Saturday, October 27, 2012

injaynesworld "'We the People' Means Everyone..."

As a child, I recall a woman coming to our door one evening collecting for the poor. I pushed my way in front of my mother who stood in the open doorway. Even at seven years old, the thought of someone not having enough to meet their basic needs was crushing to me. I ran to my room, got my piggy bank and would have handed over my entire savings of $3.00 had my mother not stopped me. I don’t remember what Mom gave her, but the image of that woman standing there is still very vivid in my mind. That may have been the day I became a “bleeding-heart liberal.”

We were not well off by any means, but we had more than some. There was a family in our neighborhood who we gave my school dresses to once I’d outgrown them. They were really the only “poor” family I knew, but at least they had a house to live in.

Eisenhower was in the White House, the highest tax rate was 90%, and the country had never been more prosperous. Those folks in the 90% bracket were mostly the stuff of movies to the rest of us, but sometimes my family would pile into our old Hudson and cruise the rich neighborhood to gaze at all the mansions. Nobody begrudged them their wealth. It gave us something to strive for.

Today the term “wealth inequality” is one we hear a lot. The highest tax rate is supposed to be 35%, but if you’ve made your millions from investing, you only pay 15%, and if you’re Mitt Romney with an investment income of $57,000 a day that figure inexplicably drops to a paltry 13.9.

But who can really fault him? He’s not breaking any law. Okay, those foreign bank accounts of his aren't exactly kosher, and having the tax laws written by the same Wall Street interests from which Mitt and folks like him derive all that dough might be the teensiest bit skewed, but as Romney would explain it -- the rest of us are just lazy, envious, free-loaders.

Ours has historically been a class-based society with extremes on both ends of the money spectrum and a vast middle where the majority of Americans comfortably resided. It was a society where your birth status took a back seat to your dreams, and those “poor kids” who wore my hand-me-down dresses needed only a willingness to work for those dreams to achieve them. I miss that America.

Today, most of those mansion-filled neighborhoods that I drove through as a child have gates around them, and gone from our collective consciousness seems to be the notion that when we all have an equal opportunity to succeed our country also succeeds.

A strong and prosperous society depends on a balance between collective rights and individual rights. Today’s GOP would have individual rights, primarily those of the richest 1% among us, trump all else – except when it comes to a woman’s right to make decisions governing her own body, of course.

Despite what Romney believes about us, I know that given an even playing field Americans are the hardest-working folks on the planet. As for me, I’m still that seven-year-old who wants everyone to have enough. The difference today is, I now also know that there really is enough for everyone.

Monday, October 15, 2012

injaynesworld we make "Final Arrangements..."

She was supposed to have been in Sacramento by two o’clock to go over the final arrangements for the annual partners’ dinner that night, but it must be long past two by now.

Emily liked things to go according to plan – insisted on it – to the frequent annoyance of colleagues who often suggested she try to be more flexible, but “flexible” was just another word for indecision to Emily who prided herself on her decisiveness.

She watched as the large crane pulled her submerged sedan from the lake’s chilly, black water, and knew that lovely new cocktail dress she had so meticulously packed was probably ruined.   The car was slowly lowered down onto the bank where it was quickly surrounded by rescue personnel who now carefully pulled Emily’s lifeless body from the vehicle.

As Emily felt herself floating farther and farther away from the scene, she wondered if perhaps, just this once, she should have been a little more flexible. 

This post is in response to the Five Sentence Fiction prompt “Detour.”  

Friday, October 12, 2012

injaynesworld we're "Tired of the Herd Mentality..."

We're a nation of idiots.

How can any voter be undecided at this point?   Do they live in caves?  

And what’s with these daily polls swinging this way and that?   I feel like I’ve been living in a martini shaker.  Who are these people who keep changing their minds according to what the media tells them on any particular day?  

Okay, that 47% remark by Romney was a big deal.  I understood when he tanked after calling half of America a bunch of freeloaders.  But then he showed up at that first debate, lied about every single thing he’d ever said in the past and bump!  He’s up again.  Granted, Obama didn’t bother to even show up, but still…  Are people’s memories really that short?

I guess I’m no one to cast aspersions on anyone else's memory.  God knows, it’s all I can do to remember where I live on some days, but I do remember my core values.  

Last night as I watched Biden schooling the young Ryan in history, I did so knowing my mind was already made up.   The following two hours where pundits argued about who did or did not “win” weren’t going to make a damn bit of difference to me.   Yet today, everyone’s eyes are once again on those almighty polls like a bunch of sheep waiting to be told which way to go.

We’re a nation that swings wildly from left to right and back again in a time frame as little as a decade.  Is it no wonder we can’t establish any lasting policies that the world can depend upon?   Seriously, who the hell knows what we’re going to do next?

We demand instant gratification.   Problems decades in the making are expected to be solved in as little as four years.   If not, we switch course yet again.   Then we stand around and complain about how nothing ever gets done.

Make a damn decision and stick to it, people!   I’m exhausted!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

injaynesworld "Until Then..."

It was nearly closing time and the place was empty but for the usual stragglers sipping the last of their drinks, prolonging the moment when they would have to reenter a world where no one awaited them. 

She placed another quarter in the slot of the old jukebox, her once-smooth hand quivering as her finger found its way to the worn and cracked button.  As the music began, the dingy bar faded away; it was 1962 and she was once again in his arms, a young bride, her head nestled against his shoulder, swaying slowly to the song that would always be theirs.

“I’ll return to you,” he promised only days later as he kissed her one last time before joining the other young soldiers boarding a plane to a war she did not understand. 

Her voice broke as it always did when she sang those last words, “… until then I’ll always be devoted to you,” and watched as the arm of the jukebox carefully picked up the record to tuck it away for another night. 

This post is in response to the Five Sentence Fiction prompt, “Devotion.”

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