(This is a letter to a local Philly newspaper, unless they’ve shut down for lack of business, and made more citizens of the year. This is in response to a request for nominations for CITIZEN OF THE YEAR.)
I am my own nominee for Citizen Of The Year, as are millions of other Americans.
You may have heard of us. We are the 9.6% Unemployed.
We are called the citizens who don’t want to work.
We are the citizens who are the byproduct of outsourcing to other countries, which occurs while shouts of BUY AMERICAN ring out across the land.
We are the citizens who were seen by you in retail every day, talked with you on the phone, worked behind the scenes everyday to make a company’s product work for you.
We are the citizens who so sadly caused Sen. Jim Bunning to miss his dear University of Kentucky basketball game because we forced him to be the lone man so faithfully denying help for us. I do hope his grandchildren are so proud of him.
We are the citizens who also have family.
We are the citizens who vote.
We are the citizens who helped build businesses and helped them prosper.
We are the citizens who hurt as much as anyone else when the economy goes sour, and have been since Bush entered the White House in 2000, despite his fine work of fiction just published. I cannot wait to see it on the screen in 3D.
We are the citizens who become the convenient political football for Tea Party and GOP adherents. They believe that helping themselves to tax breaks is all American, but helping fellow Americans who, until the last couple of years, were probably more productive that they ever could hope to be, is “socialism” or whatever word can be used to terrify the masses into hysteria.
We are the citizens who love to sit on couches for much less money that we would earn back at our old jobs, or even at a fair pay job.
We are the citizens who many on the GOP side believe should work at the magical McDonalds that they keep pointing us to, to work for a minimum wage which may be 70% more less than what we used to earn and what Unemployment Benefits are.
We are the ones who should work for so little pay and watch our bills go unpaid.
We are the citizens who are then expected to pay full going rate for health insurance for ourselves, because the GOP cannot be too compassionate about the COBRA subsidy.
We are the citizens who shop in line with you, drive next to you, send kids to the same schools (for now), and do everything that you can do, or at least we used to be.
We are NOT the citizens who would get a great tax break because we earn $250K a year or more, one that is not offset against the federal deficit because, somehow, the desire of the new GOP/Tea Party hybrid is exempt from the reality of blowing a massive hole in the deficit.
We are NOT the citizens, many who do NOT own small businesses, who would simply hold onto that money.
We are the citizens who are at the point that every penny that comes in goes right back into the economy, therefore stimulating retail and business and hopefully keeping other citizens in their jobs.
We are the dog to kick, we are the punching bag, we are the bargaining chip that is paid lip service by both sides while the GOP insists their mandate is to sooth the bank accounts of the Top 2%.
We are just laid-off. At 26 weeks. At the end of this tier of benefits and unable to move up because the Party of “One No” can say that” No” to millions of Americans. We are the 99er’s who have nowhere to turn, many of whom are at the age where the non-existent specter of age discrimination forgets that it is non-existent.
We are the citizens who battle other adversities, physical and locational, while looking for work that we excel at.
We are the citizens who love to celebrate the holidays, but probably cannot this year.
We are the citizens who will still wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, HAPPY HANNUKAH, and HAPPY NEW YEAR are strongly as ever because we genuinely want you to have a full and wondrous time of this season.
But we are the citizens who have no idea what comes after whatever.
We are everything about this country that is the best it offers. We are ready to get to work, and not just go “dig ditches” which feels suspiciously like “go to hell and stay there” from the GOP clueless who make that suggestion.
We are the citizens, and we are confused, scared, humbled, loving, loved, despised, and ready to show why the naysayers are all wrong.
The only thing that we, the unemployed citizens are not, is the version of YOU that Christine O’Donnell tried so unsuccessfully to be during the election. We are the YOU that aspires to greatness in this great city, state, and country. And we are fully capable of it.
For all those reasons and more, we are more than any one person or figurehead could be.
We are the citizens of the United States who do not give up, despite the ability of the opposition to make a “cliché” out of everything.
We are the citizens who are being forgotten by the politicians during Thanksgiving.
It would be interesting to hear Congress giving thanks this year to discover what they have to be thankful for, other than a masterful sleight of hand.
We, the 9.6% unemployed, are the Citizens Of The Year.
I am humbled to be one of their ranks, because they and we are genuine.
We are also the American People. The right has no monopoly on that.