So I am working from my home office trying to make ends meet. It has been a tough haul for me since the turn of the century, but I continue to survive beneath the clever guise of a happy, positive person. It is not in my nature to be dreary, dull and pessimistic. But this past week was one of those extraordinary weeks where I was put to the ultimate test of mental challenges. Despite my physical shortcomings, I manage to contend with the ins and outs of parenthood and yes, even grand-parenthood from my cramped home office in contemporary suburbia, South Carolina.
I have bills rolling in just like the rest of the rat pack. Some days are better than others because I am able to pay those lovely notes on time. Other days, I wonder if my electricity is going to be shut off or not. It’s no fun always trying to beg from Paul, to give to Mary and to pay back to Peter. But for many of us, it is a reality at some point in our lives. The kicker is wondering if my physical limitations are going to start revving up again where I’ll settle back into a wheel chair… or worse. It is the day-to-day worries that sometimes really bring me down to earth in the stark realization that material things can come and go, but life can end in an instant.
Anyway, I have been engaged in a lot of political conversations around the social networking world. Sometimes I become really angered by the idiocracy that we call this Nation. I am not trying to be pompous or arrogant here, but the willful ignorance of a few has cost this country dearly in more ways than one. From frivolous law suits to mass corporatocrazation (is that even a word?) of public welfare, I stand in awe at the sheer stupidity and complacency of it all. And when I talk about “public welfare” I am not in any way discussing Medicaid, food stamps, or governmental assistance – I am talking about the “public welfare” of our people, our economy, our land, our seas, our livelihood, and our future. What legacy are we leaving behind this grand stage we call life? Is it all just for kicks and giggles?
I am beginning to wonder if anyone in government really, truly cares about the “public welfare”. I wrote a letter to my State Senator, Lindsey Graham about the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf Coast. This is probably one of the umpteenth letters I have sent to the man. His response and “reasoning” to me was: “Investing in new energy technologies would have created millions of new jobs and benefited our nation’s struggling economy. I have been so committed to this issue because I believed that a cleaner, safer, and stronger America can become a reality. I understand the devastating oil spill off the coast of Louisiana has led some to believe that offshore drilling should not be included in our energy plan. I believe it is important to responsibly continue exploring for oil off our nation’s coasts…By importing ever increasing amounts of foreign oil; we are placing our economy and national security at risk. It is imperative that we work towards breaking this unhealthy addiction.”
Which brings me to the reason why I titled this blog, “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip”: The “unhealthy addiction” that America, her citizens and her so-called “representatives” have is surprise – surprise — not oil. It is not even an obsession about who is “right” and who is “wrong” – it is about an unhealthy addiction to selfishness and greed. Someone ticks us off and we are ready to sue – sue the pants off of someone just to prove a ridiculous point: “my way or the highway” mentality. Real American people are suffering in every nook and cranny of this “civilized” country and all we can worry about is who is going to pay? Who is going to be the proverbial bad guy that we can hang on a wild western style “wanted poster”? Who can we blame for our short-comings? Someone has to take the fall. After all, we have nothing to do with the catastrophic mess in the Gulf. We have nothing to do with the state of our economy. We are just average working stiffs trying to live, get by one day at a time. But, somewhere in the mix our names are signed in blood at the decree of our own undoing. We don’t mind driving the Hummer to the local Piggly-Wiggly, and we don’t mind eating beef, beef, and more beef; and we don’t care about recycling – who does that? And every time we go to the polls and vote, we don’t vote with our conscience. Heck that went out the window years ago! We want to be able to go out and shoot whatever we want, whenever we want and how we want… and we don’t want those brown people sneaking over the border to do all the repulsive manual jobs that average Americans don’t want to do… and we care more about eating at McDonald’s than if our neighbor lost his job to a company overseas. We care more about shopping at Wally World for those late-night snacks than we do the child who goes to bed hungry at night. We care more about buying our spoiled teenagers brand new sports cars to showboat at school than we do for those children who will never have the opportunity for a quality education. I am not saying that we should have a zero balance mentality, but we should be empathetic to those in our own communities. We cannot save the world alone, but we can save one life at a time with compassion and understanding of what it means to be in need.
You’re not feeling me, Mr. Graham, we cannot squeeze blood from a turnip. Offshore drilling is one of the dumbest, most irresponsible solutions to our energy and economic crisis. If we want to fix our “dependency on foreign oil,” invest in green technologies all across the board. Last time I looked, the sun appears to be getting hotter by the day and brighter by the minute. Why not put solar power to work for us all? Let’s turn our recycling efforts into a full-blown work force of average working stiffs who can learn how to convert trash into energy and reusable materials? How about providing real on-the-job training programs for every person willing and physically able to work for a living? And for those of us, the unfortunate few, who are willing to work but don’t have the physical stamina or health to complete specific tasks, create innovative ways to accommodate us so that our mental abilities won’t fall to the wayside. We can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, but with a little nourishment, we can transform that turnip into a beautiful, flourishing flower.
You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip
By CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Social Media, Philosophy, Poetry and More
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