Thursday, August 11, 2011

The American Dream - A Recipe For Self-Reliance Or For Community?

Are they trying to make me feel like a dinosaur or what I wondered as I went through the Social Mobility exhibit at the Block Museum in Evanston, Illinois. The exhibit consisted of several books on doing pretty much everything oneself from building your own house to making your own clothes, some other artifacts, and a computer. Each artist had his or her artwork, performance art, or writing on a flash drive. The exhibit viewer was directed to put the flash drive in the computer to view whatever. This manner of viewing the art created a feeling of sitting in one’s own psychological cubicle alone, me against the world. This is part of a trend while not causing current rightwing political thought certainly helps to enable it. Why should I feel responsible and have to pay taxes for anyone else’s needs? It’s everyone for him/herself.

Thus, I was very relieved to receive e-mails from Moveon.Org asking me to attend Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s press conference on August 10th at which she introduced her Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act that would provide two million jobs. Veterans and the long-term unemployed who have exhausted their unemployment compensation would get priority job placement. The act would create jobs that would supply needed services to repair our schools, provide health care personnel, and bolster law enforcement and do a variety of other needed services. It would also bolster the work/study program which enables students from low income families to attend college. A companion bill will be introduced to ask people in the top 2% of wealth to pay their fair share in taxes.

The Congresswoman invited several people to speak including Janet who worked for over 30 years at a factory that produced stainless steel goods. She was laid off when the company downsized and has been unable to find another job. She was a good, reliable worker until then. Now she has used up her unemployment benefits and has lost her apartment. She sleeps on her friend’s couch while she job hunts and takes a data processing class to update her skills. She’s angry. Should we be angry for her or is she in this alone? Which way do you want our society to go?

After the press conference, we spent the day in Chicago and came home too late to make dinner. Luckily, I had a quick recipe for Quesadillas that I had gotten years ago from the Chicago Tribune. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare and only a few minutes to cook. If you’re really hungry, serve with rice and beans.


           1 medium zucchini, yellow squash, green pepper, and red pepper cut in strips
           1 medium onion cut in wedges
           2 tablespoons olive oil
           1 teaspoon salt
           ½ teaspoon each of chili powder, black pepper,
           ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
           6 whole tortillas
           6 ounces grated Monterrey Jack cheese

         Combine vegetables, oil, and seasonings in a mixing bowl and mix well. Then grill the     vegetables.
          Heat tortillas on an open gas flame or lightly oiled griddle.
          Divide vegetables and cheese and put on the tortillas and serve.


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