Friday, February 27, 2009

The News is Personal

I enjoy reading the news; I enjoy watching the news. I consider myself to be a well-informed kinda gal. However, the news rarely effects me personally in any way, shape, or form. Yes, I'll grab my stocking hat before leaving the house if Al Roker thinks its a good idea, and I'll prepare for parties by scanning the headlines (in hopes of finding mildly amusing stories to share), but that's pretty much the extent of it.

Once in awhile, though, the news becomes personal. In the last week, three status updates on my Facebook account discussed scary stories of downsizing, pink slipping, firing, or whatever you want to call it. One of our friends has lost 100,000 dollars of estimated value on their home. We've lost money on Owen's college savings account, and haven't even attempted to open one for Joel. My friends that play the market ride a roller coaster with each opening and closing. Things are uncertain, off-balance.

Despite that, I just sent the letter to the school board, asking them to extend my leave of absence from teaching for the fourth year. It's entirely possible that they will grant it to me. It's also possible that they will have had enough, and they will ask me to piss or get off the proverbial pot. If that is the case, I will need to either return to work or write my letter of resignation.
I'm prepared to write it.

Yes, I am in a lucky place because Paul, as an employee of the federal government, has more job security than most. In fact, he just brokered a deal that they will pay off most of his student loans if he will agree to stay at his present job for three more years. We bought a house in Calvert County for less than 200,000 dollars, something that is simply not possible nowadays. We live simply. We pay off our debts.

And yet. My Facebook friends are not drinking champagne and eating caviar. They don't live in McMansions or own Jet Skis. They are hard working people who also made good choices, tried to do the right thing, and just weren't as lucky. They work for non-profits, social service agencies, and yes, the public schools. And now, they are looking at their finances again and figuring out the new needs vs. the new wants. It's scary.

I just don't understand why people would want Obama policies to fail. I don't care who comes up with the plans, I just want them to work. I want my friends to wake up and go to work, trusting that they are able to make the best choices for their families and their futures. I would feel the same way if McCain or Jindal or even Jesse 'The Mind" Ventura was in charge. I want what is best for the country, and my friends. Politics is secondary.

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