just some non-fiction I thought I'd shareSubmitted by JoeDanger on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 06:09
I originally wrote this as a note on facebook, but figured I'd take some constructive criticism from my DP peers... :-)
I worked today. It was a regular day, no surprises, which in my field is good. Driving home, I felt the urge to go out. I've been working afternoons for the past decade or so, earlier getting off at 2am, then 12 midnight, and now 10pm. Because of that, the time for my self-appointed "happy hour" is 11pm. (Unless there's overtime, I always take the overtime.)
So I decided to stop at a local watering hole near my house called Andy's. The owners name is
Bob. He likes to shout "In the ditch!" when doing shots. I digress.
I sat down and ordered a beer. It was Kereoke night. Nothing good on the tube in front of me, so I pulled out the ol cell phone and decided to read some Austrian economist blogs. That's fun for
me (on a weeknight).
I laughingly enjoyed a rendition of "I Would Do Anything For Love", but (sadly) desperately
needed a cigarette after listening, and because of our governments complete disregard of private property rights, had to go outside for one.
I went outside and lit up. It was in the low 30's, but windy. I stayed in the doorway nook while
I smoked and continued reading. Across the street I noticed a Woman and a child ringing a
doorbell. I determined that it must have led to the apartments above the businesses that
buttressed the door on the ground floor. The doorbell was loud enough I could hear it across the street.
It was around 12:30am at the time. I looked up from reading and smoking and saw that the woman
and the little one had started walking down the street. The child in the over sized red parka had it's head leaning against the woman. The child had a hood attached to the jacket, and it rolled back and forth while the woman rubbed the back of the child's coat. They walked slowly, in the cold, wind blowing. The doorbell had not been answered.
I wondered why was that little one out so late, in such harsh conditions? Who were they trying to
contact with the doorbell? Was it the father of the child? A relative? What circumstances had led
to them ringing a doorbell, late at night in the cold, only to finally give up, and head to destination unknown.
They walked down to where the train tracks intersected the main street. There is a 24 hour McDonalds about a half mile down the road and for some reason I expected them to head there. I was even a little relieved that it existed, in some strange way, because at least it meant warmth. What could I do anyways? Let them stay at my empty house? What if they stole something? Give them money? I have not such funds.
I began thinking about the kid. Just from seeing how the kid was leaning against the woman, I
could tell it wasn't a happy kid. I could almost feel the despair radiating off the body language. Why was this child not tucked into a warm bed? How many other kids in the thousands of other small towns were in a predicament like this, let alone big cities? What societal forces lead to poverty and hardship? Of course, I know the answer to this, but the question always immediately morphs into "What can I do to prevent this?"
Me, alone, I have decided, nothing. There needs to be a sea change in the way our society functions. I believe it was Goethe who stated "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." I sincerely believe that this statement applies to 95% of the American population. If most of America falsely believes they're free, then there is nothing short of catastrophe than could convince them otherwise. People are going to believe that they're free the same way they believe that the money in their pocket is real, and they same way they accept that politicians lie. It's easier that way.
People fear change. It's a natural response to handling the unknown. But pretty soon, I think we're all going to have to face a significant change in the way our society functions. And that's the comforting part. The fact that when this happens, we're all gonna be in it together, is a good thing. Most of the people I know haven't prepared for an economical collapse. Hell, most of the people I know don't know why the last one happened, or how it did.
A woman, blond, mid-40's, barreled out the front door of the bar. lighting a cigarette en route. In doing so, she dropped her phone, which separated into 3 parts on the ground. Snapping out of observing mode, I picked up the pieces, re-assembled her phone and handed it back to her. "There ya go." She took the phone, lit her cigarette, and without saying anything, proceeded to look bothered, or flabbergasted regarding something that occurred inside, I couldn't tell.
I took a couple drags off my cig, and noticed that the woman and her kid had disappeared. That
was quick. I didn't see them heading in the direction of McDonalds anymore. They couldn't have
covered that much ground in 2 minutes. (I was quick with the cell phone assembly.) I took a walk
towards the railroad tracks to get a little more line of sight, just out of curiosity. Just to see where they went.
