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.

4 cookies cracked:

Brandon said...

First, I'm sorry to hear about your dad. It's a terrible situation without question and one that more and more people are going through or will go through.

I am, however, puzzled by this sentence in your post:

"I guess that's what happens when Americans demand cut backs to all those 'socialist programs'."

I'm curious why you chose to blame people who are against large government programs that take more and more money to fund and then when they are needed aren't available to those who need it(which is exactly what has happened to your dad), instead of blaming the people who have taken more and more money for a program that is ineffective (i.e. the big government politicians)?

I hope you understand this isn't meant to be an attack. I am just genuinely curious why you assigned blame the way you did.

Fortune Cookies said...

Brandon, thanks for your comment. My comment about the "socialist programs" was certainly my lashing out at the people who would prefer make even more cuts to the programs that my dad could benefit from. Don't get me wrong, my dad is a lifelong republican, and a self proclaimed ultra conservative. I'm sure he is against government paying for welfare programs, too. But now, here he is, in need of that help. I don't assign sole blame to lawmakers. I fully understand that the people who take from those programs, but truly could be working and supporting themselves, injuries and all, like my dad has been for the past 30 years, are a significant detriment to the very programs that they live off of. But, in my opinion, doing away with assistance programs altogether is not the answer. Fixing them by removing the leaches and stopping people from defrauding those programs would go a long way.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm sorry to hear about this - I don't know much about the US system (I know healthcare is a tough issue over there) but I really hope something gets sorted out for him, and soon.

Evelyn said...

My father was one of "those people" who thought ALL of those programs should be abolished. At the age of 60 he was retired and sitting on a nice nest egg. Then after living his life with nary a cold -his health started to go south. He developed diabetes, and the was diagnosed with cirrhosis. when he needed it most - his insurance company canceled his health insurance. He spent his savings and retirement paying for medical treatments. He died leaving my mother completely broke.

The people who want these programs cut have this "I got MINE, so F U" attitude. They don't realize it doesn't take much for the tide to turn.