Joining the Club That No One Wants to Be In

This Makes Me Sad, and Mad.

Photo by Diane Nilan

Two people I’ve known and loved for a long time, who shall remain nameless, are facing the harsh reality they (perhaps unrealistically) never expected. Both are loving dads who set about making a life for themselves and their families like so many others — working the same kind of jobs that made money for generations before them. They graduated from college, embraced the family hand-up, and took off from there. They did their best to make it work.

Hardly working hard working guy. Photo by Diane Nilan

Now, each of them in slightly different ways, face financial ruin. Even before the stock market and the rest of the economy started doing flip-flops. Neither owns a home, though they both live in fancy digs. I’d say they’re living beyond their means. Money in the bank? Nope. Safety net of any kind? They wish, but no. Retirement savings. Not a nickel.

Both guys pursued the good life, as most do, and worked hard. They’ve tried their best to give their kids time and opportunity. They embraced religion, of the sort that seemed to fit their lifestyle choices, the conservative, anti-women, anti-personal responsibility kind.

They’ve had their share of marital bliss and hell. Twice. If I had the money spent on weddings plus divorce-related costs, I’d be living on my own tropical island.

Both absorbed political inspiration from the Fox side. True capitalists, whatever that means. They’d scoff at social programs that help people survive. They’d strive to keep Uncle Sam out of their pockets. Our current White House occupant met with their approval.

Swirling. Photo Diane Nilan

Now our government is being ravaged by this out of control, twitter-happy, clueless failed businessman who putting his billions on the hope that war might at least distract the legal beagles on his nefarious, odiferous scent. In the meantime, countless others, like these two guys, are finding themselves in deep, desperate financial straits, oblivious to the environmental, economic, humanitarian and military peril the GOP and feckless excuse for a world leader are marching toward.

Family life for a have-not in California. Photo Diane Nilan

I’m no economist. I’m someone who sees the world from the position of homelessness, a field I’ve been working in for the past 3 dozen years. I have a sense of what’s out there to help people — more so what’s not. I have a pretty good idea of where the road leads for those tumbling off the capitalism merry-go-round. It’s ugly.

Seeing these two guys and their families teetering on the edge of homelessness, unbeknownst to them, or maybe not, saddens me. And concerns me. I’m certainly in no position to stop it.

What happens when this next round of previously secure families tumbles into the deep hole of homelessness?

Maybe I’m overly concerned, and they’ll wiggle their way out of disaster. Hopefully they can do it without causing harm to others.

Photo by Diane Nilan

I also hope that as they get a glimpse of the disastrous possibilities that they begin to realize that those of us pointing to the falling sky might have a point. And that the only thing that will maybe save them is replacing the elected officials who’ve embraced our catastrophe-in-chief.

Being in the position of saying “I told you so” gives me no pleasure.

For your penance, make sure you vote for candidates that seem like they “shiv-a-git” for the ever-growing echelon of downtrodden formerly working stiffs like you. Misery loves company.

Founder/pres. HEAR US Inc., gives voice & visibility to homeless families & youth, ran shelters, advocate, filmmaker, author, 15 yrs. on US backroads.

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