The New Deal

Yesterday on the way home from work I had an interesting conversation with Alex. We were talking about the upcoming election, the importance of voting and of course it turned to how badly the current President is performing. Then we started talking about the depression, the real one, and how his grandparents had made it through and how The New Deal (President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s programs) had affected our family on a personal level. I told him that his grandmother’s family, my mother, was directly affected as it put her brothers to work. Before that things were not looking good for the family as her father had just died and there was no income, the boys went to work on the WPA, they worked at building roads. In a way they helped create the infrastructure of our country as we now know it. Roosevelt put people to work, he did not give them a hand out, he gave them a hand up, and that is what we need now. People need to work, not collect food stamps, I know my way of thinking might be wildly unpopular these days, but I was raised in a family of workers.
My parents were migrant workers in the 1930’s; they worked their way from Oklahoma to California, picking cotton. My dad used to tell me no work was menial if it was honest, if you have an honest job do it with pride. Do your best, take a stand, do what’s right, which is what I learned from my parents and grandparents. My aunts and uncles as well, at one time the whole family was picking cotton to make ends meet and put food on the table.
When my parents arrived in California my dad worked in a gold mine, after that he was hired on at McDonald Douglas where he eventually was able to transfer back to Oklahoma. My parents were not afraid of physical labor, they were not afraid to get their hands dirty. I am so proud to come from a people that work hard, take pride in whatever they do and helped shape the landscape of this country.
I am not ashamed I come from people that picked cotton, dug ditches, worked on cars, farmed, in fact did whatever they had to do in order for the family to survive. In the process they helped their neighbors, they took food, made blankets for the homeless, picked up homebound widows and took them to church and out to lunch, took people grocery shopping and showed me how to be selfless. There are too few selfless people in this world today; we need to get back to that, helping people, helping them work. Hand up, not hand out, which is what we should be focused on, let’s bring back the job programs, teach people a trade, so they can take pride in all that they accomplish.

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