The Poignant Side of the Stimulus Stalemate

image_pdfimage_print

 

Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

I had just distributed my latest MaddenMischief blog “Three Howls for Wily Wolf Versus Smiling Pelosi.”

In it, I commended WOLF BLITZER for bravely holding the dug-in feet of mechanically-smiling speaker Pelosi to the fire on CNN for turning her back on President Trump’s $1.8 trillion stimulus offer while many of her constituents can’t pay rent or afford food. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes watching speaker Pelosi beaming and smiling broadly in the face of CNN’s Blitzer’s withering questions, essentially asking her what’s wrong with you, madam?  “$1.8 trillion is a lot of money!” 

Next day, I received this compelling email from someone suffering from the stimulus stalemate.   Laura, not her real name, texts me this critique of my blog which made me think more thoughtfully, compassionately about the situation.

Laura texts:

As a person whose industries for herself and her husband were destroyed by the bungling of the virus, I’m explicitly aware of what these negotiations have meant and I’m afraid I’m in agreement with holding off. It’s very hard to struggle with no income right now, but I’ve been through the unemployment program and fought for every single tiny cent the government claimed was going to be made available.  It was brutal and time consuming. Multiple 3-5 hours on the phone with unemployment once you waited 2 or more hours to get through.  My husband waiting 12 weeks before a penny of his ‘relief’ arrived.  I waited 7.  

The FED said 3.4 trillion was a far better starting point to avoid another collapse larger than the Great Depression.  So while I appreciate your opinion, I am actually living through it daily, hourly.  Waiting for a better package is the only bargaining chip.  Without more money the package will give me only enough to starve to death in my car while I work to find a job…most which no longer exist.  

It’s not enough to cover emergency mode costs- keep on power, cover medicine, shelter and basic food.  I wish CNN would outline the realities of what these negotiations translate into.  I wish the Republican Party would explain how they expect People to function on so little.  I’m a minimalist and love small and this is not feasible.

The last package I made work through true grit and a savings account.  The new package offers half to 1/3 less in aid.   It’s like trying to get into Disney world that costs $100 and you only have $70. $70 is a LOT better than nothing, but It’s still not enough to get into the park.  Disney world is solvency.  It’s the ability to get by and make a plan and function without losing a family member.  My husband is disabled and the money for his assistance is gone.  

Ms. Pelosi is not polished and she’s not a strong interviewer, but she seems to have done the math for people like me and that matters.  If we removed R’s and D’s from the equation and also remove the judgement of who looks better on camera, it’s worth considering what the actual reality will be for the people this package is meant to serve.  Those who are doing the working, the paying, the living and the dying.  If it speaks to you, I’d be curious to read a blog on this side of the argument. I’m Used to giving responses to what I read.  I appreciate you sharing it and i have read other blog posts of your and I look forward to reading others.  👍

Laura made me rethink of my having made fun of Speaker Pelosi’s almost automatic smile during the stressful interview with Wolf.  Here’s what I wrote  back to that sad . . . face in the misty night . . . Laura. 

Very well expressed and I’m sorry to hear about the rough time you and your husband have had, but I can’t help believing something is better than nothing and $1.8 trillion with a “t” is definitely a lot of something.  

You say it “seems” like Pelosi has done the math, but how much of her ego is included in her numbers plus she wants assistance for the democratically led cities that haven’t managed their finances well and have let violence flourish amid vows to defund police.  Yes I’m afraid egos are bulging on both sides and that’s a big part of the stalemate when giant egotists have to win.  So I’d take the money and fight another day. Meanwhile, stay strong.  Keep your chin up.

Laura quickly texts back: 

Thanks, Tom.  I appreciate your thoughts.  When you’re going about your life tomorrow and you get hungry,  or you reach for your supplements or medication, Imagine being given the option in that moment to have your medicine, but not food,  or food but not shelter, or shelter but not food or medicine…it makes it pretty clear that when you think someone could be happy with whatever pittance the government throws at them, it’s really just a way for people who aren’t suffering to feel like something meaningful is being done.  

That may assuage their conscience, but does nothing to affect change. Nobody is actually being helped.  I’m an American living in a world that has twice now stepped in to wreak havoc on my efforts to build a tangibly wonderful existence. Ego doesn’t matter to People like me.  Ego doesn’t exist in a world where one is in a constant state of emergency through no fault of their own. Donald Trump is an ego maniac…and If that spurs him to push through a package that would allow people like me to have emergency expenses covered that would be fine with me.  If Nancy is an ego maniac and uses that to push through a package that lets me cover emergency expenses, I’m fine with it.

People like me are living on a completely different plane than people such as yourself. Your observations are hovering above a reality of life in America that is so fiercely, graphically  ‘real’ right now that it’s challenging to understand the impulse to comment on the superficial of how people look or sound when they speak on camera, in lieu of looking deeply into the soul of America and Americans.  

If you are game, consider spending one whole day like people like me and see what you notice. Walk around your home and make a list of what you’d keep if you had to move into your car.  And what you would sell to survive. Stand in a food line for five hours in the hot sun and do it without the luxury of your cell phone because that’s not a bill you can pay.

You are very entitled to your thoughts and opinions.   I think you might have a profound shift in your paradigm on the subject and ‘that’ opinion would be of great interest to people like me, who never thought this would be them, and yet it is.  Living in a fierce, graphic reality.  

I text this back to Laura:

Lisa, reading over this dialogue between us I believe it could be enlightening and motivating to our leaders to do more and do it faster! How would you feel about sharing our thoughts with a wider audience?  What do you think about publishing this exchange between us?   I could change your name.  Could I say the state where you and your husband live?  It’s California, right?  I think it could put this pandemic on a more personal level for the egotists to better appreciate what people like yourself are going through.  What do you think?  Who knows? We might have book or a movie here.

Leave a Comment