This is installment four of my melancholy posts for this week.
I know there are those who lament how bad things are right now. Unemployment is higher than it should be and many are stuck in low paying jobs that are way below their capabilities. Due to corporate greed and the overwhelming wealth that is stagnated at the top it now takes two jobs to replace the one needed just thirty years ago. Yes, we are living in some pretty tough times, that is unless you compare it to most of history past.
If you want to understand how good we have it you need to study history on how it was in the past. Lets do a little traveling backwards in recent history:
- There was the pre-Civil Rights era where if African-Americans were lynched for simply touching a white women. They were stuck in vastly inferior schools with almost no hope of ever advancing up the economic ladder. They were denied their constitutional rights and made to sit at the back of the bus. Plainly speaking they were second class citizens if even that.
- Going back a few decades earlier there was the Great Depression where unemployment was several times greater than now. People were literally dying in the streets as there was little to no safety net to hold them up. No Medicare, Medicaid, or unemployment benefits. It would take Democratic presidents in the future to make those things happen.
- Going back a few more decades there was the age of the Robber Barons where people were forced to work 80 hours per week in very unsafe conditions for not even enough money to feed their families. There was virtually no regulation of the business sector. No one to represent workers. Teddy Roosevelt would later make those things happen.
- Then before that there was slavery which was the norm in this country for more than 200 years. I can’t imagine living with the thought of being owned by someone else!
When we look at those times and so many many before, we should realize that things are tough right now but we have made great accomplishments to get to where we are today. In the end everything is relative.
But that doesn’t help the guy who has been looking for something more than minimum wages for the last six months and now with his unemployment insurance being held up by a bunch of perhaps well meaning but certainly misdirected ultra-conservatives in congress.