One girlfriend of mine has experienced job loss three times in less than a year and a half. Her husband has been laid off that many times, and he is a contractor who does not qualify for unemployment. When he loses his job, they go from living paycheck to paycheck, to terrified. Her minimum wage job at the mall can't support her family of five, let alone pay the bills. And recently, in the midst of all of their turmoil, their only car was totaled. It just keeps piling on for them.
Another friend of mine works, again, full time for minimum wage. Her husband has been out of work for months. They are struggling to feed their three children, pay their bills, and are unable to pay their mortgage at this time. Their once certain future seems damned. She is stressed, and depressed. Their marriage is suffering. How could it not, right? Even their kids are feeling it. A once healthy, happy family, now left floundering.
From writing here, in this space, I have met so many people going through the same story. Just under a different roof. People approach me everyday (thanks to that terribly unflattering photo of me!) and share what is going on in their life. They tell me I could be writing about them. And really, I am. I tell the story of my own families struggles, and joys here, but really, I am talking about all of us.
All of us wanting our fair shot. All of us who are responsible homeowners. All of us who work harder than ever, for less than we have ever had to show for it. And all of us who lay in bed at night, and think not of ourselves, but our children. Where will we wind up? What will become of us? How much harder can we work, to make it all better?
While I know I am in good company, regarding this whole mess, and my families story could be any body's story, and sadly, is millions of families, and individuals, story, someone reached out to me last week, and told me that what I write about here is getting terribly annoying.
Bingo! It sure is! I am tired of it too. Really, I would love nothing more than to see every body's quality of life improve. I would love it if the bank that is illegally foreclosing on my home would take a good look at the very contracts we signed with them, and adhered to, and realized that they are violating their own agreement with us! I would love to write about not just my own families triumphs, and successes, but every suffering person I know.
This same person advised me to "pack it up, move somewhere more affordable, and get on with life!" While I appreciate their suggestions, I can't even afford to rent a moving truck!Why would I walk away from a home that my husband and I worked so hard for. My mortgage payment is less than a rental! The mere notion of just "giving up" saddened me. Sorry pal. That is just not in my makeup.
To suggest throwing in the towel when I know how wronged we have been seems cowardly to me. That would be the easy thing to do. Walking away from my debts would be the irresponsible thing to do, when all we want to do is pay them. Sticking debt to others would be adding to an already massive problem. Fighting to pay for what is mine, is, in my opinion, the only option.
You see, my situation is what is happening everywhere. A snowball effect, that we, and by we, I mean the millions of people suffering in this financial fallout, did not create. Yet it is here, on top us, and we are all rolling down the hill, crammed in the nucleus of that snowball, racing at top speed, unable to stop. And it is annoying! It is tiring! It is downright maddening! It sucks!
But there are tons of us. And I am hoping with every bit of might that I have within me, that the powers that be are listening. That someone in Washington D.C. is really hearing us. All of us who are just getting by, day to day, and trying not to think about the future, because the future seems so frightening. So uncertain.
In the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama said that it was time for everyone to pay their fair share, including the wealthy, in order for everyone to have a level playing field for economic success. My heart leapt as he said this. I thought, yes! Why should all the families I know of, my own included, pay for the greed and irresponsibility of others? Why should all of us, trying to play by the rules, play with others, who the rules don't apply for? Is that fair? I thought that was how it supposed to be all along. When did that change, and why did it?
He also said that the American dream, (you remember that one...the one about working hard, and being able to raise your family, provide a home for them, and get your kids off to college, and then retire, and have a life! yeah...that one!) is a promise that needs to be kept. The American dream is simply not dead.
I have held that belief for so long. And at times, I have all but considered it off the table. But maybe, someone is listening. Maybe, this could really happen. Maybe we can all get on with our lives, and our hard work will pay off. And it won't be so scary anymore.
For all of us.