No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Monday, November 1, 2010

American Dream or American Nightmare?

I'm appalled.
My mom called me Saturday to tell me that after working for the same company for 45 years, my dad's company shut down.

Dad is 63 years old. He was trying to hang in there for two more years so he could retire on Social Security. Since the company has been going downhill, they knew that all of their retirement benefits had already been lost. At 63 years old, after 45 years of dedicated service, my father is without a job, without pay for his past 5 weeks of work, without his health insurance, too young yet to draw Social Security benefits, and plagued with a laundry list of health problems, including disc and spine injuries that have required multiple surgeries and chronic pain treatment for the last 30 years or so, and he has some serious chronic heart problems, too. He applied for TennCare, our state run health care, and was denied. He was told that enrollment is closed at this time. I guess that's what happens when Americans demand cut backs to all those "socialist programs".

My father has worked for 30 years, while being in unimaginable pain every single day. My father didn't roll over and give up when he broke his back. He sucked it up, picked himself up by the bootstraps, and carried on. He did it for his family, for his own sense of self worth, for his future, and for his company. It is absolutely sickening to think about how he is being treated now.

You know, I think back to my childhood, and my memories are of my dad working for that company, traveling all over the place to teach employees at this factory or that one how to operate this machine he built for them. I remember him coming home from work, blue prints in hand, and heading straight back to his office, to continue to work on his projects, even at home. He put in his time. He dedicated his life to them, and this is how he is repaid.

This is not the American Dream that my dad told me about when I was a kid. This is not the American Dream that makes this country great. And this certainly is not the way we should be treating good, hardworking Americans.