Capitalism: A Love Story

Wake me when they start the revolution

It’s surprising how one can work for a company for 8 years give them your best effort for all those years, believe in what they do, put up with low wages, difficult working conditions, non existent raises, promotions, and advancements, and be called in one day and be told they no longer have a job for you, not that they were going broke, or not hiring any more but because they only wanted younger stronger individuals. Nothing to do with my work performance, or my ability to do the job, but, because of my perceived ability, because of my weight and age! They wouldn’t even give me a try. And this is a company whose mission is to enhance the dignity and independence of persons with developmental disabilities.

UPARC, The Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, Laid me off, some 3 months ago, Now this is a company with 23 group homes, day programs in three locations, hundreds of clients, and a constant revolving door of staff that find they do not have the temperament or patience to work with individuals with mental retardation. And I worked for them for 8 years, dedicated my time, talents, and even limited treasures, it was not unusual for me to work overtime, spend my free time downloading movies or looking up activities to take the clients out to, I would spend my own money on treats or specialty foods, I would buy them presents on their birthdays, or Holidays, or bring in my own personal equipment so that the house could run smoother. I cared for and loved these individuals I worked for. And I did my job, unlike 40% of the workers who are still employed there, who show up late, sleep on the job, make personal phone calls, don’t do the job they are hired to do, and complain when they have to fill out some additional paperwork. These individuals have no interest in the clients, and yet I was the one who was laid off. Of course I’m angry and upset, and I had hoped, that I would have found, another job by now, but in this economy, being a 54 year old, and an obese individual, the chances that someone might look at me are slim, no mater how good my work ethic is or my abilities might be.

And so I continue to struggle, worrying about the day my unemployment runs out, living on animal feed bread, out dated food from thrift stores, and eating only one meal a day, because my unemployment check is only 60% of close to minimum wage.

I just finished watching Michael Moors new movie “Capitalism: A Love Story” of course I can relate to the devastation that he documents, looking at being on the streets, just after my unemployment runs out or committing suicide, knowing that greed, is more than half responsible for the funding problems that UPARC had to face, when oil prices devastated state and federal budgets, which then cut funding for social programs, and care for the disabled, and as the economy spiraled down, UPARC survived by getting rid of clients who cost more money than they were funded for, and picking up behavioral intensive clients who can generate greater funding, but of course are more dangerous, and require younger stronger individuals to work with them.

We have become a society dictated to, and run by greedy corporations, who only care for the almighty buck. Pride in the workplace, is replaced by fear of unemployment, and getting by with doing as little as possible, trying not to stand out, being different, or unusual. Non-conformity has become the new disease, if you look different, you are unwelcomed. And if we all live one paycheck to the other, we can be controlled.

Maybe it is time for a Revolution, God knows Washington isn’t doing anything about the problem. The millionaires that we elect as Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents, have a vetted interest in the status quo. And no mater how much they claim to be “a man of the people” ask yourself “When was the last time they had to survive on minimum wage”? Health Care reform is a joke, corporate bailouts are an atrocity, and the economic stimulus is only a chance for the rich to get richer, and the poor to get poorer, destroy labor unions, and cement the power of the large corporations. But hay, smile we still got TV, the mindless drone of entertainment, until they shut off my power.

Peace

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