Archive for making america better

reactions to the grind

Posted in economy & politics, people with tags , , , on August 27, 2009 by foodbankguy

I was struck by an article in today’s Arizona Republic about homeowners in limbo and the questionable worthiness of the federal loan remodification program.  Rather than weigh in on the pros or cons of the program, or even the article itself, start reading the comments at the bottom.  While these comments don’t represent a pinnacle of quality debate, and in fact are oftentimes nothing more than virtual mob rule, for this particular article I found them to be an interesting commentary on reactions to the grind.

The current housing market is interesting because it is largely a by-product of unemployment, which also happens to directly affect the demand on food banks.  People lose their home, have their credit ruined, lose their job… chances are they aren’t enjoying fine dining either.  Many people caught in the housing bubble are younger too, meaning they’ve got kids depending on them to eat, and as we all know, poor child nutrition affects school performance, attitude, etc.  But I digress…

What’s interesting to me about these reader comments is the fragmentation of thought and a lack of compassion.  Sure, you’ve got opinions on party lines, people distrusting the government, recognition that some subjects in the article are victims of their own poor decision making, realization that the economy has put most of us in a bind–all to be expected.  I understand that it’s easy enough to get on your high horse posting anonymously on the internet, but there’s something very bitter and defensive about many of these comments.  I simply don’t see people pulling together, encouraging one another, or even just talking about lessons learned.  We’ve become very paranoid of our neighbors, proactively resentful that we might have to help another, and a lack of understanding that we as a society either get through these tough times together or we don’t.  We’ve got to get past the blame.

No doubt this tough economy is a grind, it’s not fun, it’s downright hard labor for many.  But when the gut reaction of so many is contempt, it does make me question not only how long it’s going to take us to get out of this mess but whether we will at all.  Individuals cannot do it alone.  Neighborhoods cannot do it alone.  We’ve got to bite the bullet and pull each other up collectively as a society, as a country.  Who knows, this might be America’s last stand.  I wonder if some type of restorative justice would be appropriate, where those who have negatively impacted our society and the economy via greed or what-have-you–be it individuals, corporations, those who have been bailed out, etc.–can be honest, can be judged, and can ultimately be forgiven so that we can collectively move on.  Seems to me it would help everyone get things off their chest and maybe just maybe, get them to open up and extend a helping hand, and ultimately change cultural behaviors for the better.