The spiraling economy has been a hot topic for several years. We all know that we are in the worst economic crisis since the “not-so” Great Depression. As politicians continue to bicker back and forth, families are sliding down a slippery cliff struggling to hold onto whatever they can. How did the American Dream instead become a desperate dream for survival?
Only a few minutes into Our America with Lisa Ling, I sent out a silent prayer hoping that politicians would flip the dial and stumble upon this true economic reality show as it played out on OWN. Throughout the night Lisa Ling introduced us to different individuals who are hanging onto their own economic cliff. She began with 56 year-old Bob who had recently lost his job. Following a promotion, his company paid for his family to relocate to a wealthy suburb neighborhood where many of the 1% lived. Making a comfortable 6-figure income, Bob thought life was on an upturn. unfortunately, the layoffs came and Bob’s position was eliminated. Four years later he is still looking for full-time work. Taking what he can and working as a custodian for a church, he and his family are falling apart. With up to 400 applications for some jobs, Bob realized how difficult it would be to find any job…but he was trying despite the odds. To make it worse, his wife has battled breast cancer for 5 years. All of the stress is overwhelming and his in-laws (who are helping to support them) are upset. After unemployment benefits ran out, the only other help they received was through food stamps. “Like Bob, one-in-six people in America don’t always know where their next meal is coming from,” Lisa shared. It can be hard to get one’s own pride. No one wants to rely on the kindness of others. So much has changed in only a few short years. Listening to his children speak, you can tell how hard this has been on them. As Bob’s 12-year-old son softly cried over being evicted from their home as movers threw their belongings onto the front lawn. Talking about the stress of seeing a bill that was due, it was hard to fight back tears for his lost childhood.
The cameras then introduced Teresa, a 47-year-old woman who was let go after a paper factory closed in her town. Like many of us, she didn’t have a huge savings and instead took the vacations and bought the cars. After watching what little she did have disappear, she wished she would have been smarter with her money. However, that wasn’t her reality. Now living in the basement of a home and sharing a room with her son who is a senior in highschool, everything was different. Although she was getting a little help from unemployment, just as Bob had, it only lasts so long and then nothing the check stops coming. Sadly her story was not unique. Companies have been closing their factories and sending our money to other countries who barely pay their employees. It makes sense for them. They make a lot more money. But at what cost? Even America’s Olympic uniforms were created in a communist country. Some people seemed outraged, but shouldn’t we be outraged every day? Instead of American companies helping to put food on the tables of their neighbors, they are choosing to strengthen the most powerful places that threaten our own democracy. In fact, this would be a great topic for Our America.Continue Reading