When floods swept through Tennessee, lives were changed. What was taken for granted in many ways was gone. The state was optimistic though but the reality of having to start over impacted many Tennesseans lives and now that’s it’s not front page news we must not forget that this situation is nowhere near over.
Much can be said about the recent recession as well. We hear that numbers are slowly creeping up but what I don’t hear in mainstream media is that even though unemployment numbers have slowed down or ceased in many cases, the harsh truth is that people who once had full-time employment with benefits have had to take underpaying jobs, sometimes at wages that they haven’t seen in years.
Benefits? What’s that?
We hear of the Jonas Brothers, of how people love/hate (candidate’s name here) but what I’m not hearing is that we have a new normal. Challenges that several generations of hard-working people were not prepared to deal with. We hear of the us/them factor. I have heard repeatedly the line “no one cares about us” not only in rural areas but in urban ones as well. Some candidates during this campaign season are running on platforms that openly mock and fear monger religious belief. We hear about issues such as these and not of infant mortality? Are babies only of value until they are born? And women’s issues are under attack, but it’s not “sexy” until you have people yelling on television from opposing viewpoints where the original message was initially and irrevocably lost. Daily we read of how corporations must be taken care of but small businesses are the ones that employee most of our working population in this country and this state.
Wedge issues are toxic. They infect the mind and the soul in our society. People need answers. They need to feel that they are of value. Why can’t we focus on how to work together instead of it being a competition of who has it worse off than the other guy. Why can’t we focus on how neighbors, communities and strong leadership can create stronger bonds for our future instead of who can outsnark the next guy. Political strategy only helps those seeking office, it does very little to help people that have sacrificed and lost everything.
Much can be said about the human condition, we adapt, we evolve and we deal with what’s put in front of us. It would just be nice though if leaders got out of their boxes and realized that real Tennesseans are suffering and experiencing loss. The new normal could be an opportunity but a creeping cynicism within my soul tells me that won’t be the case.