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Sunday, July 3, 2011

After a month of mourning...

Miss my dogs, but after a month of mourning, I'm ready to get back into the fray.
But since it is our country's birthday, I'll just keep this post upbeat and positive.
For many, it's the Fourth of July; a day of parades, flying flags, family get-togethers, fireworks and (to many) a day off from work!
For me, it's always been Independence Day.
Maybe I'm nitpicking, but it's a subtle distinction of semantics.
Maybe because I come from immigrant stock on one side of my family that mostly wasn't particularly welcome in America.
My father's people were Irish, who came in waves during the early through mid 1800s. It's been a while, and I'll forgive people who don't remember "Irish need not apply" for job openings. I do have an ancestral Irish relation who was a fairly high-profile and well-known Civil War general, who was also military post-CW, but most were laborers, roughnecks and general ne'er-do-wells.
My mother's family were Czech and Romany. (My father's Irish mother thought that my mother's immigrant father was not quite "up to snuff" socially, despite the fact that he was a very successful furrier in the NYC area.)
In any event, my immigrant ancestors came to America for one very specific reason: Independence! A real opportunity to rise up to potential or even beyond any expectations ever thought of in the "old country".
This Independence Day, I'm feeling more than a little distressed at the direction my beloved country is taking.
My new state senator Rand Paul To Unemployed: Quit Whining And Get Back To Work.
"As bad as it sounds, ultimately we do have to sometimes accept a wage that's less than we had at our previous job in order to get back to work and allow the economy to get started again," he said. "Nobody likes that, but it may be one of the tough love things that has to happen."
Rand Paul also keeps flip-flopping on the question of a federally mandated minimum wage.
And, just yesterday Rand Paul made this incredibly silver spoon elitist comment on CNN "It's not that we will have equal outcome. In fact, the American dream is that those who work harder and those who merit it will have unequal outcomes, that they will gain more of whatever the American dream is."
Those who "merit" it? MERIT???
Give me a break.
By the way, brings us back to your earlier point about how we should be sooo grateful accepting a wage LESS than our previous job while the cost of living keeps increasing exponentially to the benefit of corporations.
Hey Senator! How about we change it so that EVERY Senator and Congresscritter works for the federal minimum wage? I work for minimum wage on my non-farm job, my farm job works out to be about 30 cents an hour last time I figured it out.
Oh! And NO benefits! No vacation, no sick days, and CERTAINLY no health insurance or pension. Let's see how much you "merit" anything.
And that brings me back in a roundabout way to Independence Day.
In the "old country" my ancestors came to America fleeing monarchies and dictatorships and lives of heart-aching, back-breaking toil for no reward. (Oops! I guess there's that's pesky "merit" thing...)
It's a very sad state of affairs that the USA I grew up in fought huge battles for equal rights, for equal opportunity for EVERY American, but the GOP is more than delighted to hand over "independence" to corporations and Wall Street.
Still, it remains "Independence Day" for me, no matter how some on the extreme right want to rewrite American history.

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