For about five weeks this summer I had no money
Frankly speaking, I consider myself lucky that I
only lost my benefits for five weeks.
I had heard horror stories of people who had lost
their benefits for much longer.
But make no mistake; I didn't know if the Senate's
inability to understand that I wasn't taking my unemployment check and blowing
it on junkets to Vegas would finally be resolved.
I didn't know if there was an end in sight.
Luckily, the logjam was broken up and unemployment
was extended until November 30.
Yeah, the country and the unemployed get to go through
all of this again in probably a few weeks; coincidentally (or perhaps not)
right after the midterm elections.
How anyone who's been unemployed can cast their vote
for an elected official who denied them their benefits is beyond me.
Playing politics with unemployment was (and is) unconscionable.
And if you think I'm partisan and angry on this
subject, you're damn right I am.
Because I know how fragile it all really is.
I understand the months of never hearing anything
back from potential employers---not even a rejection letter.
I know how frustrating and embarrassing it is to
constantly ask your friends for networking opportunities and wonder if you're
being too pushy or desperate.
I get running through your 401K & your pension
because you have no money.
But most of all I understand needing your unemployment
because how are you going to get on the CTA to go to informational interviews?
How are you going to purchase laundry detergent to
keep your clothes clean?
Unfortunately the Senators who voted not to extend
unemployment weren't the only ones who don't understand that it's a tough job
market out there. There are other
Americans who drank the Kool Aid and believe that it's the unemployed's highest
goal in life to sucker the American public.
That the unemployed aren't looking hard enough; that
unemployment insurance encourages sloth and laziness; that the unemployed need "tough
love" and need to be able to "sink or swim" on the merits of their job hunting
In my personal experience I find that their
assumptions couldn't be further from the truth.
So while I've been working steadily for the past 3
months, things are just beginning to stabilize.
I'm not in quicksand anymore but my fiscal house is standing
So I'm not sinking but I'm not solid either.
So remember on Tuesday 99er's and the rest of the
unemployed or the newly employed, we've got a dog in this
This midterm election is about so many issues to so
many people but for me, it boils down to one.
If you were in either house of congress and voted no
to extended unemployment insurance, you're not getting my vote.
It a simple view of a very complicated political picture.