This week we had an addition to our parking lot at work, a young girl living in her rusted, dented, aging white Ford Explorer. She gets up in the morning, cleans out her car/apartment, checks the fluid levels in the engine, and leaves. Who knows where she goes? It’s hard to say how old she is, she doesn’t look old enough to drive, and sleeping in your car has to age you at least a little.
She stays less than a hundred yards from the old guy who sleeps in our doorway. Every morning he piles all of his stuff into a huge black trash bag, hoping it will stay dry. He spends the day somewhere else, I don’t know where. There is no way to know how old he is, his face is wrinkled, his hair and beard are white, and his fingers are knotted with arthritis. When he leaves he shuffles painfully, hardly lifting his feet off the ground. He has been our “guest” for several months. I give him a granola bar or cookies in the morning, and try to say a few kind words, more for me than him probably.
This is the legacy of years of Republican lawmaking. The victims of trickle-down, the ridiculous promise that if rich people have enough money they will let it fall on the unfortunate. They never have enough money.
Regrettably, somebody has to pay to keep the lights on in DC (and everywhere else, for all that matter) and if you give enough breaks to the wealthy the burden falls on the less wealthy. As small companies feel the economic pinch of higher taxes they have less to spend on wages. And the people who rely on those wages have less to spend on living. And the people who rely on them to keep waitresses, cooks, dishwashers, and all of the other service people employed end up with nothing.
Except for their car, or their bag of blankets, socks and extra shirts.
Supply-side economics suffocates the middle class and strangles the needy. Even religious organizations struggle to stock food pantries and soup kitchens, subsidized housing becomes precious, and in insufficient quantities. A far cry from the impassioned promises of the Gipper.
Wednesday night, as I listened to President Biden I was struck by the boldness of his plans, the Great Society echoes of his agenda. When he was elected I worried about his “political pragmatism” and his almost fanatical devotion to see Congress work as it was intended, with compromise and bargaining. He wasn’t Trump and that was enough, but he didn’t inspire dreams of change, either. Wednesday night, that changed, Wednesday night he did.
Even if works it will be a slow process and I’m sure it will be too late to help the child in the parking lot or the old man in the doorway, but someday we might be able to go to work without seeing such heartbreak. Right now that’s something to hope for. And, something to vote for.
This post is republished on Medium.
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