Manchester, NH, is about 40 minutes from my house, but today it felt as if it and the rest of the world had descended back into the depths of economic depression not unlike what was witnessed by my grandparents during the 1930s.
I went to a job fair sponsored by the state's only TV station that promised to have more than 100 companies seeking workers. I went ostensibly to see if I could drum up a few new writing clients and maybe even find a job that could provide a bit more stability than freelancing seems to at the moment. The fair was supposed to start at 9:30am and people were instructed to go to a mall parking lot and take shuttles to the place where the job fair was happening. I arrived at 9am thinking I wouldn't have to wait too long to catch a shuttle check things out and then maybe two hours later head back to my car and my work.
When I pulled into the parking lot I was stunned by the number of people waiting for shuttles. The line wrapped around and around the parking lot and was composed of all types of folks. There were kids with visible tatoos and piercings; men and women with the unmistakable look of salespeople; techy looking folks; manufacturing looking folks; and every one else whose lives have been thrown into disarray due to the idiocy of George Bush and Wall Street greed. There were thousands of us milling quietly, staring straight ahead in an endless line waiting for a school bus to take us to another endless line and for some, hopefully, a new job and lease on life. I spent more than two hours waiting and listened as one rumor after another made its way through the crowd. I watched some people just stand quietly looking down at the tops of their shoes while others tried to make the best of it and sparked up idle chats with the people around them. And as I stood there and waited and waited the line got longer and longer. The traffic coming into the parking lot created such a mess that the shuttles were caught in an improbable jam of cars leading to a Longhorn Steakhouse stuck in the middle of a mall parking lot.
Eventually, the number of people overwhelmed the capacity of the organizers forcing them to send hundreds more people away by about 10am. It was a see of salesman, office workers, manufacturing folks, imigrants, kids, and more sadly clutching their resumes and wearing their best interviewing clothes. I waited, but eventually I realized that I would never be able to get to the site of the fair, visit with the few companies I thought had potential and then make my way back to my car and drive to my new day job at a local vineyard. I opted for the sure money rather than some chimera of more profitable work or increased clients.
Seeing so many people, and being part of that line and watching so many be turned away I realized that while we may not be in the delths of a depression like that in the 1930s, this was all too close to that kind of joblessness and desperation. I hope that our country and the world can climb out of this hole soon, but I also hope that the American people have learned never to trust ideological conservatives again. Or at least, for the world to have learned to protect itself from the small minded lunacy of the people that led us into this current state because I am not entirely sure America will not make the same mistake again.
Causes James Buchanan Supports
Expanding health care in the US, ending war as a viable tool of foreign policy, and issues related to social justice in general.