Wednesday, May 4, 2011
JOBLESS - May 5, 2011
As I listen to the ease with which the comfortable middle class tolerates the agonies of the jobless, I observe that many of the prosperous find the troubles of those who are without work, without income, often losing their homes, their marriages, their families, and often even their health, and even their lives. Often those who seemingly have learned that the least painful place to endure a beating is on someone else’s back may prattle about sharing the pain even when the pain is in many cases a temporary lack of what many of us recognize as a luxury will talk about the shared sacrifice as though the temporary absence of that luxury is somehow equivalent to the deep troubles being suffered by people who genuinely have to suffer privation of the deep needs of life. It seems that the President’s lack of urgency in pressing the needs of the needy indicates that he is indifferent to the pain of the jobless. In this he may be unconscious of the depth of the suffering of others, or he might be just genuinely indifferent to it. I remember that 18 years ago, I had an interview with Russell Feingold just before he left for DC. I had been a supporter of his from the day when he entered politics and I pressed upon him the position that the urgent needs of the jobless was more pressing than the accumulated debt. I could not manage to make my point. Feingold had been raised in middle-class comfort and, though he took on almost every protest against the treatment of the poor and powerless, it weighed lightly on his shoulders. He often voted for its amelioration, but it never seemed to have the urgency that its pain should carry. As a result, although he had the support of many unions, it did not turn out enough voters to carry the day when the fat was in the fire. Possibly Obama is tempting a similar fate, as many who should be supporting him register their lack of commitment.