Nothing More to Lose
Dear UCubed Leader:
Last Friday’s unemployment report reassured those with jobs that the worst was over. Not so for the jobless. For them, the worst is yet to come.
The days ahead will be spent wondering what’s wrong with me? Their nights will be interrupted by a dreadful thought: Will I ever work again?
The fears of 27.3 million jobless Americans are magnified by the darkness of hopelessness. No light penetrates. But the pressure of feeling like a failure weighs on them like the ocean’s pounds per square inch on the Titanic.
But what hurts the most is the feeling of being completely … and … irreversibly … abandoned. The media has moved on; the politicians have moved on; and even MoveOn has moved on. No one gives a damn what happens to the jobless.
And now the jobless can reciprocate that feeling. They can turn to the least progressive and angriest voices in the public square because they have nothing more to lose.
In his acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention in 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded us that “necessitous men are not free men.”
Roosevelt explained that:
Liberty requires opportunity to make a living – a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.
Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government.
Since 2009, America’s jobless have made those appeals time and time again, but to no avail. Their government proved unresponsive in their time of greatest need.
Fully cognizant of the link between economic tyranny and the forces of reaction, Roosevelt would have been appalled that so little was done. In fact, his 1936 speech contained this paragraph:
We are poor indeed if this nation cannot afford to lift from every recess of American life the dread fear of the unemployed that they are not needed in the world. We cannot afford to accumulate a deficit in the books of human fortitude.
And yet, we have. Politicians are focused on the other deficits, the federal and state deficits, to appease the economic tyrants of our day.
America’s jobless may have lost their freedom, lost their liberty, and lost their opportunity to make a living. But they still hold dear one, last vestige of that political equality they won step by bloody step since 1776: the right to vote.
Cast courageously, the 40 million votes from jobless households can eliminate the economic tyranny that effectively ended their pursuit of happiness.
As leaders of the Union of Unemployed, you can guide our friends — which Facebook now numbers over 22 million — to vote against those who destroyed their lives.
In Unity — Strength,
Ur Union of Unemployed