Steve Forbert had a watershed album in 1987 called “Streets of this Town” the opening track was called “Running on Love.” The song is about falling in love, and how that changes your perspective on almost everything. I’m stealing the title for this article because it fits.
Usually I’m a verbose guy. Usually I have something to say. But these last weeks since losing a job before I even had my first day have been harder than almost anything I've endured. And I've endured a lot.
I've endured homelessness for over five years now. I've endured rejection upon rejection in this job search that seems to go on forever. I've seen five years of my fatherhood stolen by this economy. I've endured the soulless, heartless, selfishness of some people who were in the position in my life to have offered help and encouragement. I've seen Christianity being lived out by people who seldom ever openly proclaim their faith...and I've seen the vocal Christians live absolutely nothing that even closely resembles Christianity in their interactions with me. It’s consistently been the quiet, flawed, ragamuffins who have been my best friends, who have put an arm on my shoulder, held my hand in prayer, or simply called to say hi. It’s been the forgotten ones who themselves refused to forget me.
I am so weary. More weary than any time in this unbelievably long journey. I’m out of options, out of hope, out of faith. I am not yet out of tears, although I wish I was.
Three weeks ago I wrote an open letter to the President. I wanted him to know about my plight. I wanted him to have a name and a face to attach to the 90 million people like me who can’t find work. I did send the letter besides posting it here. I did forward it to his office. I do know that someone in the Executive Office of the President read it. Of course they read it on the Freedomworks.org site. They never responded to my actual letter. They would have ignored it altogether had it not gone viral, and thousands of people read it. But someone in the White House read it. I don’t know who...Statcounter doesn't reveal that kind of info. But they read it.
Of course, they never responded. No encouraging letter to “Hang in there” no autographed picture of Barack and the wife and kids. Nothing. He ignored me and he ignored my plight. I know he’s busy. I mean with the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the horribly bad Obamacare, and now going into Syria when nobody wants him to...he’s a busy guy. On top of this, he’s been golfing more than any other President in history. Heck he plays more golf than the President of the PGA.
But I know he has a staffer who could have dropped me a line. Some intern who could stuff a pre-autographed glossy into a manila envelope and mail it to me. But nobody did anything. Because he doesn't care. His life is good, his friends lives are good...so my life is inconsequential.
Maybe it is, but not to me. And not to my daughter.
He ran on “Hope” he promised “Change.” I’m hopeless and nothing is changing.
I hate saying I’m hopeless. I have always been a positive, upbeat, glass is half full and it’s Dom Perignon, kind of guy. But not anymore.
Last weekend I had to tell my daughter about the hiring freeze. I had to tell her that I didn't get that job after all. I had to tell her that unless some miracle happens between now and mid October, I get another job or sell a lot of books, I will still be homeless and she can’t come live with me, and she can’t change schools, and we can’t be together like we’d been hoping for these past five years. She can’t get another cat to replace Giacomo and she can’t have her daddy tuck her in again. My daughter’s heart was broken. She let herself believe. I let her believe.
Mr. President, if you (or the NSA) are reading this...I still can’t bring myself to hate you, because I love the office you hold as I love this country. But it’s personal to me now. I don’t like you. Your polices have broken my daughter’s heart. I’m a dad and when you harm my child I take that personally.
I have wondered, at times, what it would take for you to “get it.” For you to finally stop arrogantly behaving like a king and start acting like our President. The only thing I can come up with is impossible. The only thing that would break through to you and make you understand, would be for you to actually feel what my heart feels. For you to see disappointment and disbelief in your own daughter’s eyes. To be unable to stop her tears or heal her heart. But you will never be in that place. And so you’ll never grasp the sorrow I feel. Your talk of struggling in your past is just that...talk. You don’t have a shred of compassion and even less empathy. You don’t understand what my life feels like and you don’t care to know.
I have to endure three more years of you and your horrible policies. I don’t know what America will look like in 2016 and it scares me to think about it. But I know this...you’ll be just fine. Your daughters will be happy and healthy and your pockets full.
I’m out of faith, and out of hope, and running on pure stubbornness now. Stubbornness and love for my daughter so deep that I will endure homelessness to stay by her side. Unless I find a job or sell a few thousand books, I’m stuck here. While you’re golfing and ducking issues and enjoying an 8-year vacation...I’m more tired than I've ever been in my life. I’m running on vapors.
Running on love.