Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Howl From the Great Recession

Well, my dears -- a Happy New Year to You!  It is the 5th Day of Christmas as well -- our holidays have been very very interesting the last three years.  Our little family has descended along with hundreds of thousands of Americans from a secure life of relative ease to poverty -- I think an income of $2500 a month defines poverty pretty well here in Marin among two people.  What is our Christmas like now?

When I was what you might consider "well-off" I can remember one year exhausting myself in a joyful confusion of purchasing and wrapping so many gifts that they piled high on the floor spilling way into the middle of the room.  It was such a thrill to give my children such pleasure.  That was the apex of my maddened gift-giving days -- fun, but way over-the-top and absolutely tiring excess.

My boyfriend of the time spent much of the week in bed in an allergic reaction to Christmas; I took care of his brother, two children and my own.  I remember commenting on how utterly exhausted I felt; he looked me and said, to my shock and dismay: "What did you do?" with a sneer I will always remember; our days were numbered!

But things DID change after that -- I had peaked.  I always tried to make my girls happy, but the last three  years have been very different.  Since the onset of the Great Recession we have had little to share materially -- this year  my daughters, on Christmas Day itself, cadged a free tree from the tree sellers.  It sat unadorned throughout the usual Christmas night "Orphans of the Storm" party we have.  The next day it was festooned with carnival beads and it stands downstairs now.

This was our third Christmas of limited means; my oldest daughter pulled gifts from her magical traveling hat for the last few years, but I had little left to give. This was our first year without stockings or presents; nobody had anything for anybody as our resources are so limited.

We put together a feast for our friends anyway, and our usual multi-generational blast was had.  Definitely a night of glorious gaiety -- oh, my adopted "children" make me laugh in the face of anything!  The spirit of Christmas prevailed!  The true spirit, that "god bless us EVERY one" spirit was in full force that night

But this time it was different; who knows where we will be next year. After 25 years of living here my home is in jeopardy, in foreclosure with no sale date set.  I am terrified. As a woman with bipolar I have done EVERYTHING the manuals say can happen to an untreated bipolar patient up until homelessness -- I haven't gotten there yet.  I am fighting to save my home and sanity -- a loss so gigantic would be mind-threatening to me.

And so they wound us, household by household -- the banks and the speculators who created this problem are off the hook in our new Plutocracy while those of us who belong squarely in the middle class have been reduced to poverty and begging for services.  How does that sit with you all? 

It is not sitting well with me.  I am so angry at the banks, at the financial institutions and the lack of leadership that it takes to make sure your population doesn't go hungry and want shelter.  It is clear that thousands upon thousands of us are losing our homes to faceless corporations who put profit above ALL human decency.

Town by town, person by person, there are these stories.  No gifts, no heat for us for 3 years now, bills we can't pay mounting up and NO PLAN B.  I am terrified, America, along with a good many others of you.  But more than that, I am outraged.  I read an article I'd written years and years ago predicting this economic downturn if Bush-co's policies were followed -- I was amazed at my own prescience.  It sure didn't protect me.  So now I am drowning while friends and family look on helplessly.  Or so it seems.

Only Time will tell.  God Bless Us, Everyone!  From the most humble to the most "exalted" we are all made from the same energy, we are connected, we are Light and Energy and Love.  This world is an illusion and I must remember to accept where this child of the Divine is placed by a world out of her control.

God/Goddess help us.  It is dark, the light returns.  We are frightened, but we proceed.  That's all we can do -- but my fellow travelers, those others lost and afraid -- we are together in this and must make our voices of pain and rage and terror felt in this land of people enduring the unendurable suffering the Corporations and Banks of this land have caused.