I've not been around these parts much anymore, not since life got tougher and it took increasingly longer hours of work to make ends meet. I've done nothing to help Obama, aside from cheer him on and pray he wins. Surviving alone took up all of my leftover time that didn't go to kids or pets, and when the grocery bill became too much, I had a friend in far-off Canada who brought tears to my eyes by sending an unexpected $120 through Western Union. No matter what, though, I thought we'd survive.
Everyone thinks that: we got through before, surely we'll make it through this. Whatever this is. After all, I have a job, a house, a life for the past ten years that I've come to just assume would continue, unabated.
That was before my boss came in last week and told us she lost her contract and everyone was out of a job. Just like that. Boom. I'd only been there three weeks, having left a night job in favor of working normal hours again, sure that the legal field was recession-proof.
Like most Americans, I had no savings. Worse, after falling behind, I had no credit either. Add to that some medical problems over the summer and I had a mountain of new debt.
Having switched jobs, I saw what the market was like in September. Compared to right now, however, it was flush. In a few days time I've sent out 80 resumes and had about four responses -- and from what I understand, should be happy to have responses at all. The few employers that have contacted me pay about half of what I was making, or they're commission-based sales. Great market for that.
And, I suppose, we'll make it through this - just not so intact.
Today, my 15 year old daughter said: we need an exit strategy.
It's likely we will lose the house. Either I can pay for heat and electricity or I can pay for the house, and food, but not all of the above. We've been here ten years -- I bought it in the late Clinton years, when a $20,000 salary was more than enough to pay the monthly mortgage and still eat.
I know I am not alone. So many people have lost their homes, their jobs, just wiped out by the tsunami of Bush's bad economics. And there is some comfort in that. Just as there's comfort in knowing I have family, that I can live with my 80-something parents - for awhile, anyway, as need will dictate.
But I simply cannot believe what we have come to, all of us. Even though I saw it coming - and you saw it coming - in 2004, 2005, 2006. . .it's pitiful and crude what poverty does to people, what desperation robs from a person's soul. I feel vulnerable, because for the first time in ten years, I truly AM.
More than houses or jobs, what George Bush's America cost me - and so many others like me - is our spirits, the sense of believing that what good you put out into the world will be returned to you in multiples. The sense of having a safety net, a cushion, a solid place in the daily world we could count on belonging. I've been robbed of my sense of humor and the hope that carried me through plenty of other lean times. There have been other tough times. Being a single mother, that was always to be expected. But there were never desperate times without hope. Now, for me and so many others, that's what's left.
More than any other thing, this is George Bush's domestic legacy. We are what he created and is leaving behind as he swaggers off into some prop sunset, everything more than a little worse for having been exposed to him.
EDIT: To all of you who have encouraged me, or sent email, or sent money, thank you so much. I'm touched beyond words. Just knowing you are there, and real, and part of the progressive movement that is needed now more than ever has really helped brighten the day. It reminds me that houses are just buildings and stuff is just "stuff" but people are the glue that holds all of us together. Thank you again. Let's do something about getting together a registry of NE Ohioans, and pulling together to help our fellow Kossacks in need. Things are going to get much worse before they get better, and just having support from a community makes a huge difference.