Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections. . .

Happy New Year, Fans:

By the time many of you read this, it will be the new year, and I pray this blog post finds you and yours well.  This is the time of year where I like to look back at all that has happened in the last twelve months and figure out how I feel about it?

Was 2011 a good year?  It all depends upon how you look at it.  The fact that my family and I survived it was a good thing, but it begs the question, is this all there is to life--just surviving?  I don't know about you, but I always thought that having some type of quality to life made for a good one; however, having said that, surviving is really the best word to describe how most are making it these days.

It seems like the more life advances, the worst our living has become and I don't know who or what to blame for this?  America doesn't appear to be getting stronger, but weaker by the minute.  Everything our ancestors fought for is almost a mere joke anymore.  And it has gotten to the point, for many people, that life just isn't worth living, which is why I believe so many of us are leaving out of here faster than one can blink.  Because the truth of the matter is, for some, death is a better alternative than just merely surviving.  Although that's a horrible thought and a sad thing to say, it's a harsh reality for many.
When I think back to yesteryear, I can't believe how I thought those times were bad, and then I look at where we are now, and think, wow, how I wish I could go back to those days.  I find myself doing that almost on a daily because I don't like the space I'm currently in.  I know I can't go back, none of us can, but I believe the past is the key to where we are now.  Somewhere along the lines, we made some rather costly mistakes and we're being made to pay a very heavy price for them now.

So, for the first time in my life, I'm finding myself on the eve of 2011 not too excited about 2012 coming in.  What's to be excited about?  We are going to be dealing with more of the same shit we're leaving behind in 2011.  In fact, the residue of 2011 only promises to get even better in 2012. 

Let's see what goodies we have to continue looking forward too.  More job loss, for one.  And those of us still working are walking around with invisible question marks looming atop of our heads, waiting for the axe to fall upon our necks at any given moment.  When that happens, your invisible question mark will be a big fat period mark.  Now you can join the ranks of the overpopulated unemployed in America.

More houses falling captive to foreclosure.   Hell, if you're a City of Pittsburgh resident, you might want to start staking out some of the bridges, or finding a great spot to take shelter in one of the local parks, because you are almost guaranteed to be living in the streets soon, thanks to Allegheny County mailing out its wonderful Christmas "property tax assessments" forms lurking in the mailboxes of unsuspecting residents, while they try to enjoy what is left to the holiday season.  If your house was worth, let's say, $20,000 last Monday, well now the City of Pittsburgh says your house is worth $200,000 this Friday, and you're expected to pay your fair percentage because the City hasn't imposed a property tax assessment in ten years, and it's long overdue!   Hmmph, never mind that the City couldn't have picked a worse time ever to impose such a ridiculous idiotic tax--oh no, who cares that most people are struggling as it is?  For crying out loud, the City has a shortfall and gat damn it they've got to make that paper, so they're making sure they get every penny, nickel and dime off of the poor hopeless middle class workers, so it may continue to prosper.  In fact, some City of Pittsburgh residents' property taxes went up 500% if that is even possible to imagine.  What a wonderful way to spread joy and cheer to the City, and the City Fathers wonder why so many people have left Pittsburgh--hmmm, I can't imagine why?

But these are also the same residents that just, a few short weeks ago, agreed to a Referendum to pay additional taxes to keep the local libraries open.  And please don't insult my intelligence by saying now, you didn't vote for this tax, because someone did, but now that you see the City raised your property taxes, everyone is going mad and complaining this is bullshit!  Perhaps you should go to your local libraries to seek shelter, when you can't pay the taxes on your homes that weren't worth two cents a week ago, and now it's worth millions today.   2012 is looking better and better!

I remember when old folks would say, "there's work at the post office?"  Aaah, that's a joke now.  Look how many have closed down.  In my hometown, we had two post offices and one closed.  Can you see that bouncing question mark floating above, just waiting for the period mark to strike?  Sears and K-Mart are closing 100 of its stores nationwide, lending more helpless working stiffs to embark upon the great unemployment line, as if America wasn't already squeezed enough.  So what does America do, she continues to make debt, but that isn't solving the problem.  That's like putting a band aid on a gushing open wound.  How may one look on the bright side when all that looms overhead is just darkness?
You know life is getting pretty bad when our wealthy entertainers are feeling it.  Many stars' homes are going under and they can't sell theirs either.  Hollywood spends mega millions on making movies and don't even make back half of what they put in.  But we continue to give tax breaks to the rich, wealthy, big corporations because if we don't, they will take jobs away from us.  Hmm, that's funny, what damn jobs have they created?  This is the threat that's supposed to keep us little guys in check.  But in case you haven't noticed, if we don't do well, neither does the rich!  The wealthy wouldn't be anything without us, and since there isn't much of us left, they are beginning to feel it too.  So that threat the government loves to throw in the ring, has already been knocked out.  That ship has sailed my friends, so come up with something new to lie about, because that one no longer packs the powerful punch it once had.  History has proven time and time again when the little guy doesn't do well, neither do the wealthy!

Our Troops are coming back home, which is wonderful, but what the hell are they coming home too?  A country that doesn't have any jobs nor homes for Americans to live in.  More debt, hopelessness and helplessness.  Everyone has become a charity case.  The streets are going to become overloaded from the mass exodus of home living.  The American dream is an awful nightmare and I keep pinching myself to see when the hell am I going to wake up?  Sad reality is, I am awake.  So, forgive me if I'm not all excited about the new year coming.  Each year blends into the last, and I'm tired of lying to myself that things are going to get better.  What I see tells me something different.  Sure, we can say positive things to help us feel better, but there comes a time when you have to be real.  You may continue to lie to yourself all the hell you want, but it isn't going to change what is!  It's probably a great idea the Troops are coming home, because in time, there is going to be a new war breaking out, and it's going to take place on America's soil.  And if you think it's bad now, you ain't seen nothing yet when that occurs.  Trust and believe, it can happen!

Until Next Weekend, Happy "Surviving" New Year! 

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet