Lazy Damn Americans
Who Are We to Judge?
So many Americans are lazy. Why don’t they better themselves, get an education instead of whining about how they’re stuck in a minimum wage job. Walmart should pay minimum wage. Not like it’s a hard job, what skills do you need to work at Walmart or McDonalds for Pete’s sake? Easier just to do that and get food stamps I suppose. Always wanting something for nothing, a handout, that’s the problem nowadays, lazy damn Americans!
The young man rolled his wheelchair, muscular arms moving with the grace of the swimmer he once was. Afghanistan changed him. Not just because it took his legs but because of the strange way it brought him closer to his dad. The old man’s war was Vietnam and the stories he told, never seemed quite real. It took ten years for him to settle down and have a child but the jungle was never far away. Now the young man understood, because those dusty streets had taken far more than his legs and he knew why his father was angry.
After the service, after his marriage, the old man worked a machine in a plastics factory. At thirteen, the boy watched as the cancer destroyed the life of his father. The chemicals sprayed from the choppers, the lung eating fumes of the factory, two packs of cigarettes or the stress of keeping the wolf from the door. So many theories but it didn’t matter, Maggie buried her husband then went back to work because she had to.
Blonde hair fading to gray, Maggie stands at her register in a world of her own. She had some bad news last week, the mechanic quoted her two thousand dollars and that was the end of her car. Asking for a ride is tough when you feel about three inches tall and what about her son? How will he get to that appointment on Thursday? She shouldn’t be bitter but hell. They promised to look after him, give him an education and make him a man. Instead, they sent him home with a medal, a few bucks a month and a lousy rotten wheelchair. Join the army and see the world they said but they didn’t mention any war…
A few blocks away, a laborer limps around a construction site. Yesterday, the jack slipped as he worked on his car. It was pretty bad; the gash on his leg took nearly thirty minutes to stop bleeding. The last time he went to the Emergency Room, it was to take his wife who was having chest pains. The bill was over eight thousand dollars and when he couldn’t pay what they wanted, they sold his debt to a collection agency. He couldn’t pay anybody after that because their never ending calls to his employer cost him the job that was already hanging by a thread.
Yes, lazy damn Americans. They may not have degrees or care about climbing the corporate ladder but they build our cities, fight our wars and those lazy damn Americans work hard every day to put food on the tables of this country. Yes, maybe they get Food Stamps but what do you expect them to do? How else do you feed a child on subsistence wages?
Give them a break because they deserve it. Is it truly wrong to be angry about a minimum wage that has hardly moved while the cost of living grows higher? Step down from your high horse, look around and you’ll see the truth. The better paying jobs are long gone. Buy a paper, read the ads and see for yourself the quality of jobs today. We gave the big corporations a free hand and they repaid us by closing the factories that made us prosperous. Now, we go into their stores and buy the product of cheap overseas labor because we’re too poor to argue. Our country was sold and the working class didn’t receive a penny of it.
The next time you hear someone offering their opinion about lazy damn Americans on Food Stamps, remember Maggie and her son. They are our neighbors, our friends and our family. Don’t listen to what you are told. Those lazy damn Americans are not the ruin of our economy but the salt of the earth. Without them and their labor, this country would grind to a halt. I hope I never hear those words again: lazy damn Americans.