Monday, October 27, 2008

Get Yer Fedoras and Overcoats Ready!

Part of the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC

More grim economic news today. General Motors needs a mega-bailout to keep from going bankrupt. It is projected by the omnipresent Pundits that if GM goes under, an estimated Two Million (that's 2,000,000) people will either lose their jobs or be directly affected.

Can you say "soup line"? How about "bread line"? The human toll of an economic crash and the ensuing catastrophic ripples are beyond my reckoning. I can study the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties and form some small understanding of the overall social effect, and I learned a lot about how it affected the individual by listening to my parents. My mother was ten in 1929, and her family owned an essential service - a feed store - so she had little memory of undue hardships. My father was twenty in 1929, and newly married, soon to have three little ones with their constant set of needs, so he was responsible for five people's lives, not just his one. He said it was hard, but if you were willing to really dig in and work, jobs could be found. Knowing my dad as I do, he busted his butt keeping his family fed and sheltered. I don't think he knew how to behave any other way. As my mother used to say "Your father was always a great provider." Doesn't sound like much of a compliment, these days, but someone who could be counted on to make sure his wife and children never went hungry, never needed for shelter or shoes, well in hard times there are few higher compliments to be had, I should think.

So many people struggled just to live during the Thirties, and there were so fewer people than there are today.

My dad taught me to "make the world a better place for your having been here." So when faced with a crisis such as the current worldwide situation, my eye begins to search for ways I can help, some possibility of making a positive difference for the world.

One person who made a tangible difference was Dorothea Lange, a tremendous photographer and journalist who is probably best known for her work documenting the human toll of the Great Depression. Her images were instrumental in getting the politicians and other power brokers to act, to make a difference for so many hungry, hopeless individuals.

But what can each of us do? Each of us is only one tiny voice in the midst of a tremendous choreutic upswell, and will never be heard, will never matter, you say? "Rubbish! Nonsense! Bosh!" Each of us matters, and our voices, both individually and collectively, are very, very important.

Here's what I suggest; get to a library and spend the few minutes it takes to read Dr. Seuss' slim volume of wisdom, "Horton Hears A Who."

There you will learn that each one of us, joined with others, adds up to a voice that CAN be heard. And never, EVER forget that "a person's a person, no matter how small."

We are here, we are here, WE ARE HEEEERRE!

Tomorrow; The Lorax...

1 comment:

Joyce said...

As far as the financial crisis goes, there is not much difference between 1929 and today (from what I have read). Both disasters resulted partly from the greed of financiers and heads of large companies. We seem to be fated to repeat the mistakes of the past. All we had to do to be forwarned was see the pay and bonuses of the heads of most companies in the last few years.