|A friend of a friend of a friend...I love the expression on her face, and even more so, the simplicity of her message|
I watch the Occupy Wall Street movement with admiration and gratitude. It is a strange time financially and politically. I always thought I would grow up, buy a house, live a sweet life with 2.5 kids and a dog. Despite earning a very good salary and working 40+ hours a week, I cannot afford a home in San Francisco, and I cannot afford to move from San Francisco until I pay off all of my debt that I have accumulated putting myself through school and taking care of myself since I was 17 years old. In an effort to provide the biggest bang for our buck, Nascar and I have become very "consumer conscious." We live with a roommate (this saves money and provides even more fun), we only have the use of one car, and we track all of the money we spend. We are slowly releasing our dream of being homeowners right now, and I am trying to convince Nascar that our freedom will taste just as sweet as our roots. I am lucky to earn the money I do, but considering it comes with a 13 hour work day (4 days per week) in a system that endured 27 million dollars worth of cuts last year, it is sometimes hard to remember to be grateful for the job I have.
But grateful I am. As a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital, I care for folks ravaged by poverty, homelessness, and mental illness daily. I believe most of the folks I work for are forgotten by Wall Street, or dare I say, ignored.
My mother pointed out to me that in generations past, it was the Church who financed care of the sick, provided places for poverty stricken. Now, we depend on the government to do this. I agree with her, we do depend on the government, mainly because the church has become profit seeking as well. See this article from Sunday's CNN website about how the some of the Church's most powerful leaders choose to ignore GREED as part of the blame for this society debacle.
In my estimation, both the government and the Church are ignoring folks who need the assistance. Add that to the fact that the number of folks needing assistance is growing from the ill or poverty stricken to the Everyday Joe or Hard Working Mama - and you have amassed a large number of beleaguered and pissed off peoples.
So to all of you marching, chanting, carrying signs, I say thank you. I spent the last 5 days caring for the first victims of this robbery by Wall Street: the under or non-insured, the mentally ill, and the weak. We are young, strong, and smart, if anyone can change this, we can, because:
Many of us have grown up with the smell of desperation close by. Gone are the days of economically feasible education followed by success and happiness (I think the last of those days were the 1980's). How many out there reading this have had homelessness strike their family or themselves? Who is one paycheck away from catastrophe? I know many young people think they choose poverty, but the truth is, we choose to be consumer conscious. True poverty comes with an air of desperation and an ache for some of life's basic needs (shelter, food, or water). Choosing to be consumer conscious is a great first step in recognizing the truths, but don't forget that we represent more than just ourselves in this fight. Think about those with even less opportunity than us, let's make this new reality true for everybody, including the worst offs and cast offs of our society.
Thank you all. From the bottom of my heart.
For actively pursuing a better future for my family and for our world.