Day 48: Love Thy Neighbor

“Mr. Coal operator call me anything you please, blue, green, or
red, I aim to see to it that these Kentucky coal miners will not dig your
coal while their little children are crying and dying for milk and bread.”

— Aunt Molly Jackson, the ultimate Pistol Packin’ Mama,(1880-1960)

This morning I’m thinking about The Great Depression of the 1930s.  Over the course of four years, 1929-1933, the unemployment rate reached its peak to  25% of the population. Today, twelve years after The Great Recession of 2008, America’s unemployment rate is 25%.  This morning CNBC reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged Sunday that the U.S. unemployment rate may have already reached 25% as the administration works to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States Unemployment Rate 1930 to April 2020, April 3, 2020, credit New York Times

I like that word “may”. As if they have no way of telling; probably because the system is so overwhelmed.  There is a good chance the government may not actually know how many are without work, without income, have no savings, have not received a stimulus check.

During The Great Depression, there was a union war.  The folks that were pro-union were among the bravest souls in history. They stood up for their rights in the face of dire circumstances including starvation and death.  Coal miners, exhausted from working +12 hour days, demanded an eight-hour workday, more safety features for the miners, and also a fair wage.  Many union members paid with their lives; the henchmen of the owners shooting some on-site!

Like the Aunt Molly Jackson story and song, today there is an injustice, a darkness, that is costing the lives of many, pressed by the heel of greed and power.  The worldwide shelter in place mandate emphasizes the hurt that was already here.  If the world ever needed the voice of a hero it is now!

Thor, Marvel Comics

Oh, how I wish justice could shine down from heaven like a bolt of lightning and solve all the world’s problems!  I am not political or a part of any militia; I am a poet.  Designed to observe and report.  This is the job of all artists.  Although I have no solution, I have an alarm to sound and it is saying the bent branch has split!  You can no longer demand buds, flowers, or fruit from what has died!  The devotion to the wicked will end quickly! Home of the brave you say?  The brave are in neighborhoods donating time and supplies to their neighbors.  The brave are working in grocery stores and hospitals.   While our leaders lay impotent, the common person once again helps the helpless.  Although I understand the solution to CORVID-19 & why we shelter in place, I am angered that the epidemic of homelessness, disease, and poverty has festered for decades.  In America, WHY is it a constant fight for equal rights, equal pay, a fair living wage, affordable healthcare?  Why is that?

All this week Aunt Mollys song played in my mind while processing some sad news about an acquaintanceThe stoic teaching tells me the obstacle is the way.  We all have our own gutters to climb out of, I hope I am brave enough to reach out a hero’s hand to those around me.


Here is an old poem I shared with the Poetry Discussion group on Saturday.

Lunch at the Sycamore Square
April 2019

Fountain water hits each tier
breaks off into the air
landing on my notebook paper
sprinkles a blank page

A cart of baked bread
rolls by through the courtyard
towards the Italian restaurant
A tourist asks when does
the shoe store open

A dog on leash pisses
on the floor
We all ignore it
even the owner
###

This photo really touched me.  It is my current mood expressed by a news photo.  -take care & be well, Shannon

Nurses week amid the coronavirus: Protest at White House honors the death of nearly 100 nurses, May 7, 2020, (Photo: National Nurses United)

 


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aunt_Molly_Jackson

https://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/dep1929.htm

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/10/coronavirus-mnuchin-says-unemployment-will-rate-get-worse-before-they-get-better.html

Day 24

The Twitter account “Shower Thoughts” has a good thought that is working for me.  It reads: “Go to bed, you’ll feel better in the morning” is the human version of “Did you turn it off and turn it back on again?”

Sleep is a marvelous reset, isn’t it?  I am thankful for my little bed.  In this day and age, having your own place is a luxury, no matter how small the slice of pie.  While checking out my groceries at Fred Meyer today I asked the check out person why they haven’t had large shopping carts for over two weeks now.  She said these words exactly, “the homeless took them!”  That’s about 30-40 carts!  I wonder if there are fewer beds for the Bellingham homeless during the lockdown. When the shutdown began the Lighthouse shelter closed and was moved to the High School.  The city refit the school into a homeless shelter.

Here is a poem by Wallace Stevens, published in 1923, the last two stanzas

Tea at the Palaz of Hoon

Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymn they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:

I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

1) an observed joy- I saw these flowers today. SO perfect! I thought they were plastic.

2) a real concern- There are so many on a national scale.

3) a personal challenge- the challenges are the same, walk every day, keep to a regular work schedule, eat well.  It’s getting boring

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- I’m finding myself more truly, more strange.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- When I walk around my neighborhood I think it is funny how we give each other plenty of distance, crossing the street, moving to the middle of the road.

Here is my current mood illustrated in a meme.  Be well. -Shannon

 


As of this post, the USA leads the globe with 34,522 COVID-19 deaths.
Next is Italy 22,170, then Spain with 19,315.
https://ncov2019.live/data