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Member since: Fri Sep 19, 2008, 08:59 AM
Number of posts: 148

About Me

Artist, Author, Activist. http://www.zoonart.com

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Open letter to my President

Dear Mr. President,

How was your weekend? Shall I tell you about mine? It was spent getting my 92-year-old mother-in-law settled in the new digs at the Friend’s Home. She has just enough income to cover her one spare room. Want to know a secret? If chained CPI for SS were currently in place, she would not be able to afford this “luxury”.

While helping her move my husband and I slept on the floor of our son’s rented home. My son and daughter-in-law work seven days a week in their dry-cleaning business. A couple of years ago they sold their home in hopes of buying something a little bigger… three bedrooms instead of two, to fit their growing family. That’s when the market crashed and suddenly, they were not able to get a loan. So, they are renting. Recently, my daughter-in law’s mother moved in with them since her job as a mortgage broker dried up and she went broke. Next week she will go into the hospital for a knee replacement and will recuperate on the kid’s couch while her geriatric gentleman friend (also in poor health) takes her room in order to nurse her back to health. Good times.

My parents are both suffering a variety of ailments that have them constantly in and out of hospitals and I know soon, I will have to deal with their future housing. They are 80 and 85- SS is a big part of their independence. With chained CPI in place they would be running through their savings at an Olympic pace.

When our parents die, they will likely leave very little in inheritance, even though they all worked solid jobs in aeronautics, library science, and retail management. They did not live lavish lifestyles. They just never calculated that living to a ripe old age would impoverish them and their children in turn. Inheritance is what created the middle class and the end of inheritance will wipe it out. Chained CPI means the longer you live the less you get, and likely you will deplete your savings chasing immortality through the miracles of modern science. I am already living that reality.

You often talk about the need for fairness and that everyone should have “Skin in the game”. Let’s explore this notion.
Five years ago, exactly two weeks after the economy hit the fan, my husband was made an offer he could not refuse… take a one third cut in salary or hit the bricks. He stayed. There are no jobs for men over 55 unless, of course, you are already at the top of the corporate ladder or in Government, in which case one can apparently fail upwards indefinitely. I am an artist of some little note with two published books under my belt and a wall full of awards. Last year was stellar for me. I made
$12,000.00 selling art. That is the most I’ve made in over ten years, Whoo-hoo. We are hanging on by our fingertips, but at least we can still feel them. My husband’s sister is not so lucky. In January 2009 her husband murdered her with a single bullet to the head as she slept. He then turned the gun on himself. They were facing foreclosure on their home. They were both highly educated. He had a masters degree from Stamford and worked for the State of California in Minority Contracting. She was okay with the coming change to their lifestyle; he could not handle it and took matters into his own hands. Most of their friends were in DC attending your first Inauguration when the tragedy occurred and we postponed the funeral to accommodate their travel home. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I think I already have enough “Skin in the game.” I don’t feel the need to peel off any more.

Mr. President. I’m certain you think that getting a GRAND BARGAIN is going to enhance your legacy. I am here to ask,
for whom is this “Grand” and for whom is this a “Bargain”? I am a fan. I never stopped defending you during this last election cycle. I am done.

The Republicans may hold that gun to the head of the middle class and they may have loaded the chambers, but it is your finger on the trigger.

Will you be playing golf next weekend? Have fun.

Your Pal,

Once I had A Garden

Once I had a beautiful garden, tended with love and labor that enriched my soul and filled my belly. One summer I added a variety of sugar belle small watermelons. They were hearty climbers and I constructed a trellis to support the fruit as it flourished in the hot sun.

I remember sitting on my patio in the evening shade and watching the fireflies dancing around
the garden like a tiny private fireworks display meant just for me… to lift my weary soul with the promise of magic and the guarantee of a profitable harvest yet to come. A guarantee well deserved and earned by the labor of my hands and prayers of my heart.

But it was the melons that enchanted me, first lovely blossoms then grape sized fruits that expanded daily to near bursting, They were fragrant right through the hard shell and I could not wait to pluck them down and split them open to enjoy and share the sweet ripe red flesh within.

Finally, the day arrived; I took my basket to the garden and made my way through the jungle of tomato plants and bean bushes to the trellis bearing my prize. I put my hand up and turned the topmost melon to twist it off the vine, but something was wrong. The melon, while looking perfectly wonderful was far too light. I plucked it down and examined it. The was a hole about the size of a child’s fist bored into the bottom of the melon and the entire contents of the fruit had been clawed out. I quickly checked the other melons, but they were all the same… a beautiful empty tableau. Only the shells and the outward appearance of bounty remained. They were garbage on the vine. The raccoons had found a way in and stolen the fruit right before my eyes. It is no wonder they are called bandits.

I only recount this story as an allegory for how I felt this Fourth of July holiday as I sat and watched the fireworks on TV. The fireworks swarming in the sky like fireflies, the promise of the sweet juice of Liberty swelling my heart, increasing my appetite. The anticipation of greatness and justice sweet on my tongue as it always is on this most American of Holidays.

On July 5th I went back to actually living in the USA. The fruit is hollow. Garbage on the vine.

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