We all have them, the neighbors that are like the "redheaded step-children". You might know what I mean, and if not, I know I have described them in the past. I live in a more rural area, a redneck type of community, and yes, I sometimes consider myself a redneck. That country music loving, leave us alone and I will leave you alone sort of individual.
I have lived in my home for some 28 plus years, and my "neighbors" have lived here equally as long. We have been there for one another, through and through. Despite that, we have totally opposite political philosophies when it comes toward "party", and most especially when it comes to liberal/conservative viewpoints, even though we sometime agree on things.
Several nights ago, I offered a diary about my Patrick, but I won't go there again. Instead, I want to talk about my neighbors, offering comfort to me, while we had a conversation about my love, my loss, and me saying let's talk about other things to distract me.
So we did. It is not a surprise we just drifted off into a conversation about the economy, the state of our nation, and of course the factors that have always come into our discussion did once again. I am a liberal, they are conservative (sort of), and we never vote the same. I read a lot, follow the news a lot, try to understand the issues, and they just plod along, day after day, offering comfort to people like me who have been their friend and neighbor for 28 years.
I doubt they really are any different from the average American; i.e. uninformed, except for the personal situation of themselves, and the lives of those they love. If it weren't for my dedication in the past toward reading as much as I could, and being as informed as I might, I suppose I would be just like most everyone else (but then there are people like "kos" writers who make sure I know). Sometimes I wish I could just be like everyone else, but I can't and I won't, and I have always been thankful for this site.
In any event, in summarizing some of what we talked about over coffee last night, while I tried to engage my mind elsewhere over my personal grief, it went something like this:
Him: Obama is trying to make sure people who don't want to work don't have to work, giving them everything, like money. He is a socialist.
Me: What do you mean.
Him: $13.00 a week to people who don't work, reducing payroll taxes.
Me: Actually that was income tax relief. He did discuss during the campaign reducing income taxes for 95% of Americans. Did you know that the income disparity had grown so much in our country that some 90 to 95% of income is earned by the top 5%. (My mind is not totally focused on remembering statistics, but I believe this is close.)
Me (continuing on): This is sort of like the end of the 19th century, pre-depression, but even worse.
Me (continuing on): Did you know that people earning over approximately $95,000 don't pay payroll taxes on income over that amount and that Obama wants those earning over $250,000 to start paying payroll taxes again.
Her: I didn't know that. (Really acts surprised, while he keeps going on...
Him: They (the government) are taxing little people. A carton of milk keeps going up in price, and it is all taxes.
Me: There is no Federal sales tax, and the price of milk keeps going up because manufacturers are raising the price.
Me: Did you know that prior to the gas price increases we saw last year, manufacturers were increasing prices while selling you less in volume, and then when the gas prices increased they raised the prices again?
Her: Nodding her head in agreement.
Him: I don't think Obama can solve our crisis.
Me: I don't know if he can, but things were a mess long before Obama became President, and at least he is trying.
Him: I voted for McCain, but even during the election, I knew he didn't have a clue what people like us were going through, I was just scared of Obama.
Her: Nodding her head in agreement.
Him: You know, it took me nearly 2 years before I was approved for Social Security Disability, this after 3 surgeries. I am in such pain, and they can't fix it, and I cannot afford my medicine. I am not even sure I want to live this like.
Her: It only took 6 months once we knew for sure. Those damn doctors told me you would be back to work in 6 months after the first surgery.
(I am skipping over my discussion about the VA and the tears that followed.)
Him: The working people need help in this country. Neither party is fixing it, they just keep pushing free trade.
Me: I agree.
Her: We had to borrow more money on our house while we were waiting for him to go back to work, and then for the disability social security to kick in. Now we owe more money than the house is worth, and the mortgage company won't help us.
Me: Obama just delivered a new plan to help distressed homeowners. I have been too distracted to follow it closely, but I will see if I can find more info and call you tomorrow.
Her: Thank you.
Me: Thanks for the coffee, conversation and distraction.
They both hugged me, and I cried again. They will be coming to the service tomorrow. We all have our troubles.
Today, I found the site about the homeowner mortgage plan, and I called her, telling her the site, but saying I hadn't explored it in total. She told me she would check it out.
Sometimes we just aren't so different. A helping hand, a kind shoulder, a box of tissues, and just being neighborly, even though we won't ultimately agree, brings us more together than not...