The Healing Power of Truth

I was thinking, as I got up this morning, about that YouTube clip I posted to Facebook yesterday, a two-minute excerpt from a meeting Bernie Sanders was having in Iowa, where he invited members of the audience to speak from their personal knowledge of what it is like to live on $10,000 or $12,000 a year.

This is not a political posting. You know I love what Sanders stands for and what he is attempting to spark among the people. That’s not what this is about.

A young woman came up to the microphone and spoke of her own on-going experience, and could hardly speak for crying about the shame of always being in debt while working several minimum-wage jobs and having to live with her parents. See it here:

I thought, this morning: Nobody could watch that clip unmoved.

We don’t know anything about the woman, how much of her plight is the result of bad choices, or bad luck, or whatever. But, watching, listening, we do suddenly remember, this is a human being; this is a person, not a statistic, not an abstraction.

Multiply by millions; remember that these millions live in the most productive economy on earth, and remember that it is in no way their fault that the value of every dollar they earn has been consistently chipped away by inflation, giving them invisible pay cuts every single year for their entire life, with no offsetting increase in the number of the depreciated dollars they receive.

My first job after college, I made $6,000 a year as a news reporter. My wife and I lived small, saved HALF of it, and after a year traveled to Europe for six weeks before I went on to grad school. Nobody could do that today. Today, the buying power equivalent of that nominal $6,000 would probably be $40,000. (I’m guessing, of course.) So people are being told to live on the equivalent of $1,500 in 1970. Is it any wonder that people are starving, and that the American dream is dying?

It is an achievement of Senator Sanders – perhaps not the least of his remarkable achievements this remarkable year – to suddenly put the human face back into the economic argument.

You shall know the truth, it says in an old book you may have heard of, and the truth shall make you free.

3 thoughts on “The Healing Power of Truth

  1. Dear Frank,

    I so agree. Putting a human face behind what is going on in America and I would add much of the world as weath consolidates in the hands of fewer and fewer and people feel helpless, shamed and confused is a great offering from Bernie one of the few political beings who has not lost this perspective. In Jamaica much the same is happening- a disappearing middle class, a poor class that works 6 days a week and can’t even eat and well political beings who have removed themselves so far they lack interest in what Jamaica loves to call “the small man”…women who do most of the work aren’t even mentioned. How this affects me as a part time resident is I can give less and less as I am squeezed more and more which is so sad. The complexity of the 3rd world is the banks abroad govern but setting the exchange rate and the Jamaican dollar is decreasing despite meeting the IMF protocols…there is no incentive or sense of future among the young. Taxes are so high Americans would never stand for this: a 16 and 1/2 % flat tax on all transactions, 33% income tax, property tax and well the only consolation for the poor is they have no income to declare and have created an alternative economy that is precarious but gets food to them sometimes. So, I wonder what are we all learning from this? Can the truth set us free? It is refreshing to hear it. Thanks.

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