Bob Dylan once wrote a song to Woody Guthrie (A Song to Woody was the official title) while Guthrie, increasingly unable to control his muscle movements due to Huntington’s Disease, was hospitalized at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. It’s addressed to Woody, but also meant for all the old folk singers that were losing touch with the new modern world. A world that was increasingly forgetting about them. Woody Guthrie sung of the Depression mainly the Dust Bowl Refugees that had come to California seeking work only to be turned away.
I’ve referred to what I think is the greatest novel ever written many times on this blog recently, The Grapes of Wrath & how it correlates with today’s new economic climate. I don’t have a cable television, mainly because I have an addictive personality & I would indeed watch all the time, but I do keep up with the news voraciously & I love to read. Today, people are no longer coming to California for work, they are leaving.
There are so many scapegoats that it would take weeks to list them on this blog, so I won’t go into huge detail about all. However, there is one main culprit I have in my sites today & that is Unemployment. This is one of the worst, most unconscionable Government Organizations around. While in theory it is there to help people, it is run by people who’s main goal is not to help you find work, not to help you while you are unemployed but to find ways not to pay you. I have witnessed this first hand with many members of my family.
It is corrupt & even though this is hyperbolic & slightly biased, evil. They interview people over the phone to see if they are eligible first off, but their line of questioning & tone is, more often than not, accusatory & on the blaming you side. Meaning you lose your job, they question why you wouldn’t do everything to keep it up to & including grabbing your ankles. It is not their goal or desire to help those that desperately want to work. They seek not to help get you work with their CALJOBS site (which is an absolute joke). What they seek is reason to delay, deny & discourage those that can’t find work.
I am not speaking of those that consider being unemployed, funemployed. People who sponge off the system or defraud it are deplorable. No, I speak of the needy in this state that need a sympathetic ear when times are tough. Whatever happened to courtesy? What happened to core ideals like caring for your fellow man? Where did we go wrong as a people that simple compassion & understanding have gone the way of the dodo only to be replaced by apathy & outright disdain?
Have we really gone so far as to becoming a country where the haves seek to eliminate the have-nots? It is a telling example that the unemployment is understaffed & now open on Saturdays to help with the utter saturation of calls they receive. Are they cycling people from the DMV into the Unemployment offices now? I am not complaining for the sake of complaining I want change. Our Governor checked out a long time ago. When you elect Rich Men who could care less about poor people this is what you get.
I watched parts of the “Jobs Summit” that the President held the other day with Corporate execs & I heard a recurring theme especially from Disney Chairman Robert Iger & that was reduce the Corporate tax. For what? They won’t employ more people, they’ll just line their own pockets. The economic system is so inherently flawed that it is destined to reoccur in the not too distant future. The people that are trying to help aren’t listened to or labeled as crazy & the people that shit on the poor are regarded as heroes. We are in serious need of our Tom Joad. Someone who will fight for the cause of the poor. Perhaps, The Grapes of Wrath was a call to socialism as many have intimated. If true then so be it, the system we have now is no longer working.
Tom Joad: I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin’ fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin’. And I been wonderin’ if all our folks got together and yelled…
Ma Joad: Oh, Tommy, they’d drag you out and cut you down just like they done to Casy.
Tom Joad: They’d drag me anyways. Sooner or later they’d get me for one thing if not for another. Until then…
Ma Joad: Tommy, you’re not aimin’ to kill nobody.
Tom Joad: No, Ma, not that. That ain’t it. It’s just, well as long as I’m an outlaw anyways… maybe I can do somethin’… maybe I can just find out somethin’, just scrounge around and maybe find out what it is that’s wrong and see if they ain’t somethin’ that can be done about it. I ain’t thought it out all clear, Ma. I can’t. I don’t know enough.
Ma Joad: How am I gonna know about ya, Tommy? Why they could kill ya and I’d never know. They could hurt ya. How am I gonna know?
Tom Joad: Well, maybe it’s like Casy says. A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then…
Ma Joad: Then what, Tom?
Tom Joad: Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.
Ma Joad: I don’t understand it, Tom.
Tom Joad: Me, neither, Ma, but – just somethin’ I been thinkin’ about.
Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springsteen
Song to Woody – Bob Dylan
The Bourgeois Blues – Lead Belly
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise – The Avett Brothers