I really have not been as politically active as I should be. I went about my life and never really thought all much about until the presidential elections. I never voted in off year elections before. I didn't even know the names of my state representatives. But I am learning.
The other day some guy that works for Obama made a statement that people don't vote on the unemployment number. This man is either blind or a liar. Or, maybe both. I can tell you that people do vote on the unemployment number. I will be voting on it. 18,000 new jobs were created last month. I have been looking for a full time job for a long time now. I have applied for jobs that I am very over qualified for. I have worked retail for the past three years even though I am halfway through getting my masters degree. I made a choice to take that retail position instead of taking unemployment. I wanted to stay in a groove of working as opposed to staying at home all the time. I was a little afraid of getting lazy. I wanted to keep my mind busy. I think that is good for people.
I have tried to do everything the right way, and yet I am still homeless. I don't show up in the unemployment numbers because I have a job. A job that gave me a paycheck a week ago that was a little over $100 per week. Not something that anyone who has pay rent can live on.
I spend all of my time in public places as I don't have a private place to go to. People see me sleeping in my car. People see me changing my clothes in public restrooms. When I get desperate I will panhandle for money. I am never aggressive, I stand with a sign and sometimes people will give me some money. But generally, I don't get very much.
I think I have figured out why too. I am not dirty and I don't smell. I am young and I am white. I don't look like someone who belongs on the streets. Not because of my color, but my wardrobe does still show signs of middle class America. I admit it, when I made a good salary I bought nice clothes. I didn't spend my money in a crazy fashion, so I would treat myself to clothes that I found to be fashionable and suited my professional job. I have a lot of clothing from Ann Taylor and Bloomingdales. They have the look of being of quality and somewhat expensive. I don't have the money now to go buy other clothes, so these are what I continue to wear.
I am the worst nightmare of people. The suburban person who had a stable life and healthy bank account who is now on the streets. The person who doesn't qualify for government help. I am single without children. No help for me. I am not complaining, I am just stating the facts. I am on my own. Which is fine with me. Because ultimately I have to get myself out of this. I am determined to do that. I will find a way to get out of this as soon as possible.
But, tell me how I am not supposed to be discouraged when only 18,000 jobs were created across the entire country? Tell me how I am not supposed to feel like I will be on the streets for a long period of time. Tell me who I am not supposed to think this may be life forever now?
Does this stupid man not think that the people who notice my asleep in my car don't ask themselves if this could happen to them if they lost their job tomorrow? It isn't just about the 9.1% of the unemployed (and we all know that number is higher) it is about the rest of the people who are terrified that they end up like me. They may not start out with a five digit savings account like I did. They many have almost nothing, or even worse have nothing in savings. They may be living paycheck to paycheck unable to save anything. A loss of a paycheck will send them reeling. They may have family and friends to help them out, they may not. But either way, these people are scared.
I hear people all the time talking about the things that they can't afford to buy. Granted it is trivial compared to what I can't afford to buy, but it is important to them all the same. People can't afford to go on vacation. When the vacation spots are not filled up the people who depend on the income become closer to being me. When people don't go out to eat as often, the waitstaff become closer to being me. When people don't go to the movie theatre, fewer people have a part time job opportunity to help them put something in the bank for a rainy day.
If this president and his staff don't think that this number matters, then they certainly don't deserve to be re-elected. Nor did they deserve to be elected in the first place.
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.