I rarely blog about politics, but that doesn't mean I don't take an interest in what goes
on nationally and locally in NC. Having been homeless, received Food Stamps, and attempted
to get subsidized housing, I've followed the antics of the NC legislature for some time
Since the Republicans took over complete control of NC politics, law after law has been
passed whose only affect is to make it harder to be poor, jobless and/or homeless. In 2011
I followed the Occupy movement, not as a participant, but as an observer, taking videos of
protests that even now are on my youtube channel. I thought the protests were valid and
were a way to show how unhappy the protesters were with the status quo.
Sadly nothing major came out of that movement. Instead when the legislature began to churn
out anti-poor laws, the movement transformed into Moral Mondays: protests every
while the legislature was in session. I never got a chance to participate in those
protests. I was jobless and living in the shelter, where if I wanted to get fed and have a
bed, I needed to be in the shelter by.
But those protests go on, and arrests come almost weekly. The legislature tried to change
the rules so that they couldn't be as vocal as they had been. The courts denied that rule,
and as such, arrests are still being made, in relatively small amounts.
I would not say I have ever been politically-active, but that doesn't mean I don't care
about the direction this state is going. I like living in NC. The weather is relatively
mild, the trees are beautiful, most of the people have a form of southern charm, and there
is the kind of technology here that I can sink my teeth into (well, if I still had
teeth!). I don't want to leave.
And yet the state is simply becoming too hostile to those of us who are dreamers; who care
less about money and power and more about art, writing and, you know, Liberal things, like
housing and feeding the poor, helping the sick and injured.
Even with a job that has become full-time, I find it hard to make ends meet without
turning to help. I'm so tempted to temporarily move back into the shelter to put together
enough money so I can find an apartment. But then I realized there are people much worse
off than me who need that bed more. People made that way by laws passed by Republicans,
either in NC or Federal, who seem to go out of their way to make the poor suffer even more
than they already do.
So my questions are: a) How can the poor help themselves if they keep getting pushed down
by Republicans and b) what are the rest of us going to do about it?
My stepfather has to be a Republican, because his philosophy even before my mother died
was that if I get into trouble, I need to work my way out of it. After she died and I
became homeless (entirely my fault, by the way), I asked him for help, and was turned
down, saying the gravy train was over. He'd rather his stepson live on the streets than
lend a hand, and this is symptomatic of the Republican attitude.
Because no one who works hard should ever be unemployed.
Because if you can't find a job you're not working hard enough.
Back in the late 80's I attended a series of courses that taught electronics at a local
'college'. I applied for a student loan to cover the $2500 tuition for a 4 month course.
When I was done it helped me land a job troubleshooting slot machines and video gaming
equipment. Unfortunately the education I received wasn't really adequate for the position
and that job fell away.
But the student loan remained.
Over the years since then, going from job to job, I have paid what I can afford on that
loan, defaulted when I could not pay, and have seen the loan sold at least twice. The
amount of interest charged on this loan far exceeds the original $2500 I took out. In fact
the current value of the loan is around $8,000, and I've probably paid $5,000 on it since
I bring this up in this blog to point out that I tried to do things the way the
Republicans want me to. I tried to get an education, and partially succeeded, but because
I never really completed a Bachelor's Degree (I have an Associate's), my ability to find a
well-paying job was hampered, and now I have to compete with students half my age with an
up-to-date education on paper (though my worldly knowledge is vast).
And to top it off, all my tax refunds, Federal and State, get confiscated to pay off that
loan. Worse yet, the interest exceeds my ability to pay it off, and I never will pay it
off unless something miraculous happens and I sell a script or a book.
But don't feel bad for me. I'm poor and I deserve the kind of treatment I'm getting. Just
ask the Republicans.