Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Choice

Soon, we have a choice.

I grew up in a family that was completely dependent on the economic status of the housing industry. At times in my life I can remember my mother and father struggling financially. Was it because they were lazy? Was it because they did not put forth enough effort? Of course not. It was because the economy was down and fewer homes were being built.

I can remember 1982. Yes Carolina and Dean Smith won the national championship; but other than that, life was hard. My parents had an incredibly difficult period. My father was still a brick mason and as a child I wondered why in the world he left for work when it was still dark. With the market being down and us living in an area where growth was a premium anyway, he bought a convenience store. What followed was LONG hours, 7 days a week, and $1.50 gas at a time when people were used to .75 a gallon. At that time unlike the last several years, people stopped driving. The store was barely making anything. On top of that, one night we were robbed at a time when $100 was like $10,000 to us.

One evening a man came into the store and says "Bob, I'm moving to Louisiana to work on an oil rig". After some contemplation, my father decided to go with him and find out more about the opportunity. He landed in Houma, LA and decided that opportunity was better than no job at all back home. For several months, we lived without my father. My mother ran the store and again, we did the best we could. Then after it became unbearable for our family to be apart, we all moved to be with him. Those were some of the most terrible months of my life. I learned what it was like to be an outsider at school. A few ass whoopings after I got there, the other kids left me alone. We all felt like we had moved to Sudan and had no way of communicating. So, after about 5 months and the new school year fast approaching, they decided to move back home. Only I did not know that deddy was going back alone.

When he went back, his brothers and some of their friends went with him to Alabama and they watched the Talladega 500 together. After the race, they begged him to come home but he insisted it was just the best thing to do. He had not left them but a few hours and the motor blew in his truck. After his motor was rebuilt, he continued to Louisiana. He never talked much about it, but that had to be the loneliest ride in the history of the world. He arrived in Louisiana and said, "You know what, to hell with this" and he turned around and drove home.

They had rented our house while we were gone to make ends meet. So, instead of forcing the renter to move, we moved in with our great grandparents, Grannie and Papa Ferrell. They had a tiny two bedroom home. Mama and deddy slept in one bedroom, they slept in another, I slept on the couch, and Travis slept on the loveseat. But you know what, we were home dammit, and that's all that mattered.

As unbelievable as all this seems, it did get worse. A couple of months after we were home, the house that we had called home that was being rented, burned to the ground. We didn't lose everything because we were not living there. But mama had stored a bunch of things in the basement closets while we were away. Not anything of real value, but memories that would have lasted a lifetime.

Now I know what you are thinking...."Damn, what's next, all their dogs died?, a meteor killed our whole family?, an angry midget jumped on Grannie Ferrell at Winn Dixie and gave her rabies?"...but that's not what happened. I recall coming home from school one day and we got in the car with mama and she said "I have a surprise for you, your deddy started digging the footing for a new house today. I think he's lost his damned mind, but nevertheless, he has started a new house". He worked on that house himself more than he ever worked on a house at anytime. He would work during the day, then he would work on the house all night. To be honest with you, it is unbelievable how he was able to do it, but he did. Mama worked on it, family and friends helped, and 6 months later, we had another house. His worked picked up, and gradually over the next 10 years, life got better all the time.

You may be wondering what this article has to do with anything? But it does. It has to do with now. My point is, our country is really in a crisis. I talk to people everyday that won't to blame somebody else. Our economy has significant problems, we have asked our military to give years of their lives to a difficult and challenging war, families are struggling like they haven't since the early 80's, it seems every other country around the world is pissed of at the US, and it seems to me that some people are more interested in disagreeing than they are in finding common ground on almost every issue.

But I still believe in America. I am grateful that I was born here. We were built on the unique character of the various individuals from all over the world. Sure we have problems, sure I disagree with some of the way things are done here, but we are still America. I can get in my car, drive to the store, and I probably will not be blown up by a car bomb or have my damned head sawed off with a dull knife. My wife does not have look like a ghost on Halloween to walk outside so that she is not lined up on a wall while people stone her to death. Everybody has a chance here. Does that chance vary from person to person? Sure it does, but that is just life. I had a teacher's aid in the third grade that taught piano lessons. I once asked her if she could give me lessons. She said no, her schedule was full. I knew even then as a child that she looked at me as poor white trash. She could deny that all she wanted, but that was the reason. Little did that bitch know that one day I could grow up, do good in school, graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and actually make a life for myself. She thought I would work in a run-down garage, have greasy ass hands, and my name tag would have the nickname she imagined for me.."Goober". She didn't think I had a chance, but I did. So, some things change. But I imagine her ass is still big, she has about 1 friend and that's a cat named "Zippy", and she's still a bitch. Some things stay the same.

We soon have a choice that will have serious ramifications for our nation. I know, I know...if you are a democrat reading this, the republicans suck. However, if you are republican reading this, the democrats suck. If you are Libertarian, you can't make a decision, so everybody sucks. But I implore you to vote. Don't just vote, but vote your conscious, and vote for candidates that you think will be the best for our nation, state, and even locally. I'm not even suggesting that you vote for any one person, I am just telling you to vote. Some of the candidates that I have voted for in the past have won and been really good, some have not been so good. Some of the candidates that I have voted for have lost, and the person that was elected did OK, and some didn't do good at all. Our right to vote in a democratic society is a privilege. There are countries all over the world that are older than the US by thousands of years that have yet to develop a relevant way to function and live as a society. To me, that is ridiculous. People hate America because our society allows for opportunity. I realize that we have problems, and we have things that could certainly be approved. But when you think about our problems, think about other countries. You think our dollar is weak?....I can buy a Coca Cola in Jamaica for a quarter, or $43,000,000 in Jamaican money. Think our government is screwed up?...Consider that Pakistan is working hard to develop nuclear weapons while at the same time, some of their citizens have polio. Zimbabwe has a leader that has become the king and attempted to kill the one guy that was going to run against him. Only Cuba has a nation built around democracy, respects the middle class, and provides a wonderful environment to live out a long fruitful life.....and I am typing this as I ride through the 5th dimension on my unicorn. You think we should drill offshore? You think we should utilize wind for energy? Want to insists that car companies make ALL cars more efficient? Want oil companies to not be able to charge us whatever they like? Want regulations in place so that people need to actually be qualified before someone loans them money? Want your taxes to be fair and reasonable? Want your small business to be given opportunity and not be hindered by stupid regulations and unfair taxes? How about schools? want people in place that are supportive of the school system? Well, its simple, get off your ass and vote.

I am optimistic that as a nation, even though we don't agree, if we all vote, there is a greater chance that our choice will be a good one. I think that we are going to come out of this slump we are in. We did in 1982, we did during the recession in 1991, and we will this time. Believe me, nobody hopes that more than I do.

Soon, we have a number of key choices to make.....try to make a good one each time you vote for a candidate to fill a political office. I know what a lot of you are probably thinking "I really think K-Rob should run for office". However, the problem with that would be I would immediately start passing out ass whoopings and lollipops, and guess what....I'm fresh out of lollipops.

So vote for your town, county, city, state, and nation. Vote for your kids, your wife or husband, your parents, or the future of your family. Vote because you believe in democracy and you are still proud to be an American. But most of all, just vote dammit because I said so.