My family was one of the lucky few personally invited to attend Obama's Presidential Inauguration. We -- my ex-wife and two young daughters -- held Blue tickets that our congressman Lincoln Davis issued us.
We loaded up the car and drove the 12 hours to Washington, D.C., all the while laughing and talking about hope and change. It was an amazing experience riding the subway, visiting the monuments and museums and being part of that electric crowd of smiling, hopeful people. Our hearts leapt and stayed afloat during the Inauguration speech, and our chests thumped with hope and pride when those massive Howitzers thundered down the National Mall.
Life was going to change. Life was already pretty good. We were living a comfortable life in rural Tennessee. I owned a small photography studio. I had a beautiful family, two cats, and a 2-story Colonial-style home on a breezy hill. Bills were paid, credit rating was excellent.
Then two life-changing events happened:
First, the housing boom went bust. Everything I had saved vaporized in a matter of weeks.
Second, my wife informed me she wanted a divorce.
I am now in the process of both divorce and selling off our home, which has diminished in value. I survive on my dwindling savings and the occasional freelance writing job or any other paying opportunity that happens along. Those paying gigs are few and far between and many are never coming back. Near-slave labor offered from far off countries snaps up whatever jobs these companies have off-shored. This is fantastic for those countries' GDP... and devastating for ours. Those of us out here scrambling for a future cannot all work as Wal-Mart greeters or call-center jockeys.
The skills, work history, solid experience, years of schooling, and creativity are mileposts all of us have earned and are proud of. To imagine a pool of such extraordinary talent sitting idle and watching that work/resume gap widen every day is profound to consider. We have a world of knowledge and valuable wisdom. We are Americans! We are human beings! And we are not just going to 'go away' as some would like us to do.
Over a year has passed since I began desperately searching, scouring the job boards and 'networking' on every available forum on the web and in honest-to-goodness face to face meetings. I have had exactly two interviews and an email box stuffed with rejections. I am jobless, soon to be homeless, and dancing on the fine line of keeping my sanity for the want of hope.