How Do I Keep My Small Government Ideas When I Now Need to Rely on Big Government?
I am about to do something I have never, ever had to do: apply for unemployment benefits. When I came back from the Peace Corps -- wiser and as broke as when I joined, I made ends meet as a temp slaving away over a hot word processor. When I finished graduate school and I was unable to find a job in that so in-demand field of international/intercultural administration, I did temp work again. When I did get my first real job, I only could afford to live in a basement efficiency; I wouldn't be able to afford a car until almost 6 years later, and then only because of the generosity of my parents who passed on their used Honda.
I have always looked back at these events with some pride in that I actually worked my way up the ladders of life: school, job, home ownership. It is probably why all the machinations of the Occupy Movement annoy me so much. Even back when I went to college, I figured out that you don't major in anything ending in "Studies". If you did, you would spend every interview explaining how studying medieval feminist literature made you the perfect candidate for the job.I am having to apply for unemployment because the company I am working for lost a big contract. This is something that is not unusual in the government contracting world, but it is made worse by the poor economy and looming defense budget cuts. What is even worse is that my husband was recently laid off from his job.
Weeks ago, I became infuriated by the attacks against Mitt Romney because he laid people off while at Bain. Now shouldn't I harbor resentment against the owner of my company who must make those same tough decisions? How can I, when I believe he has a right to do so in order to start re-building his business and hopefully be able to hire more people in the future? That's why they call it a free market. He's free to make those choices.
In the past I have disagreed with the decisions to extend unemployment benefits. Will I now become one of those people who will depend on such payments for months or years to come? Will I join Food Stamp Nation? Will the credit card I pull out my wallet now be a shiny new EBT card? I scoffed at the President's most recent efforts at mortgage assistance. Don't I now really want the plan to get implemented?
The possible answers to these questions scare me almost as much as not finding a new job or not being able to pay our mortgage. I am scared that I will fall and be unable get up again on my own and that I will never be able to see a true conservative looking back at me in the mirror.
I hope that with determination and luck my husband and I will make it through this. I just need to remember:
My favorite bottle of Chardonnay - $16; a dinner for two at Outback: $50
Two press level tickets to a Tampa Bay Rays Game: $80
Keeping my faith in the principles and ideals that made this country great- priceless
Mary Durbin is a late blooming conservative who lives and works in the Tampa Bay area.