Reaching the end of the building, I looked to the left across an open field, and saw them near a
pickup truck. The little one was not moving quickly, kind of rolling it's head against the side of the pickup bed, while the older woman nudged him/ or her along. There was a faint scraping sound coming from them doing this, It looked like the mother was trying to guide the kid into the car, but was having trouble. I walked over.
The older woman didn't see me approaching until I was about 20 feet away. When she looked up, I
waved and asked, "Can I help you?" from about 8 feet away. The older woman was Hispanic, about 45
years old, with big round glasses and a big shaped perm. The kid had the hoodie pulled down over
his eyes and just stood there leaning against the pickup, shivering silently. The older woman said in stucco english "Ah, we're going in.." and pointed towards the passenger door of the pickup. "May I be of any assistance?" I asked again. (I think it was the CPR training that taught me to always say that first) "You want to go into the car?" "Yes" she replied, and opened the door.
The kid in the red parka, hood tied down over it's eyes, silently standing there facing the pickup, slightly rolling back and forth as the wind blew, seeminly incapacitated, or in shock. He/she wasn't getting it, or couldn't. It was hard to tell. The little one was leaning forward, as if to protect against the breeze that was blowing across the field. I had to lean down to speak, so as not to startle.
"I'm going to pick you up and sit you down in the car, ok?" No answer. I got a little closer to the hoodie, and said "I'm going to pick you up and put you inside ok? Just trust me, you'll be ok in two seconds." That's when I noticed the nose and mouth.
The little person in the red parka with the hoodie pulled down over her eyes wasn't a child. The
upper lip has creases and lines, the cheeks were saggy and splotched. The strands of grey hair that poked out from under her hood were wild and unkempt.The physical demeanor that I had mistaken as an bummed out, chilly child, was actually an exhausted frail senior, easily 80. She didn't speak a word.
I lifted her up, one arm around her back, and one behind her knees. I leaned her back and lifted her into the seat. I adjusted her once so she sat straight.
I stepped back from the truck and ask the older (actually much younger than the other) woman "You're going to be ok now?" "Yes, thank you." She replied.
I said goodnight and turned back towards the field I had crossed and began walking back to the bar, during which, something struck me.
If indeed America is to undergo the massive societal changes that are expected, watching out for
the children is going to be a priority, but taking care of our elderly is going to be a much more daunting task.
Some people partly blame the Baby Boomers for the conditions we're facing today. The argument is
that it happened on "their watch", and there is an amount of truth to that. But the ideologies and policies that have brought about this economic condition have been in place for far longer than the the existence of the Boomers. In fact, if you examine it closely, it's the policies themselves that helped bring about the entire Baby Boom!
The new administration recently passed a "Stimulus" plan. I'm not going to get into specifics, except to say that it mandates universal health treatment. If someone who lives in Texas has a condition A, their doctor is going to be forced to give the same treatment as someone diagnosed with the same condition A in Hawaii. In short, this policy is probably going to kill a lot of seniors. Just when it's time for them to collect their Social Security, which isn't there anyway (was spent on Vietnam.)
Which bring me back to solutions. I'm a solution-orientated guy. Call me Mr. Wolf, I fix things. How can I provide the maximum amount of prosperity, and at the very least, a decent standard of living, for every American, regardless of social status?
It always comes back to freedom. Freedom brings prosperity, because freedom gives incentive. Statism is authoritarian, it robs people of their liberty, which a right endowed upon us by our Creator, and ordered by our Constitution to be recognized by our government. They left us the Second Amendment not to protect our houses or kill deer, but to protect our liberty. Our Founders basically tossed us a rifle and said, "If we ever start to screw you over, take us out."
I'd rather it not go that way, but it appears pretty inevitable. Fiat money is not eternally sustainable, neither is our worldwide empire, and neither is pure democracy. Most Americans think the American form of government is a Democracy. It's not. It's a Republic, and the sooner people realize that, the faster we can free ourselves from the monolithic totalitarian state that has devoured our wealth, our good name around the world, and has destroyed any prospect of near term prosperity for most Americans. In our present state, our kids will be lucky to have it as good as we, or our parents, have.
Our future generations deserve better, I believe we have it in ourselves to suck it up now, so that we can give to them what was promised to us.