Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lost Perspective

This is one of those days when I wish Einstein and Hawking were wrong and we could actually travel backwards and forwards in time.  I would like to go back to the early 1930's and bring back to today someone who was living in the "Hooverville" shanty towns of that era to see the "Walkerville" tent city set up around the State Capitol this month.  The pro-union forces who have set up the makeshift "protest" say they chose the name in reference to the Depression era accomodations of the poor.

I would just like to see the look on the face of that dirt poor, unemployed American as he checks out the "honor" erected to him in Madison.  What kind of sympathy would he have for the protesters who have full-time jobs that pay in a year what he could only have hoped to have made in the better part of his lifetime?  And who can go to their air-conditioned, three bedroom homes any time they want.

His only meal for the day was likely a bowl of soup and a portion of bread handed out to him after standing in a long line.  What would he think about the protesters getting three squares a day from Dottie Dumpling's Dowry or delivered right to their tent by Jimmy Johns?

Would our Hooverville resident nod in acknowledgement as a member of WEAC describes the hardship of having to teach more than 20 kids at a time due to budget cuts--when he himself probably didn't go to school past the third grade?  And that his kids were likely taught in a one-room schoolhouse where one teacher taught ALL EIGHT GRADES?  And that the teacher in that schoolhouse had to supplement her income by teaching Sunday School at the local church AND take in laundry or knitting from some of the "more well to do" in the town?

Would the Hooverville Man raise his fist in solidarity, outraged by the mere notion of paying 12.5% toward health care insurance and 5% toward retirement.  He more than likely would never see a doctor in his life--even if he could have afforded to trade the fresh meat or dairy that physicians accepted for payment from hard-up clients.  And he likely would have to be explained the concept of not working until the day you die.

For some reason, I doubt our Depression Era friend would tell the Walkerville protesters "I thought I had it bad--but clearly have it much worse than me."  I tend to think he would instead tell the drama queens "Go home you dang fools--and appreciate just how good you still have it." 

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