|Photo courtesy of thepeoplesvoice.org|
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is emerging as the one political leader in Washington who gets it in these harsh economic times. In his recent NY Times op-ed Bob Herbert reports how Sanders has taken the trouble to listen to his demoralized constituents.
Buried deep beneath the stories about executive bonuses, the stock market surge and the economy’s agonizingly slow road to recovery is the all-but-silent suffering of the many millions of Americans who, economically, are going down for the count.
A 46-year-old teacher in Charlotte, Vt., who has been unable to find a full-time job and is weighed down with debt, wrote to his U.S. senator, Bernie Sanders:
“I am financially ruined. I find myself depressed and demoralized and my confidence is shattered. Worst of all, as I hear more and more talk about deficit reduction and further layoffs, I have the agonizing feeling that the worst may not be behind us.”
Similar stories of hardship and desolation can be found throughout Vermont and the rest of the nation. The true extent of the economic devastation, and the enormous size of that portion of the population that is being left behind, has not yet been properly acknowledged. What is being allowed to happen to those being pushed out or left out of the American mainstream is the most important and potentially most dangerous issue facing the country.