Thursday, April 27, 2006

Vague Ramblings ...

I was sent this picture in an email today. Don't know if it is verifiable or not. Was probably taken in the 1980's or early 90's. It struck a chord with me. I live in a town that is decidely not Military. I love my community. They are very giving and caring, they willingly lend a hand if you are in trouble....but they are also insulated and not very supportive of helping other countries in trouble....

Yesterday on Oprah, she, George Clooney and Lisa Ling called for America to back our President in his efforts to stop genocide in Sudan, the Congo, and Uganda. Mr. Clooney said "Our President has stated emphatically that he abhors what is going on and that he wouldn't stand for it 'not on his watch'. But he needs the support of the American People!" Oprah Winfrey repeated it back to him saying (paraphrase) "We need to call our congressmen and women, we need to get behind the present administration to help stop these horrors". Um. Yeah!?

I'll tell ya, I am just really saddened by the state of affairs in our country. Gas prices are killing people's budgets. I mean $80 to fill up my CAR??? Since I am fortunate (or sacrificing) enough to stay at home for the last 3 years I only use about 3/4 of a tank a week. So I use about $60 a week in gas. That's $3,120 a year in gasoline for MY car. My husband uses $20 a week or $1040 for a grand total of over $4000 a year in gasoline. We make $34K a year so that means roughly 12% of our annual salary is spent on gasoline. Add in insurance and car payment (my husband's truck is paid for) and it 35% of our salary. Yikes. A third. A third of our salary spent on a way to go. hmmm. That's not even factoring in when we can scrimp enough to afford a vacation. Guess we will stay close to home this year (again).

I will be working fulltime soon. I will use about a tank every five days. However our income will increase drastically. I think about people who are ona fixed income, or those less fortunate than myself. I think about those who, through birth or circumstance, cannot make more than a poverty level income.. Geez. What do they do?? We are almost at a poverty level income. For a family of four in Georgia, the poverty level is at around $24K a year.

While I don't believe in "Luck" I do believe some people are born more fortunate than others. Who can argue that a child born without legs is not as fortunate as one who is? What about Bill Gate's children? Certainly they are more fortunate than children born to a poor black family in rural Mississippi. They each have opportunities and each must work hard, however who can argue that the poor black child has a longer row to hoe?

Each week I budget out what money we have. My grocery list gets smaller out of necessity. Yet, I still have a Gym membership, my child goes to the best public school in the county, I still have DSL. I wonder about those that scrape by as it is.

I know that Capitalism is a dirty word, but I believe in Capitalism. I don't believe in consumerism. Big difference. I think consumerism is out of control in this country and most of the world. I don't blame the U.S.A. for all of the world's problems. However I don't think we can afford to ignore what is happening in other countries either. Those days are long gone. However we can't ignore our own people either.

Sigh. If only I was in charge! LOL!


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