Progressive America, you used to be beautiful

Guess you could say there is a theme this week here at BGIM land. That theme would be how Average Jane and Joe used to be able to go to their average job and be assured that if they put in 40 hours working for the boss, the boss paid them a decent wage, provided access to healthcare and even tucked a few bucks away so that when Jane and Joe got old, they didn’t have to live in a shoe and eat cat food. The boss used to understand that by treating Jane and Joe well they were loyal and worked hard and in the end happy workers meant the boss made money too! It was a good system until somewhere along the line the bosses got greedy decided to fuck Jane and Joe and I am not talking the kind of fucking that curls your toes and makes you smile.

Suddenly Jane and Joe worked longer and harder, realized their cash didn’t go as far, the boss started devising clever ruses that on the surface made Jane and Joe feel empowered but really didn’t. The boss told Jane and Joe rather than giving you that gold watch and a fixed monthly pension when you retire, I am going to take some money invest it in the stock market, you invest some money and well the stock market will go up and up and shit! You can be rich like me! Jane and Joe liked that, so that said great! The boss took away the health insurance instead telling Jane and Joe now you can have choices…oh, but those choices will cost you a little more money but soon, Jane and Joe couldn’t afford that coverage.

Right now in America it sucks to be an average worker! Whereas many of us used to live in the middle class or at least aspire to it, now we are too busy trying to pay that mortgage we can’t afford anymore and keep Visa from ganking a portion of our wages. Suddenly Jane and Joe realized the whole system is corrupt, the boss don’t give two squats, they see whiz kids creating items they can’t even figure out how to use making billions…hello, Mark Zuckerberg! They see their jobs at the plant being shipped overseas where the boss doesn’t have to pay $18 an hour, instead he pays $18 a day and gets his product manufactured and makes 600 times what his average worker makes. The boss is so rich, that bastard can wipe his ass on $20 bills and flush em down the toilet all the while Jane and Joe have to tell the kids it’s pasta again and no, don’t answer that phone! Just another bill collector calling.

Jane and Joe are fed the fuck up, everywhere they look people are either scrapping to get by just like them, or when they log on the computer or television, they see latte sippers talking about how desperately they want the new iPhone5…while Jane and Joe are still using Motorola Razrs from 6 years ago and barely able to keep the cell bill paid.
The gulf between the haves and have-nots is huge. Eventually Jane and Joe snap there has got to be some out there who stands up for the average folks…oh, but there is! Enter the Tea Party, where they use folksy sounding people who look just like Jane and Joe Average. The Tea Party tells Jane and Joe we want to take America back, support us, never mind that the Tea Party is bought and paid for by real rich folks…hello, the Koch brothers!

Jane and Joe used to be card carrying union members who always voted Democrats but lately they feel like the Dems have let them down. Now it seems when they see Democrats, they are well educated folks who earn way more than Jane and Joe ever will and frankly are disconnected from the real woes of working people. Oh, the Dems talk a good game but ultimately life is hard when you are trying to fit in your next yoga class and figure out your new iGadget. Today’s Dems in the eyes of Jane and Joe have abandoned them for folks who think well just go to school, never realizing that even if everyone in America had a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree that someone still has to do the shit work. Someone has to watch the kids, serve your food, and make the lattes. If you want organic cotton panties, someone has to sew that shit and shouldn’t the people who do all those tasks be well compensated? Yeah, today’s Democrats say they should, but they don’t really put their money where their mouth is. For them activism and involvement is signing an online petition, sending a few bucks to a good cause and maybe posting something on their Facebook page.

On the other hand those Tea Party folks take action, shit they demand that the Republicans listen to them no matter how insane they sound. Jane and Joe know the Tea Party is a tad nutty but shit they are so frustrated, they feel they have to do something.

Where are the Progressive Americans? Why aren’t they out doing something? This past weekend there was an Occupy Wall Street event organized that considering how bad Wall Street has screwed this nation over, you would have expected non-stop coverage; instead the coverage has been a blip. When did we become so damn passive? Or is that we are so scared to lose our little bit of the cheese that we are too fucking scared to speak up and do something? Seems to me those of us who consider ourselves progressive like to talk lofty talk but when it comes to doing something that creates change…well we are out to lunch. How many of us will put our money where our mouth is? Will you create change even if it means less money in your pocket? Or are we just like the greedy bosses, indirectly fucking others over. I admit I rarely get political in this space but I am just frustrated, real change and hope comes from taking action at the grassroots level.
I am sure I might lose some readers for such a post, but that’s okay, this is my reality and my truth.

Uprising with the People

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I caught this clip on the local news. What do we have here? A Black woman expressing discontent with President Obama. Now having had a chance to make the rounds to some of my favorite bloggers this morning like Field Negro and a few others, there are some that want to down play what this woman had to say. To recap in case you aren’t up for link clicking, this gal expressed her unhappiness that her financial situation has actually worsened since Obama took office. Now anyone who thought that Obama becoming POTUS was going to magically make America a happy and prosperous place for all clearly had been smoking herbals. No one man can be all things to all people. Clearly Obama has faced some challenges that his predecessors never had to face namely the rise of nut jobs aka Palin, Beck, etc. There is also the fact that a certain segment of the American population will never see this man as a legitimate president. Hell, a video could be shown clearly showing Obama being born and well folks will still believe what they want to believe.

However I thought what this woman said was brave and for many millions of American a true statement. Is she literally eating hot dogs and beans? My guess is no but more like the comfortable standard of life she thought would be rightfully hers by a certain age is no longer a sure thing. Instead of financial stability my guess is there is financial instability. In fact just before my local news showed that clip, there was a piece about how food pantry use was up in some of Maine’s most well heeled towns. I am talking places with multi million dollar homes and views of the ocean and the inhabitants of such spaces needing to go to a food pantry for food. Don’t know about you but that shit doesn’t compute, of course thanks to my job I am regularly in touch with members of the formerly middle class who need some help.

For many when Obama was elected back in 2008 we felt the spirit of change, problem is we had no idea what change would look like. While we are now being told the recession officially ended last year, the fact remains that for millions there are no jobs and what jobs exist do not pay a living wage. If the economy is stagnant it’s because people who are financially fearful tend to hang on to their money. Marketers and retailers are starting to realize that frugality is not a passing thing, it’s the new reality yet for an economy driven by consumption it’s a bad thing.

As far as Obama while he has had many barriers the fact remains he and his economic team did not take the economy seriously enough and frankly I think that is going to bite the Democrats in the ass come November. No, our President and leaders are not meant to be our friends yet in America we have a silly habit of wanting the powers to be to relate to us, to make us feel good. If you think I am lying think about the last POTUS, dude wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box but he made folks (well some folks, the ones who vote apparently) feel good. So to reward those good feelings he in return got 8 years to fuck up our nation. Spent all the money on silly wars but damn it he made us feel good.

Obama on the other hand does not make us feel good, shit we look at him and some of us get mad. Some of us support him on the basis of his Blackness (I’m talking about my fellow Black folks) but lately even Blackness is not enough to keep us from grumbling. If you can’t make the people feel good and or deliver some change that results in a few shekels in folk’s pockets so Friday dinners can be had, well you have a problem.

As I see the Tea Party growing in this country despite the clear level of stupidity of most of its members that tells me we as a nation are getting ready for some change. Yet for some reason this change feels a lot less positive than the change we witnessed in November 2008.