Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I wake up feeling gratitude every day for so many things. I have my health. I have a job that pays my bills and allows me to help others who are in crisis. I have a roof over my head and reliable transportation. I live in a neighborhood I love. I have a supportive family and a network of close friends.
I believe it is vital to our well-being to view life from the positive side, and to be thankful every day for the simple things we have. Love and faith lead to dramatic transformation in our lives.
As a newly single woman, I have faced my share of struggles in the past six months. I have no financial safety net right now. I'm wrestling with debt, figuring where I can make cuts and where I can't; however, I know everything will work out for the best. I have learned to embrace faith as my greatest asset. I firmly believe that it is not too late to rebuild and reinvent my life, on my own terms.
I know I am not the only one out there dealing with uncertainty. So many people who were having a hard time when the economy was booming are facing an even worse situation today. Unemployment is high. So is the cost of living. I am finally getting used to the increase in grocery prices. I have to wonder what life is like for people living on a fixed income.
Have they had to cut back on food? Turn the heater down and bundle up? Turn the air conditioner to 80 degrees and get a box fan?
I am fortunate I haven't had to resort to drastic measures to stay afloat. I know others aren't so lucky.
Our nation is struggling, too. Two costly wars and a financial bailout on top of a recession that is nowhere near the end have taken their toll.
The people of our nation and our representatives are sharply divided on the solution to our deficit. People are angry and fearful. The situation has pitted people against one another and brought out the worst in many. One only has to log on to YouTube to view a plethora of videos showing people viciously attacking—physically and verbally—people with an opposing viewpoint.
What has happened to the free exchange of ideas in our country? Have we become so crazed with fear that anyone who has a different idea on how we should tackle our problems becomes the object of wrath and ridicule? Apparently, our representatives are turning their own fear and frustrations on the very people they were elected to serve—and aiming it at Social Security and Medicare. Last week, I signed three petitions demanding that Social Security and Medicare cuts be taken off the table. Why does the government feel entitled to our money? And, yes, that's our money. We paid it in. Now, our benefits are on the table to be cut.
I'm not an economist or a brilliant mathematician, but wouldn't cuts to Social Security at this time simply add to the numbers of people living at or below the poverty line? Can we really make a cut to Medicare at this time and have a viable health-care system? Will cutbacks to the funding of our infrastructures prove to be sustainable in the long run, or will we, 10 years from now, be scrambling to make repairs to roads and bridges we can't safely drive on?
Representatives, can we count on you to take off your partisan hats long enough to roll up your sleeves and work together to come up with solutions that everyone can live with? Fellow constituents, can we set aside our differences and make our solutions known to our representatives?
This is not the time to be angry or despondent. We must have faith in our ingenuity and resilience, and recognize each other as members of a larger community. It will take a multifaceted approach to solve our complex problems. The actions we take today to repair our flagging economy will have lasting effects for us all. We should be sure we can live with the end results.
I cannot in good conscience support austerity measures that will impoverish our most vulnerable citizens. Can you? Let's do unto others as we would do unto ourselves.
Award-winning columnist Casey Purvis is a Fondrenite who loves planting flowers and watching the birds in her backyard. She is a sucker for a suspenseful movie or thought-provoking documentary. She is owned by Phoebe, a 9-year-old Lhasa apso. She works as a nurse in her spare time.
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