Friday, October 8, 2010

Handbags and Gladrags

We are a culture which celebrates ourselves as unique individuals, except, for the most part, we don't define ourselves by our humanity but, rather, by our utility. We are what we do. Our unique specialness is tied to our place in the world instead of the other way around. In essence, we already know what we are, all that remains is agreement on the price.

In economic hard times which, despite news stories telling us the 'recession' ended last year, are still going on for many in our county and for many others around the world (when America gets a cold, other nations are in intensive care), a hidden cost harder to recover from than a bank statement or a bottom line, is the injury to that part of ourselves we can't put a price tag on, our pride in who we are.

We have a lot of people who have done nothing wrong and who have lost their jobs, perhaps their families and homes, places in their local circle of friends and acquaintances who end up losing themselves. I knew a German person in one of the places I worked in the Federal Republic who often teased that "Americans are people who things they don't want with money they don't have to impress people they don't like." We're nearing the point on the calendar, as a nation, where the bills are coming due. Wer soll das bezahlen? Wer hat das bestellt? Wann man nur wusste.

There are reports of economic improvement, slow but steady-and in the frenzy of election season where there's more action than date night at Piranha High, the highs are higher and the lows are deeper, at least when the other side is telling the story. But the thing to NOT lose sight of when the edge is off of the rhetoric on Wednesday November 3rd no later than noon when we realize there is no revolution, just power changing hands, is that a few more of us have become the walking wounded. That the old coaching admonition to just 'shake it off' only goes so far.

An adult without hope or dignity hurts and then, in turn, hurts others, usually those closest to them so what began as a personal tragedy too often becomes a community calamity. Sing a song of sixpence for your sake, and take a bottle full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds in a cake and bake them all in a pie. Crow, too often, tastes the same.
-bill kenny

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