ANOTHER FIRST (posting here, that is)

(Please read “About” above. Thank you.)

Greetings, my new followers and friends.

I have been depressed this time since about January 20, 2017, give or take a few weeks. I’m not really depressed. Grieving. I don’t always know how to differentiate between emotions, so I’m not sure when I feel grief and when I’m depressed. Or perhaps they are two sides of a multi-sided coin.

That’s a helluva way to start a new enterprise, isn’t it. I’ve been depressed. . . .
Well, if you’re paying attention, you are either depressed or furious. Or both. Today on KERA radio, Krys Boyd interviewed Jessica Bruder. The lead-in for the show was:

The Great Recession is nearly a decade in the past, but some American workers are still feeling its effect. Jessica Bruder joins us to talk about how the recession created a new breed of migrant worker – primarily older Americans. She tells their story in “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” (W.W. Norton and Company).

Retirees – or folks who are supposed to be retired – living in campers and vans and traveling around the U.S. looking for temporary work because they have no retirement funds or they simply never earned enough to retire. That’s both depressing and grievous.

I haven’t been able to ask any of those folks which it is, of course, because I don’t know any of them. I do know some other folks who more or less live in their RV’s or campers and have a great time traveling around the country in great migratory communities of old folks (my age) who square dance, play bridge, hunt – I don’t know what all. They meet their friends from last year at the same campground or RV park, and they tell me they have they’re having the time of their lives.

So here we have a great dichotomy. Two groups of people living pretty much the same way, but one is looking for back-breaking labor in Amazon service centers and the like, and the other is square dancing their way around the country. I don’t know. Are these vastly different but on-the-surface the same uses of an RV cause for rejoicing, grief, or depression? Maybe none of the above.

I don’t know how to think about it. But think I must. What does all of this mean about the “social contract,” or “we the people,” or even the Christian admonition to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and all of that? (Christians, re-read Matthew 25.)

Someone needs to figure this out. I grieve that none of the political “leaders” we have elected seem to have any idea how to make sure you and I don’t become essentially the migrant workers (you know, those horrid “illegal immigrants” and other throwaway Americans) we in Western Nebraska were afraid of and dependent on in the 1950s. They came to our county for the sugar beet harvest and did back-breaking work no one else would do.

Oh, yes. One of the temporary jobs Jessica Bruder described that American retirees are grateful to find is working in the sugar beet harvest in Western Nebraska.


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