By Howard Zinn, The Progressive – March 2008 Issue
There’s a man in Florida who has been writing to me for years (ten pages, handwritten) though I’ve never met him. He tells me the kinds of jobs he has held-security guard, repairman, etc. He has worked all kinds of shifts, night and day, to barely keep his family going. His letters to me have always been angry, railing against our capitalist system for its failure to assure “life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness” for working people.
Just today, a letter came. To my relief it was not handwritten because he is now using e-mail: “Well, I’m writing to you today because there is a wretched situation in this country that I cannot abide and must say something about. I am so enraged about this mortgage crisis. That the majority of Americans must live their lives in perpetual debt, and so many are sinking beneath the load, has me so steamed. Damn, that makes me so mad, I can’t tell you. . . . I did a security guard job today that involved watching over a house that had been foreclosed on and was up for auction. They held an open house, and I was there to watch over the place during this event. There were three of the guards doing the same thing in three other homes in this same community. I was sitting there during the quiet moments and wondering about who those people were who had been evicted and where they were now.”
On the same day I received this letter, there was a front-page story in the Boston Globe, with the headline “Thousands in Mass. Foreclosed on in ’07.”
The subhead was “7,563 homes were seized, nearly 3 times the ’06 rate.”
A few nights before, CBS television reported that 750,000 people with disabilities have been waiting for years for their Social Security benefits because the system is underfunded and there are not enough personnel to handle all the requests, even desperate ones.
Stories like these may be reported in the media, but they are gone in a flash. What’s not gone, what occupies the press day after day, impossible to ignore, is the election frenzy.
[For the rest of this article, go here.]
Howard Zinn is the author of “A People’s History of the United States,” “Voices of a People’s History” (with Anthony Arnove), and most recently, “A Power Governments Cannot Suppress.”