A Look Back in Time Part 3

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

September 23, 2008


Categories: The Balancing Act

Two 6 year old posts.

Sunday, February 24, 2002

One day before my birthday. [A friend] finally [leant] me his copy of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. This book is about entry-level, low wage jobs, and being able to support yourself while working at them in America. The conclusion is a hopeless one, which is frustrating because this book is exactly about my life and many of those that I care about.

My mind has been reeling with different thoughts on how terribly wrong this all is, etc. The most recent and conclusive thought I have developed is that it is one thing entirely if a society does not have the means to support its members. However, if a society has the means to support those that belong to it, and it doesn’t, this just seems incredibly immoral to me. Why wouldn’t someone take care of their neighbor if our Christian values tell us to love your neighbor as yourself? Wouldn’t you want to take care of yourself? Then why do we condemn charity saying that one must work their way up from their bootstraps, and if they’re homeless, then it’s their own damn fault? It doesn’t make any sense. And again, it seems incredibly immoral to me.

So, then I realize that it IS a society’s responsibility to take care of its members. It is society’s responsibility to provide decent housing and a means of feeding oneself, decent of course being defined as NO roach motels, and the like. Then that makes me think of 1984 and A Brave New World. There are plus and minuses to both, so why can’t our society take the good and not the bad. It seems to me that right now we are just focusing on the bad, or rather rising to it.

Monday, February 25, 2002

I just finished Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. All of the thoughts that were whirring in my head have now stopped and I am no longer thinking. Wonderful.

It’s interesting to think that even America the Beautiful becomes a joke when you think of who has what. If the low-waged poor represent the average American, then they certainly don’t have this land, and this land certainly is not theirs in equality to those of the upper 20%.

Barbara Ehrenreich is right when she states that shame and guilt don’t even begin to acknowledge how one should feel about this class inequality. In the land of the free, how many are truly free? I would venture a guess that only the upper 20%, the others are fooled into thinking that there are better chances out there for them, but it glows faintly in the distance clouded by rent and other obtrusive bills that need to be paid and settled for mere survival. Which in turn makes these hopes of a better life ever more scarce, and eventually they just fade away.


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