Friday, April 28, 2006


Living In A Republican World.

I was talking to a man just yesterday. He's a very simple man, he's even been called a fool.

He's got a job that pays 9 dollars an hour. He's been working there for more than 10 years and hasn't ever gotten a raise. His employer is now hiring people to do his job for 7 dollars and hour and considers him to be overpaid.

His employer told him that he should quit, that he should go find another job. But this man isn't really qualified to do any other job. 9 dollars an hour is about the best he'll ever be able to do. If he quits now the best he could do is to find a job that pays 6 or 7 dollars an hour. He's not an educated man and never will be, but he's smart enough to understand that.

So his employer has cut the other people on his shift and my friend now does the job the employer used to pay 5 people to do. He's also not allowed to work any overtime but he's expected to keep up with what it used to take 5 people to do.

He also regularly sees homeless people coming to the back door of the place where he works asking for food. He's got lots of leftovers that he could give them but his employer told him that all the leftovers must be thrown down the garbage disposal. His employer told him that if he gives them any food he'll be fired.

He says he's getting a second job now, to pay for the same things his first job used to cover. His rent has gone up, his electric bill has gone through the roof, even food is getting more expensive. Adjusted for inflation, this man has actually earned less every year since he started his job.

He says that America wasn't like this when he first came. He says that America is becoming more and more like Haiti where he grew up. He doesn't understand what's happening to him or why people like him who work hard every day are getting poorer and poorer. He doesn't understand why he sees more and more homeless people.

This simple and good hearted man looked at me and asked me to explain why things are the way the are. I couldn't. Not in any way that he would really understand.

I do know the man who owns the business where he works. He's very wealthy. He'll spend more on a single meal than this man will earn in a week. He's a die hard Republican who loves George W. Bush. He's also a very good Christian who believes that if you work hard in America you can achieve anything. He believes that the American Dream is still a reality.

I think I know which one is the fool.

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