“…Ball of confusion, that’s what the world is today, hey hey.”
These lyrics from the pen of Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, though more than 50 years old, won’t leave my mind today. This powerful classic doesn’t specifically name today’s situations, but similar ones: unemployment, virtual versus in-person school, deaths are climbing/ miscounted, the country’s doing well/it’s headed for the tank, wear a mask-don’t wear a mask…and yet, every day, along with our neighbors and friends, we get up, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going.
I believe wall to wall media coverage, conflicting messages, economic wrangling and second guessing is to blame for the angst we feel as we try to discover facts and context to see where the truth starts and propaganda ends.
As the $600 unemployment boost ended July 31, I hoped that the Congress, the Senate, and President Trump would put aside their differences and do what needed to be done to keep the economy moving. I never imagined a conversation about workers being discouraged to work. Really?
Almost all the working people I know are either working several jobs to make ends meet, are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are underemployed, or living from paycheck to paycheck. In what universe will $600 make you decide to stay home and luxuriate in riches? I wonder if Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and the policymakers having this conversation tried living on $600 a week, taking care of a family, paying rent or mortgage, saving some of what they get, and getting rich like fat cats?
I doubt there is one in the bunch.
If unemployed workers received $6,000 a month to stay home and chill, I could see that being a deterrent to work but the powers that be haven’t taken into account the real world and those who live in it. The stories abound about people who are on the eve of eviction because they can’t work and are trying to feed their families on Tennessee’s $120 a week unemployment and whatever else they can scrounge up. When the moratorium on evictions ended, so did any hope of maintaining their homes.
I have never lived in my car but on occasion I have made a quick clothing change in one and it wasn’t pretty. The long-term effects of homelessness scars children, thwarts academic progress, and the depression and hopelessness that comes with not having somewhere of your own to go is too heavy a burden for children to bear.
When the lines for food stretched for miles, many were the newly poor– families who have never had to ask for help before and wouldn’t now if there had been any other alternative. Yes, we work for the pay but we also work because it gives us dignity, self-reliance, and pride in taking care of ourselves and our families.
The Congress doesn’t have to be filled with rocket scientists to understand this—they simply must put people before party and stop blaming each other As far as I’m concerned, there is enough blame to go around, and I’ve said before, if this is the best they can do, we should send them all home and start fresh.
If you’re wondering what the lesson for today is, it is this: contact all your representatives and voice your concerns. We, the people, have power we’re not using, and our lack of participation is not helpful. Speak up, stand up, and remember there is no public forum without you, the public. Oh, and lend a hand when and where you can.
How do you view the puzzle pieces the world is placing in front of you lately? Share your insights with me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.