Just a Little Rant on the War on Poverty

I posted this over on my personal Facebook status, but decided to share it here on my blog to reach a wider audience.  It’s a bit ranty, with my disjointed early-morning thought process, but it speaks from my heart.

Found this in some comments (I know, never read the comments) so I don’t know this person, but this is what people outside the US are really thinking:

“As an outsider looking in (I’m from the UK) it seems as though you have a bunch of right-wing nutters who have utter contempt for democracy (unless the vote goes their way). These nutters want to impose some sort of fundamentalist, neo-medieval, Christian society on people wherein the rich will become the new nobility and the rest will become the serfs and peasants living off any crumbs the rich care to throw at them.” – Martin Leach

And he’s absolutely right. And we the people have developed an attitude of “I’ve got mine, fuck anyone else” so the war on poverty has become a war on poor people. We’ve bought in to the stories about people that are “living off the system” which are either not true or are isolated incidents, and bitch and moan that we don’t want our hard-earned money going to these lazy people who refuse to work.

Look at your friends list. How many of your friends are unemployed? How many times do you see them post about putting in applications, getting interviews, and still struggling to find a job? I see it all the time, from dozens of people. They are not refusing to work. Companies are refusing to hire them.

Think they should just get a McJob? Some of them have tried. They have no experience working fast food or retail, so they either don’t get hired, or they get so few hours it’s not making any dent in their bills, or they’re only hired for the holiday season and are back looking for work in January.

I, myself, looked for a job in my field, where I have 15+ years of experience, for almost THREE YEARS, putting in more than 500 applications (I lost count) and getting a grand total of five interviews. In all that time I got one seasonal job paying $9 an hour, the lowest wage I’d had in about 20 years. I finally gave up, and am putting all my efforts into running my own business, where I don’t even want to calculate my hourly wage because I know it’s only pennies.

I am surviving, because I have people who care about me and who have taken and are taking care of me. Many people aren’t so lucky. And instead of helping those people, we look at them with contempt, calling them lazy and cutting any programs that will help them because we don’t want them to have our hard-earned money. We say churches and charities will take care of them, but we don’t donate to them, so where do we think they’re going to get the money to do so? Do we all need to be visited by three ghosts in order to realize our lives would be richer by helping others?

At the very least, we can stop bashing the poor. Stop whining that we don’t want to support the lazy bastards, because those programs aren’t in place to do that. Yes, some people take advantage of the system, but there are thousands more who desperately need it. Leave it to the people who administer these programs to find the ones who are abusing it, it’s not our job. Stop buying in to the stories you hear and realize that they either aren’t true or are isolated incidents that do not speak for every person on the program. The vast majority are children and the elderly. This is who you are hurting with your hatred.

And wake up and realize that whether you like it or not, you are part of the 99%. You are NOT one of the richest 1% and therefore will become one of the serfs and peasants mentioned in the quote above if we don’t get our heads out of our asses. Get out and vote. Research the candidates and support the ones you think will make the most impact, or do the least harm (as the choice often is, unfortunately). Apathy is what is really ruining our country. If we can’t even be bothered to do a bit of reading up on our candidates and haul our butts to the polls every election, the who are really the lazy bastards?

Choices and Challenges

Wow, October already?  I kind of feel like I blinked and September was gone.

I was much busier in September than I had originally planned to be.  I ended up vending at an event every weekend, and two of those events were in my top three sales events for this year.  Awesome!  But it’s a lot of work to set up every weekend, and as amazing as my husband is, dragging him out of the house early every Saturday isn’t quite fair to him.  So the first choice my title is referencing is that I have decided to take October off from live events.  This should give me some time to concentrate on organizing the studio and getting new things up online in my Etsy shop (finally!)

