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Name: BZX v2477
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: A nearby galaxy
Member since: Fri May 17, 2019, 10:40 AM
Number of posts: 117

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Where is the sacrifice?

In 1941, the Japanese empire attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States quickly declared war, entering World War II. President Roosevelt asked all Americans for sacrifice to the war effort, and thus, the Greatest Generation was born. Sacrifice, something most Americans knew all too well during the Great Depression, became a unifying cause. Men and women joined the armed forces in droves, and those that didn’t, peopled the assembly lines at home. We were no longer making Fords, Chevys and Chryslers, we were making tanks, airplanes and guns. We saw things we had begun to take for granted such as coffee, sugar, shortening, meat and dairy, all rationed. We donated metal, old tires, fuel, coal, shoes, anything that would support the war effort. We endured blackouts and huddled around the radio as a family, desperate for any news. We leaned on our president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and knew that during his “fireside chats” we were sharing an experience with most of America. And most of all, we dreaded the sight of a military vehicle at our door with an officer and a priest or rabbi, bearing tragic news and trying to offer us some measure of consolation amidst unbearable grief. And in the end, thanks to the shared sacrifice of all Americans, regardless of whether it was charging an enemy line or inspecting the guns, ammo and boots with which that charge was made, we prevailed. To quote from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ “on V-E day we wept and prayed; on V-J day, we wept and prayed.”

But then something happened. Korea was almost an afterthought. Vietnam was such a bitterly divisive conflict that Americans simply didn’t have a shared interest, and its failure haunts us to this day. On 9-11 we were briefly united again - we were all Americans, all New Yorkers, but where was the sacrifice then? George W. Bush didn’t ask us to sacrifice, he asked us to keep shopping. And now, here we are, with another global conflict. Many of us have been sacrificing, but again, the country is divided. There is no shared American effort, though there has been in much of the rest of the world. We’re not rationing food, we’re having it delivered to our doorsteps. We’re not having blackouts, we’re going out to bars and beaches. We can’t even unite around wearing masks - what must the Greatest Generation, those who are still with us, think? The idea of going to a city council meeting and shouting “you can’t ration my food - you’re taking away my freedom!” would never even have occurred to them amidst the carnage of the global conflagration enveloping the world.

In the meantime, we’re not treating all Americans with the respect and dignity they deserve. We’re killing African-Americans and challenging their right to live in a world we all need to share. I’m saying ‘we’ not because it’s all of us, but because it’s everywhere, and that impugns us all. “Black Lives Matter” should be a rallying cry for all Americans, but we have a president who calls it racist and retweets videos of idiots shouting “white power.” We all know the president saw it. We all know it reflects how he truly feels, as does every other racist, misogynistic, mendacious and hateful thing he says and does. The United States of America was born of a revolution, and strengthened by shared sacrifice, and our president is willing to look the other way when the lives of our soldiers are taken by bounty hunters funded by an enemy of freedom and Democracy. Have we really fallen so far?

Yes, we have. The question becomes ‘what are we going to do about it?’

The smartest man in the USA

Plane with 5 passengers on board - Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, the Pope and a ten year-old school boy. The plane is about to crash and there are only 4 parachutes.

Trump said “I need one. I’m the smartest man in the USA and I’m needed to sort out the world.” He takes one and jumps.

Boris said “I’m needed to sort out Britain.” He takes one and jumps.

The Pope said “I need one, as the world needs the Catholic Church.” He takes one and jumps.

Angela said to the 10 year-old “you can have the last parachute. I’ve lived my life; yours is just beginning.”

The 10 year-old replied “don’t worry, there are 2 parachutes left. The smartest man in the USA took my school bag.”

I was laid off after 15 years at my job.

I do tech support in Silicon Valley. I worked in the office for 8 years until my disability became so bad I could no longer drive. My company let me work from home, and 6 hours a day of that is from bed. Until last week, I felt awesome. My employer paid me well, and I got regular stock grants which vested piecemeal, usually 1/4 a year, starting a year after the grant. And I thought I was making everything work, despite being barely able to walk.

Then I got the news - laid off, effective March 15, on the same day that 3 VPs were hired or promoted. Not just me, either, but over 100 of my friends and colleagues, most in customer service. I'm 56 years old. I have no ability to do an interview for a new position in person, as I can't leave my house except by ambulance. And any other phone support job is unlikely to pay me even half what I was making.

Now, the medical insurance that I took for granted since 2004 will be gone. My unvested stock grants are gone. They tell you when you get them, "keep up the hard work. These grants are to incentivize you to work hard so our stock price goes up." Then you work hard and earn more grants, only to see them go up in smoke. My most recent grant came in October. Now I wonder if they knew all along I wouldn't be able to use any of them.

I have to go on permanent disability now, and I hope that will qualify me for Medi-Cal. And I know this post sounds like a bunch of whining from a guy who had a pretty good job for a decade and a half, and I'm sorry. But I'm scared. I'm looking at 20+ years of living on disability and I hope not to just lie in bed and disintegrate. And it's my disability and the fact that we don't have universal health care in this country that causes me the most worry. We have to change this. I thought this long before it affected me personally. Medical care cannot be just for the well-heeled, the employed or the people who are willing to sacrifice meals to get care. And we all know which party has the interest of "we the people" at heart. It's the same ones that are, right now, fighting on our behalf to ensure that those hallowed words that open our Constitution are not dragged through the muck and mire by a shameless, lying, contemptible, misogynist president.

But I'm not looking at this as being laid-off, I'm looking at it as early retirement. I'm trying to be as optimistic as I can. Hopefully I'll be able to make it. But with things the way they are, that's not a sure thing at all.

Thus endeth my rant. Thank you for indulging me.
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