Fighting Our Corrupt System
In late March, I was fired summarily, with no warning, from the company I worked for my entire adult life. Forty four years, and whisked off the premises like a common criminal. I did nothing wrong. In fact, most people would say that I was guilty of doing a good deed for a handicapped co-worker.
I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say I think you could search for a long time, and still not find a single case of an employee being fired for essentially helping out a colleague who needed it, who’d been there for forty four years, without any warning. Or severance package, of course. Those are for the corrupt buffoons who have steered this country onto the precipice of a very large cliff, and towards an inevitable plunge down into Third World nation status.
Charles Dickens wrote, more than 150 years ago, about the clowns in charge of things during his age. “Experts in how not to get it done,” he called them. Clearly, things have not changed. We are all now subject to the whims of those who are “experts in how not to get it done.”
I have talked a great deal about the truly awful job market in America, propped up by bogus government statistics that only count those who are currently receiving unemployment benefits. Since I was denied unemployment, for instance, the government doesn’t consider me unemployed. There are millions more like me.
While I mull over my options in fighting this unjust termination, I reflect back on some other engagements I’ve had with the system in recent years. It’s never fun to take it on, at any level. As I can personally attest, it’s also very, very difficult to ever beat it, no matter how strong your case is. The wit who came up with “You can’t fight city hall” could not comprehend just how hard it is to fight “city hall” now.
A few years back, my employer ended our traditional pension plan. They gave us the option of taking a lump sum amount, or a very modest monthly payment. I chose the lump sum. The person they directed me to, to work with me on how to invest this, outright robbed me of $8,000 in upfront fees that were never properly disclosed. I talked to her superiors to no avail. I spoke to several attorneys, none of whom would work with me. I know that I was cheated out of a substantial sum, and honest people representing an honest system would have seen that and acted in my favor.
Just prior to this, I was involved in the first car accident of my long driving career. I was sitting at a red light, when a speeding car plowed into my rear, destroying the car but fortunately leaving me with only minor injuries. The young man who hit me had no insurance of his own, and was driving his girlfriend’s mother’s car. People told me I should have a slam dunk case against him, but again no lawyers were interested. I needed to have been hurt bad physically, which I wasn’t. That’s really the only way the average person can “win” under this system; to become devastated in some way. Or to die prematurely, which is the only way to “win” at life insurance.
Last year, I was hit yet again in the rear by an elderly woman. Being the kind of guy I am, I felt sorry for her (she was clearly distraught), and just took her personal information without involving the police. I figured she’d just pay for the relatively minor damage (but still all body work can be expensive). I told her I’d send her the estimate. After speaking to her husband, he seemed to be okay with that. However, during our second phone conversation, he changed his tune completely, and told me that his wife denied hitting me, claiming that I had backed into her! To top it off, despite the fact that the rear impact alone is enough proof to demonstrate fault from the driver behind, an arbitration panel set up by the insurance companies ruled against me somehow.
I could cite other examples, but my record in confronting this system isn’t good. In fact, it’s never once worked for me. Thus, I really don’t trust them to do the right thing in my unfair termination case. I certainly am not going to plunk down a lot of money for an attorney that has to face that same system. So it’s been hard to interest a lawyer, given that I’m looking for one to work either pro bono or on a contingency basis. After talking with so many lawyers, albeit briefly since they won’t tell you anything for free, I’m reminded constantly of what Shakespeare said about them.
Next week, unless I find a lawyer to work under my conditions, I’ll probably shift gears. One strategy is to alert local media to the facts in this case, which are absolutely unbelievable and should interest any reporter worth their salt. But again, given what I know about establishment “journalists” and their reluctance to question authority of any kind, I’m not exactly confident that they will be interested, in spite of the circumstances, which add up to a crackerjack news story.
It’s strange being unemployed. I have never been unemployed in my adult life. The last time I wasn’t working, Richard Nixon was president. But the government doesn’t consider me unemployed. And the unemployment fund I paid into for over 44 years took my money, like it took the money of so many others, and won’t even give me back the measly $9,000 it claimed I was entitled to, when I really need it. That’s a populist proposal for you; workers who never use the unemployment fund they pay into their entire working lives being given some kind of refund when they retire.
I’m luckier than most. I won’t go homeless anytime soon. But I deeply resent being fired by a company I was loyal to for decades, for a reason no one would ever believe. It’s one thing to write about the injustices other people face; it’s another to face them yourself. It’s disillusioning to experience just how corrupt this system is first-hand. To hear the voices, and see the faces, of those who are helping to bring this country down. As I told the young girl who unemotionally fired me, “You’re helping to build a nightmare, which you’re going to have to live through.”
Workers have no rights in today’s “new normal” world. Unions are toothless. Raises are rare for anyone outside management. Bonuses are the exclusive province of upper management, which gives themselves bigger ones every year. Benefits are being reduced across the board, and pensions are a thing of the past. Except for government pensions, that is. The irony of a population being largely denied any pension, forced to finance the very healthy pensions all government workers enjoy is apparently lost on everyone. I don’t see Ayn Rand “greed is good” disciples like Paul Ryan refusing to accept his own lucrative pension. But then again, Ayn Rand herself accepted Social Security and Medicare, in a monumental act of hypocrisy.
I am very blessed in many ways, but I am indeed now living my very own personal Survival of the Richest scenario.