Yesterday I took the girls shopping for summer shoes. We stopped at a CVS to get some water because we were all thirsty after our snacks, I told the girls to go in ahead of me while I stopped at the car and ask for the woman that we prefer working with. When I met them at the store they told me she wasn't working so when a guy stopped by to ask if we needed help I said yes. Later on I saw my friend and then I felt bad that she wasn't getting the commission and I was really annoyed because he was not a good fitter. What I should have done was buy each of the girls a pair of sandals and then returned for the rest of what we wanted, but we were there and I knew it would be a while before we were able to get back out.
We went out to eat at Bonefish Grill, a place I used to like that seems to get worse with every return trip. The girls were happy with their meals. They ordered the same chicken dish that I had. Mine was almost totally flavorless so I didn't eat as much as I would have had it been a better meal. Our server didn't seem to pick up on our disappointment, but it was very busy so maybe she was just thinking about how much work she had to do. It was nine by the time we arrived at home, the girls were tired, but wound up so I had my oldest take a bath while my youngest started getting ready for bed. Yesterday I moved a small table that had been in the kitchen out so now I have a wide expanse of wall where we can hang a shelf.
I stayed up way later than I intended to last night. I came home and thought I would quickly check Twitter. The riots in Baltimore were a main topic of conversation, I haven't been following them closely, but that kind of thing always makes me uneasy and I'm so thankful that I live in a country that isn't plagued by this sort of thing on a more regular basis. I watched a short clip where a man is imploring people to stop the violence and invites them to sit down and talk. People who had nothing to do with Freddie Gray are being subject to curfews and having their lives disrupted by the rioters and protesters. Kids are missing school, buildings and businesses are being broken into, there is looting and a friend of mine who lives in India says that the story is being covered over there, he would like to see the White House take stronger measures to restore peace.
I'm not sure what needs to happen in this country because to me, this is a symptom. While police brutality exists, and I believe that there is a racial component involved, I think a lot of people are fed up with their lives and frustrated by what seems to be the disappearance of the; go to college get a good job mentality that was more universally accepted previously. I follow more than a few lawyers on Twitter, my cousin went to law school, graduated, and is now becoming an actuary because he couldn't find full time work as an attorney. People are going to school, graduating with mountains of debt, and then are under or unemployed. Others are skipping school entirely and while I still believe in higher eduation, I can see why many college aged kids are forgoing it entirely.
A lot of people don't trust things like the stock market or the government. Reports state that fewer houses are being purchased and I think some of that is a natural market correction now that the trend is away from McMansions and toward the tiny homes that are becoming increasingly popular. I think there is a tendency to forget how amazing the United States of America is compared to many other countries or places where citizens could be living, which doesn't mean that there aren't real problems here. It makes me sad to hear people talk about the future as dystopian and as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't really matter who wins the next presidential election because the candidates are so far removed from the people that they can't identify with the average Joe or Jane.
A Washington Post article I read discussed the fund raising candidates are engaged in and how the ultra wealthy are able to keep people on the campaign trail despite poor performance in a state or other geographical region. Being President is a big job, and I didn't think I would ever say this, but out of the choices, Hillary Rodham Clinton seems the least offensive. What stuns me the most is how a lot of the black people I know in real life and follow on Twitter do not feel better with Barack Obama in office. If having a black president doesn't make them feel safe, what is going to happen after the next election? There's a rich vs poor mentality and a black vs other minorities and a white male entitlement that was exemplified at supper last night.
My family sat down across from a party of about thirty men. There were a couple of non-white men, but there were no women, and I think a lot of us can see some of the problems, but we don't necessarily know what to do about them. Rand Paul comes across as a sexist douchebag, I dislike using the term, but in his case, it fits. I have little love for Hillary Clinton, I follow a Richard Nixon parody account on Twitter and whoever runs the account has insights that I enjoy although I met this person in a baseball context since former President Nixon was a Mets and Phillies fan who held season tickets for both teams. This person says that Hillary is cold enough to be President and I've never doubted that. Whatever else you can say about her, she has staying power.
The idea that the wealthy own America is a fact to me. I doubt we will ever know the true control this tiny group of men and women have over politicians and government. I don't know how you can fight this level of power or if we should even bother since we have no guarantee that the next group to ascend will be any better. I want to support police efforts, but some of the things I'm seeing from Baltimore and Ferguson concern me as journalists and other media are being silenced and told to go home or risk endangerment. When we were at the restaurant last night I looked around the room at the well dressed people who were eating appetizers and downing drinks. Credit cards are an insidious threat and I don't see much being done to try and curtail that power either.
Somewhere on E2 there is a writeup that describes what happens when people experience extreme poverty and significant financial hardship through no fault of their own. While I believe this piece speaks about life in the Middle Ages, I think it is still pertinent and relevant today. You can save and live below your means and still get wiped out after a medical emergency or other catastrophe. The other day I read an article about the closing of a Starbucks, the ubiquitous coffee shop that is almost as popular as Walgreens out here and in other parts of the US as well. I've always viewed our home as something we could sell when we got older. Now I no longer think that it will fetch the value that it could have so my plan is to get it fixed up as best I can and dump it before the market tanks.
I could be totally wrong about the real estate market, and on some level I hope that I am. We put our money in banks, and I don't often stop to think about what would happen if a bank or another financial institution needed to be bailed out again. Life is short and it should be enjoyed. I do believe that there is a quality of spirit that helps sustain people and I've been encouraged by those who have stepped in and up to help those who are suffering. Baseball has been affected by the riots, the Orioles and White Sox will be playing a game that no fan is permitted to attend. The players and umpires will be paid, but the people who collect tickets, direct parking, and offer conceessions will be losing out on opportunities to make money.
A friend of mine has started a Go Fund Me campaign to help defray some of the expenses they have, life goes on whether your team plays in Florida instead of the state where you could work and be earning money. There is a greater fallout from these riots than meets the immediate eye, and if it can happen somewhere in America, it can happen anywhere. You can blame a number of people or factors, and I think that delving into the causes of the riots has some value, but we need a better strategy. Divisiveness helps those in power, being able to point at people smashing windows gives them a reason to call in the National Guard and other military groups. I can't pretend to understand all of the history or the emotions involved as I'm removed from the situation, but it does concern me although I probably am a laptop activist whose daily life goes on much as it always does.
Sporting events in the United States aren't cancelled due to political unrest very often. I have a friend who is out in Baltimore staying in a hotel that is very close to the stadium. Death is a great unifier. It comes for each of us eventually and your social and political status doesn't matter when your number is up. A friend of mine summed things up for me well when he said that a black man is killed, the police are involved, and it is unlikely that anyone will be punished or disciplined for what is viewed as another crime against a group that is tired of being maligned, attacked, and suffering in ways that I as a white woman can't envision or imagine. I don't have the answers, just a lot of questions about what the future holds for any of us, and the problems of today are not the problems of tomorrow or even next week, but life goes on regardless.