22 March 2009

An Open Letter to the American Government

To Whom it May Concern (which is everyone),

I don't know if you've heard but currently, our country is in crisis. Not a day goes by without me picking up a paper to find out who's been screwed over that day. If people are not getting laid-off, their kids are being subjected to harsh cuts to their educational funding, or their parents are being given sub-standard healthcare, or they're standing on lines at unemployment agencies TO CALL unemployment agencies so they can wade through bureaucratic red tape (I'm looking at you, Gov. Ah-Nold).

But the response from you all has been to point fingers and select committees to identify the people who are pointing the fingers and then make a subcommittee to stick their fingers up their own asses. Basically, it's become a giant clusterf*ck rather than what government is supposed to be; a representation and voice for the people it serves.

The problem is that the American people want action and something tangible while you seem more interested in trotting out other people to blame our current mess on. We want things fixed while you guys are trying to throw glue on a broken mug and hope it looks presentable. Contrary to popular belief, the American people aren't afraid of taxes, we're afraid of what you do with our taxes. For instance, I wouldn't mind giving away nearly half my paychecks in taxes if it meant I had low or no-cost healthcare with financial incentives for my doctors to care about my health, efficient and clean public transportation, good, low cost education for my future children and guarantees that my old-age wouldn't be spent in squalor.

And I don't think anyone would disagree with that.

People complain about taxes because they don't see their tax dollars at work. And the idea that giving tax breaks and bailouts to big business is a necessary evil in order to ensure job creation is a myth. In the past ten years, 70% of job creation was done by small businesses. It's not that we have "bailout fatigue", instead we have bailout rage. Everyday we hear about another initiative that has no effect on our every day lives but continues to allow those at the top to live comfortably.

For some reason you've ceased to become our representatives. You've become indifferent to our plight. That needs to end. In Britain after World War II, the government decided that having been devastated by a war and financially stricken, it would impose "cradle to the grave" reforms to improve the lives of their citizens. Are we not a nation indelibly impacted by war? Are we not financially broken? It's time to improve the lives of Americans in a radical way. And it's our government's job to do it.

19 March 2009

The Weight of the World

This week has not been a good one for Oakland businesses. Two of my favorite places in Oakland, Drift Denim and The Parkway Speakeasy Theater are closing at the end of the week. Both announcements were made suddenly (I learned about the Parkway this morning) and for me, a person who really patronizes local businesses and develops relationships with the workers and owners, it's really disheartening. In the face of this, as well as hearing about million dollar bonuses for insufficient work, it's been a pretty disheartening week. 

There have been some bright spots. I've accomplished a lot at work this week and I'm preparing to go to NY and see my family and some amazing friends. Then there's Fug Madness (an easy way to chase away some blues) and new episodes of Lost and Scrubs. But overall, things have been steadily losing their shine. I'm not a shiny, happy person but I'm not dark & twisty either. I just wish I had some solutions. Or at least an answer or two. 

I'm working all this weekend (I gotta eat too) but I'm going to try my hardest to make it to these establishments before they close and give a little to make sure they close with some dignity and the knowledge that they were loved and enjoyed. 


08 March 2009

How Much for Happy

This article started up a shit-storm over at Jezebel today. And to be honest it's something I've been contemplating. Not so much comparing myself to my friends based on accomplishments but definitely in terms of finances. I have a shitload of friends with no jobs, in school who are traveling and living it up while I'm struggling to hold on to my studio apartment and pay my bills. It's not that I feel unaccomplished but my life does seem like it would be easier and more carefree if I was back in school.

At the same time school feels like a hideout. A place to be easy and carefree while others do the working. And really, if I don't have a plan or some place I really love, school seems like a complete and total waste of money. And though it's fun now, I'm sure all my schooled friends will be busting their asses to pay back school loans that they are currently blowing on Spring Break trips.

That being what it is, I've come to terms with who I am and where I'm at emotionally but not physically. I refuse to set arbitrary dates in terms of my professional or personal life. For instance, I'm 25 and I've never been in a serious relationship but I've never seen this as an inadequacy on my part. Mainly the guys that I've been with haven't been emotionally ready or they weren't men I
wanted to be in a relationship with. The Boy was the closest I've come to actually wanting to date someone, which in my mind means taking that person into consideration when I make decisions, so it's not a small step for me. But I will admit to being frustrated at where I am physically in my life. I don't think I want to be in Oakland anymore. I want to take my chances in L.A. or outside of the country. I hate feeling stagnant and that is where I am right now. I feel trapped by bills and fear of job insecurity (because we've already established that I do not have anything to fall back on). And I hate feeling this way because, I don't have a kid, or a boyfriend or a well-paying job so why should I feel stuck? By what? I think the one fear I really have to be ready to let go of is the fear of being uncomfortable. It might take sleeping on some couches and hustling a bit more to be and do what I want. And I can't be afraid of that.