Monday, November 24, 2008

Changing my view

I'm normally a pretty generous person. If I see someone in need and I have a way to help them, I usually do. Having said that, I hate all the begging for free stuff and handouts on Craigslist. When I go into the "wanted" section, I'm looking for people that want to buy things that I want to get rid of. When I place an ad, it's because I want to sell something. If I'm giving it away, I'm really upfront about that and it's listed in the "free" section. I cannot tell you how many times I have put an ad out there only to have some person respond with a sob story and their hand out. I think most (not all) of these people are scammers just looking to get free stuff so they can sell it. I'd probably be more inclined to give to them if they were honest and just said "I make a living getting stuff for free and then selling it." I can totally respect that.

But sometimes, times really are tough. Here in Sunshineville there are a large number of foreclosures and short sales and the like. The economy isn't the best it's ever been. I personally have sent my resume to numerous companies and never heard one word. I even resorted to sending it to all the temp agencies and still got no response. Employment is hard to come by right now. And this affects people. People just like us.

While Mister C & I were on our daily walk we got to see it first hand. As we were walking past a house, the man living there was talking to the representative for the local power company. She was telling him that he had one hour to go pay his bill or she would be back to shut it off. He had a toddler in a diaper standing behind him. It broke my heart. But what can I do? Even if I had the money to pay his bill, is that going to be enough to stave off the bill collectors? Will it just mean his power can stay on for another month, but he's still going to get kicked out for not making the payment? My first instinct is to help the guy out but I guess I don't know what to do to be the most helpful. I'm really at a loss. Reading it in the paper or on the Internet, it's fairly easy to just skim over the problems and say "hey, it doesn't affect me so I'm not going to worry about it." And that worries me because it reminds me of the poem by Martin Niemoller.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.