Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts on Senate Vote/ Unemployment Extensions

Is it just me or doesn’t it seem like the US Senate has quite frankly lost its marbles recently. For those that don’t already know, since June 1st, an estimated 325,000 jobless workers have lost their unemployment benefits. As this is happening, members of the US Senate have decided to sit idly by and filibuster the issue. Ultimately, the problem here is getting 60 votes to overcome the obstacles imposed by the Republican minority. So anyway, while the Senate is getting its act together, many Americans are still suffering. The Great Recession is real ladies and gentleman, make no mistake about it. If it hasn’t already touched your life in some significant way (whether it be a friend or family member), then you must be living an airtight bubble. Nevertheless, for many people this economic downturn has meant foreclosed homes, lost jobs, and countless unpaid bills. According to the New York Times, an estimated 1.2 million Americans will be left without their unemployment benefits by the end of June if the Senate or Congress does not approve the extensions. What this means in much more concrete terms is that many individuals and their families will be without the necessary resources to put food on their tables and keep their lights on. This state of affairs begs the question: where is the sense of urgency or moral outrage when you really need it? Quite frankly, too many people are sleeping on this issue. Sadly, we have been lulled to sleep by consumerism and other distractions. However, now is not the time to get comfortable and start sleepwalking. Now is the time to stand up and state unequivocally how deplorable it is for the Senate to be stalling and stonewalling while a significant number of Americans are in dire need of assistance. Indeed, the Senate's refusal to act on this matter ought to be openly condemned not simply on economic grounds, but more importantly because it's just the wrong thing to do, plain and simple. We must courageously lift our voices, so that moral pressure is put on our elected officials to do the right thing and approve the extensions.

You might ask, how do we lift our voices, well I am glad you asked, the first thing you should do is reach out to your state senator. For your convenience, I have added the United States Senate link to this blog so that you might be able to reach your representative more easily: This is a great place to start, there are online methods for contacting your senators, but there are also phone numbers too. If you want, you can also send a letter via snail mail. Why stop there, maybe you can initiate a protest. The options are out there. But the larger point is to give these things a try. In life, persistence is the key. As the old political saying goes, 'the squeaky wheel gets the old'. This adage applies equally to this issue confronting our families today. And for those out there that suggest that unemployment is not their problem because they have a job, I suggest that you open your eyes and realize that we are all tied together in an inescapable garment of destiny, meaning that whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly as Dr. Martin Luther King is often quoted saying. Indeed, we all live in an interconnected world. Just because this issue is not at your front door step at the present moment doesn't mean it wont be a few months from now. As a result, we must act now to help those in need. Speak up and be heard. Believe it or not, but the world needs your voice too.

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