooled resources to begin a community resource center which provides families with hotel rooms while the family works with the State to find employment and permanent homes. Which can take up to 24 months.
These kids are the very definition of "living on a prayer". Which is often hard to distinguish from "magical thinking". Which is a short hop, skip and a jump from looking positively delusional. . . .
The graphics follow. I'm grateful that they were all together on a single page, and I'm agreement with the text which connects them.
January 22, 1973
Well, for reasons that aren't clear to me (I don't use graphics much), I can't seem to show the other 3 graphics. See http://telling-secrets.blogspot.com/2012/01/january-22-1973.html for yourself.
And shouldn't we find ways to create an economy in which we all can prosper? In which a small group of financial engineers and speculators don't get to reap for themselves a huge share of what the entire society together produces. It seems to me that land value taxation is a necessary -- not sufficient -- condition for creating that we're-in-this-together-and-we're-equal society. I wish we had candidates who saw that society as the goal.