Recently in a Contemporary Literature class, some students learned about the tools used by Poets, Prose, Novel, and Play Writers.
One of the tools the students learned about was irony.
As described by the highly respected Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, irony has several meanings but this one, is probably the closest to the sense I am using.
3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity b : incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play —called also dramatic irony, tragic irony (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irony) although in my case (and 35 million others) it is almost more sardonic than ironic.
One of 35 million stories since 2007 is a family that moved to Alaska from Washington State, for a chance at a better future.
During the same time frame from 2007-2008, that this family moved, there were a lot of bad decisions happening in the Whitehouse and the US Congress. There were Billions of US Dollars spent in Bail-outs of businessmen, and their businesses. This was done according to the new President, to save the economy and also to stimulate jobs and hiring of too many unemployed people. The Unemployment numbers at that time were less than five million.
There have been many still-unemployed families that have dropped off the books because their extensions have failed to be maintained by Congress as the Senate and House play ping pong with millions of people’s lives.
Congress is saying that they are trying to be fiscally responsible now, and not put any more unwise debt burden on the backs of Americans. They are now trying to be fiscally responsible after years of fiscal thrill rides and adventures at the cost of the American tax payer.
Where does that leave the 35 million + who have lost their jobs due to the downturn in the economy, through no fault or slothfulness on their part? One Senator has famously said to suck it up and go get a job and stop being lazy.
The family in question that moved to Alaska and had to move back almost a year to the day has sent over 2,000 resumes in the last year and a half that their head of household has been out of work.
That families unemployment benefits have run out, like 1.5 million others (soon to be 3 million others) and they are about to lose their car, which they desperately need for medical appointments and for the head of household to drive 30 miles one way for school two nights a week in hopes that 2 more degrees will boost his employment chances.
This family like 35 million others, lost their source of income after going to college and trying to improve their position in life. They spent an inheritance to move 2500 miles away, only to lose a lucrative position, due to no fault of their own, then had to spend even more money to move 2500 miles back to the lower 48 in hopes of a better opportunity of finding a job.
The average unemployed person in Alaska receives a little over $250 a week in unemployment. Some like this particular family received $370 a week. The State of Alaska advised numerous families that they didn’t have to worry about running out of unemployment as there was no tier system in Alaska, and since so many natural resources went to the nation from Alaska it would be a long time before anyone ran out of unemployment. Unfortunately for this family, it ran out two weeks ago with no warning of any kind.
Irony can sometimes have a humorous touch and sometimes be excruciatingly painful.
The head of the household of this particular family has recently experienced the more painful variety of irony. While applying for a Federal job, it was discovered that the head of household was disqualified from the airport security position because of the credit ruling. No outstanding debts more than 7,000 dollars.
This family learned the hard way that it is hard to stay up on your bills when you are only receiving $370 a week on unemployment and you have a car payment based on your previous income, and car insurance and food.
I would venture to guess that the majority of the 35 million plus people out work have suffered the same bill paying issue as this family has. And now the Federal government is penalizing them from a job because their credit has suffered from being out work, while the US Government is several Trillion dollars in debt and rather than paying their debts, continues to print more paper to spend taxpayer’s money.
Now as I type these notes, the Senate is leaving again for another vacation without voting on the unemployment extensions bill.
The same Senate and House which appears to currently be impotent to pass an Unemployment Extensions Bill without a total bi-partisan cooperation, despite millions pleading with Congress and the Senate for help, less than four months ago was able to ramrod through the President’s health care reform bill without a single Republican vote in the Senate, despite millions telling the President, Congress, and Senate that they thought it was a foolish move and would vote them out of office if they voted and passed the healthcare reform bill.
Talk about your multiple sardonic ironies.