I’ve been back in South Georgia for about five years, give or take a few months. Part of the reason why I came back is that my step-father had an incident that called his health into question. The family needed some help getting him to and back from Atlanta – it turns out for several months.
Because I have been back for several years now, and now that Mom has passed, I have to ask myself: Why am I still here?
Granted, step-father is fine, for the most part. But I haven’t been gelling with him and other factions of the family since mom’s death – or actually before then even. I’ve always been the odd duck out and was gone for more years than I was ever here.
These days, it’s not just my family’s craziness that has me questioning my reason for sticking around. I also have to deal with people who have absolutely NO CLUE what is factual in the world.
Let’s back up a few years to put this into perspective. I was at Mom’s and saw a newspaper laying on the table that had the whole “Hilary vs. Trump” page of what they would do if elected. I was reading the table of changes when my sister came up beside me and said, “I agree with Trump, we need to get rid of Obamacare!”
It instantly pissed me off. “You do realize,” I told her, staring at her in disbelief, “that Obamacare – or the Affordable Care Act – is the ONLY reason why you have healthcare for the first time in 15 or so years, right?”
She sputtered out an “I didn’t know” response.
That less-than two minute conversation sums up the wrongs and ills of the current environment. No one pays any attention to what’s actually happening nor that what they are told isn’t always factual. The simple fact is, she hasn’t been able to afford healthcare insurance because her job didn’t supply part-time workers with insurance. Especially none that she could afford.
But I see that mentality throughout my conversations with people on a near daily basis. I’ve railed about the countless lies that Trump has told these people, but the lack of intellectual curiosity is astounding. With that, as soon as the economy took blows in 2008-2009 state governments cut back on education funding. I saw that because I was heading back to college at the time and witnessed dwindling funding for programs at the college level, much less the primary level.
There were numerous times that I listened to children who were at college who could barely read. Some had to take remedial English or Math just to stay in college. That alone told me that these children weren’t ready for college. There were no critical thinking skills. That was evident when some of my classmates would say, “I don’t think I am going to class today.” I would retort that SOMEONE was paying for them to go to class. Either their parents or the government was paying for that class that they were casually tossing aside.
More often than not, that conversation would get most of them to class. I cannot tell you how many professors would tell me that they were glad that I wasn’t frightened to tell these kids the reality of their mindset.
In one class, I made a student cry because she was saying some of the most absurd bullshit I’d ever heard. The professor came to me later and said the girl went to her office and questioned the impact I had on her grade. The professor said, “None, but you might better listen to what he was telling you because the decision is yours whether or not you take this to heart because what he told you WILL impact your grade.”
And that’s the problem: too many people think their OPINION is indeed fact.
Case in point, when people were talking about how the election was stolen from Trump and how he was lowering their taxes while Biden was going to raise them, I was quick to point out that the “trickle down theory” of economics were proven to be utterly false, they couldn’t deal with it. Nor were there any proof that the election was stolen. When I pointed out that the tax break that the Trump administration gave to the ultra wealthy actually raised their middle-class taxes, they didn’t know that.
Again with the whole “I didn’t know” comments.
I know, I am a bit beyond the expectation down here. I read and listen to news more than I listen to music. More than I watch TV or movies – because I was a journalist for a hot minute. Yes, I have my opinions – after all, that’s what this page is MY OPINION. The problem is that I base most of my opinions on the facts of what’s going on around me.
And now we come back to the crux of the conversation: why am I still living down here? It’s in part, economics and the job environment. I am one of those odd ducks that doesn’t fit into a specific category. I was in information technology but have been out of it for too long. I was a journalist but refuse to starve to death taking a newspaper job down here. I’ve done the news anchor position but let’s face it, I am too old looking to continue that position. Lately, I have been in safety and compliance – which I greatly enjoy.
I’ll stick with that for a while more. After all, I’m a good ten years from retiring. That is IF there’s anything left in the retirement plan when that comes around. Republicans have said they want to privatize Social Security.
I may just have to work until I die. That’s a comforting thought.
So, why am I still here? Maybe it’s to educate, or point out the fallacies that are taken as fact these days. What ever the reason, I’ll bear it all out until something better comes along.
This may be part of the reason why I haven’t moved.
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