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Crushing the Disposable Americans


Szandor Blestman

 

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus 1883
Engraved upon a bronze plaque contained inside the Statue of Liberty.

Like it or not, that is the history of most of the modern population of the United States of America. Our ancestors were immigrants. Our ancestors were considered the wretched refuse of the teeming shores of other nations. They were society’s unwanted, to be tossed away by the royalty of the day. Many were likely persecuted in some way. Many others were likely criminals, not because they harmed someone else, but because they disagreed with some silly law or dictate of a tyrant. Perhaps they spoke out against it or perhaps they failed to pay some requisite fee or fine. In any case, these people were considered disposable by the established governments of the time and so were sent here or found their way to these shores to try to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Many of us may know something of the history of our ancestors. We may have learned a story or two of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents or even relatives further back. We might have diaries or letters that were written to help us better understand the times they lived in. We might have pictures to help us see what life was like. We might be able to empathize with their trials and travails because of the words they wrote and the emotions they expressed. We might be able to share the joys and sorrows of their lives because they recorded them for posterity. Those of us who have such treasures are fortunate for they open the doorway into times, both good and bad, that long ago disappeared into the ethers.

The same is true of these times. We are living in the middle of history. We sprinted through the boom times and now many of us are struggling to make it in these bust times. It seems as if perhaps the populace of these shores are now the disposable people. Yet we do have something that our ancestors didn’t have. We have the ability to quickly and easily share our stories with millions of people around the world. Modern technology affords us the ability to share our thoughts and feelings with anyone who cares and perhaps to help each other in the process. Our stories can now be told on a worldwide platform for humanity’s collective eyes to see, not just for the eyes of a single loved one and perhaps our descendents. That is the idea behind a new website called “Disposable Americans.”

The creator of this website is interested in helping the unemployed. As the ranks of the unemployed swell, they will be looking for more and more resources which can help them find work and income. He is asking people to tell their stories so that others may see that they are not alone in their struggles. He is interested in hearing how the economic events of the past decade has affected people, how their lives have changed, and even what they’ve done to make their lives better if that’s the case. If you have a story to tell, he has provided a place to tell it.

People should not be considered disposable. Everyone not only has a story to tell, they likely have people who love them and may even depend on them. We all touch so many others in so many ways.

Just because our ancestors may have come from low stations in life and may have been considered disposable by some despotic monarch doesn’t mean we have to be. This nation was supposedly created as an oasis against such abuses. It was created as an attempt to protect individual rights and provide opportunity for all who are willing to work hard. Those principles seem to have fallen by the wayside as society has modernized. I believe that we should no longer count on big government to fix the situation we find ourselves in. I think that big government has proven itself incompetent to handle economics. In fact, it seems to me that big government programs more often than not help the “too big to fail” and crush the little guy. It seems to me that the time has come when we should all reach out to one another and help each other rather than waiting for government programs to do so.

Sometimes it seems to me as if a real evil is at work on this planet. Sometimes I feel as though something is out there trying to crush the spirit of humanity. Let’s show them that our spirits are alive and well. Perhaps with a little better understanding of each other and the stories that are out there, we can all become a little more productive and start the journey to a place where we can all be more prosperous.

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