Monday, September 3, 2012

Three Years Later ...

Today is Labor Day. It is a holiday that has always been significant for me but for different reasons at different stages of my life.

When I was a child, it meant that the summer was over (even if the summer weather was not), and it was time to go back to the classroom. When I was 7 or 8, I grieved for the loss of my freedom.

As I got older, Labor Day became a three–day weekend, an opportunity to relax and take a day off — and, perchance, watch some football.

It took on a whole new meaning for me when I was terminated from my full–time job four years ago — especially after the economic collapse of September 2008, which followed a couple of weeks later.

The next year, in 2009, unemployment was on a steady upward trajectory. A few days before Labor Day, federal figures showed joblessness at 9.7%. Unemployment topped out a few months later at 10.6%.

All that day, I watched my TV, and I listened to my radio, and I waited for the president to say something — anything — to encourage people who had been looking for work throughout the first year of his presidency.

Some, like me, had been looking for work since before he took the oath of office. And I know I needed encouragement.

But it never came.

So I wrote this.

Barack Obama was more interested in stumping for his health care act and then secluding himself to work on the televised address he planned to give to the schoolchildren of America the next day.

I will never forget the feeling of utter abandonment that I felt on that day. I did not vote for Obama in 2008, but I hoped for his success — because I knew that, if he succeeded, I would succeed, too.

There was a lot of fear and anxiety in the land in September 2009.

But Obama cared more about adolescents than out–of–work Americans.

He lost me — permanently — on that occasion. I wouldn't be surprised if he lost a lot more folks that day. Guess we'll find out in nine weeks.

And now, here we are, three years later. And the president wants to make a big show of how concerned he is with the plight of the unemployed.

But what he really wants is our votes so he can keep his job for four more years. That would give him more flexibility — and those inconvenient unemployed and underemployed Americans can be forgotten once again.

Today I watched — with something of a sense of bewilderment — as the president told people at a campaign rally in Ohio that things were better for the unemployed under his leadership.

As if 8.3% unemployment — and it might be higher when the report comes out on Friday, less than 12 hours after Obama delivers his acceptance speech (for which the NFL moved its season opener so as not to cause a conflict) — is something to brag about.

Well, I guess it is — if you have nothing better.

And, apparently, Obama does not.

I guess things have come full circle — because, once again, I find myself grieving my lost freedom.

1 comment:

Jeff Giles said...

Great article David. I understand where you were fully. Those who did not lose their job and went through a long period of unemployment will never understand. It is a brutal thing to go through. It affects you permanently. Obama just does not get it. Never has and seemingly never will.