A tribute to the 99ers: We are not invisible.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Wouldn't Hire Me, Either.

I have observed some of the goings on over the past week in regard to the long term unemployed.  I think many of these proceedings are positive but the overall effect does nothing to move the 99ers agenda forward. I find that fact troubling.

This past week, Rhonda Taylor started a data base to aggregate all the 99ers in one place. Ms. Taylor also acknowledged that to expand the database it is imperative to reach out to 99ers not active in Social Media. During that span Unemployed Friends resurfaced as Unemployed Friends 2.0.  A comprehensive database inclusive of all unemployed will be a welcome aid in organizing and disseminating information to 99ers.  I also want to wish a hearty welcome back to Unemployed Friends. Unemployed Friends was one of my first points of connection when I came joined unemployed rights advocacy. The Unemployed Friends shoe march in the summer of 2010 remains an inspired original action. Hopefully shoe march will resurface. Nothing but good here.

Yesterday and today there is an advocacy action to support H.R. 589.  There has been significant Social Media promotion for this action. A quick count shows a combined 56 respondents (I may have missed something) on the Facebook and Fullseat events pages for this action. Early reviews from yesterday's action activity shows 99ers made some noise. Still, I remain unsettled about results.

H.R. 589 was introduced February 9, 2011 in the 112th Congress and originally as H.R. 6556 in the 111th Congress. I count the combined bills "on the floor" for about 8 weeks, over the half the benefit period the bills hope to offer. So, we now have 99ers "celebrating" a year without benefits and a bill for additional benefits in the system for 8 weeks and the best we can do is 56 public commitments to nag Congress during the 2 day action? U_Cubed shows almost 4000 members and we were unable to get a public "I'm in" from 10%? There is an obvious disconnect and I'm baffled.

I've been in involved in an ongoing thread with a commenter from a post last week. The commenter used an "expensive" word to call me a liar in my explanation of Minnesota HF 171 (no more than $20 cash monthly for state aid recipients) and mentioned s/he would never hire me. I think the commenter used the fancy word to channel William F. Buckley and in this endeavor the commenter failed in both spirit and analysis. Buckley was magnanimous of spirit and meticulous in anaylsis. The commenter is mean spirited and myopic, symbolic of today's NeoCons. But in returning to the topic at hand, when it comes to results, I wouldn't hire me, either.

I started blogging in July, 2010 spurred on by the lack of organization and message with the long term unemployed.
That week was a very busy week in Washington. 2 confirmation hearings, the death of Senator Byrd, the ongoing mess in the Gulf. Many pressing issues were competing for coverage. 1.2 million citizens without any support, promised support and very little coverage. This is my responsibility along with my fellow unemployed.
The unemployed have no voice, no face, no advocate. We don't have a concrete message other than we need help either with a job or longer benefits. We are relying on the compassion of others, but our plight is much harder to comprehend than the image of an oil-slicked pelican. That is not going to change unless we make it change.
Today is my 101st post and 99ers are even more diffuse and still lack a concrete message. I'm not so ego-driven that I believe I can organize and disseminate a message on my own. Still, in concert with passionate, creative and driven advocates, I have failed to advance the agenda of "jobs, jobs, jobs with a safety net in the interim" via a unified organization and a unique message one iota. We're no closer to this goal than we were 10 months ago, when I started. Effectively, I have produced no results, so I wouldn't hire me either.

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