This leads me to choice #2: deciding what order to put things up in my shop.  I sort my jewelry into various themes for my displays at live events, but I’m redoing what I’ll be taking to indoor shows this winter, so I decided I’d just start with one theme and list everything in that display, then move on to the next.  I asked people to complete a poll for me, choosing their top three themes.  Looks like I’ll be starting with Toys, Games, Fantasy & Geekery.  There are a lot of ties for the other themes, so if you haven’t taken it yet, you can still do so here.  When I get done with the first theme, I’ll see what has the second most votes.

I’ve already decided to limit the events I’ll do this holiday season, and I’ll be getting my applications out over the next week or so.  Right now, it looks like I’ll be doing only one, maybe two shows each month in November, December, and January.  My next choice involves what exactly I’m going to take to indoor events.  I got my outdoor setup pretty well figured out by the end of the season (you can check out the pics of a couple of events on my Flickr) but indoors is a whole different ballgame.  For one, I’ve been used to having a 10×10 foot space, while the indoor events I’m planning offer 6×8 or 8×8 foot spaces.  I also won’t have my tent frame to hang stuff from, so I need to find new ways to display some of my items.  So I’ll be limiting my products to some specific categories, and pointing people to go online and check out my Etsy shop.

Now, I have some choices to make for my Etsy shop, too.  I’ve been renewing items after they expire, mostly because I haven’t been able to list new things.  I’ve been thinking about no longer renewing items and instead posting them in my online store, which totally needs some attention and products.  I noticed that a bunch of my Christmas-themed items end on December 14th, and it seems rather silly to me to renew those for another four months that close to Christmas, so as of December 15th, I will no longer be renewing expired listings on Etsy.

So that’s a look into the future, but what about October?  I’ve got a few things planned…

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen my Item of the Day posts.  For October, rather than just picking a random item to be featured, I’ve decided to go with a theme… or rather, three themes, so you’ll be getting three items each day.

  • Pink Item of the Day – By now, everyone is pretty well aware that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  What you might not be aware of is that my own family, like so many others, has been touched by this disease.  We lost my Aunt Linda in 2002.  Her children started Play for the Cure Oregon in her honor.  This month, I will be showcasing one pink item every day, and I will donate 10% of sales from any item with pink in it to the Linda L. Vladyka Breast Wellness Foundation.
  • Rainbow Item of the Day – You also might not be aware that October is LBGT History Month, too.  I’ve been pretty vocal in my support of LGBT rights and marriage equality, and I look forward to every National Coming Out Day (October 11) as I tear up watching all the love and support for myself and so many of my friends.  So I’ll be showcasing one rainbow item every day, and I will donate 10% of sales from any rainbow item to the It Gets Better Project.
  • Halloween Item of the Day – My favorite holiday is Halloween, and it being the last day of October, it’s perfect (in my not so humble opinion) to celebrate it all month!  My Halloween Item of the Day will feature items that can be used for costumes as well as all the “scary” icons of Halloween: bats, spiders, skulls, and a little bit of Cthulhu thrown in.  I can’t think of any Halloween themed charities, but that leads me to another choice I recently made…

I have decided that any time my monthly product sales reaches $500, I will donate 10% to charity or an IndieGoGo campaign I feel deserves it.  And speaking of IndieGoGo campaigns, a friend of mine is doing one right now that only has a few days left, so if you could help him out, I’d greatly appreciate it!  They’re a long ways from their goal, and I’ve already donated all I could (though if I get a TON of sales in the next couple days, maybe I can do more).

And now, Challenges.  I’ve decided to use October to challenge myself.  Since it’s the tenth month and 10 is one of my favorite numbers, I’ve decided to work on “Ten Things” challenges.  Some of these will be accomplished in one day, some will take several.  Some are baby steps and others are more intensive.  My goal is to complete at least ten of them by the end of October.  They’ll be things like “Create Ten New Products” and “List Ten New Items” as well as “Organize Ten Areas” and “Read Ten Marketing Articles.”  I’ll be blogging about these as I get them completed, so that’s another challenge, “Blog About Ten ‘Ten Things’ Challenges.”

But the biggest challenge is going to be “Less Talk, More Action” so I better stop writing and get to doing, yes? 🙂

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