Monday, February 09, 2009

Obama Visits Elkhart

President Obama is coming to Elkhart today!

It's kind of exciting. The news (here and here) is all "abuzz" with people who got tickets to go see him. I heard on Friday that he was coming, and by the time I found out where the tickets were being distributed, it was too late for me to get in line. I would have loved to take the kids to go see him, just for the historcicity (is that a word?) of it. But I would also like to go myself because I'm curious about what he's going to say, and I'm also kind of touched that he's coming here.

Following is a quote from the Associated Press, printed today in our local paper, The Elkhart Truth:

"The Elkhart-Goshen region in northern Indiana saw its unemployment rate soar to 15.3 percent in December, up a whopping 10.6 percentage points from December 2007. The region has been bruised by layoffs in the recreational vehicle industry. Hundreds of workers have lost their jobs at RV makers such as Monaco Coach Corp., Keystone RV Co. and Pilgrim International."

The people here are hurting. Elkhart County's unemployment rate is 15.3%. And the city's rate is even higher - almost 18%! The rate has tripled in the past year. It's a very scary and dark time here. People I run into around town ask me, "is your husband still working?" My response is "Yeah. For now." Normally, that would be a weird question. But now, it's reasonalble, and even thoughtful. Every week I hear of another one or two of our friends or acquaintences who have been laid off. And there is no hope of finding a job. Nobody is hiring. Companies are only downsizing.

The factory lay-offs trickle down to affect everybody. Many other companies around here worked with the factories - selling parts and supplies, things like that. When the factories close, it affects the other companies who then have to downsize, laying off more workers. When this many people are laid off, there is obviously less money to spend, which means people don't go out to eat as much. They don't spend money on entertainment. They even cut costs in necessities like groceries, clothes, toiletries. Which means the shops and restaurants and entertainment industry aren't making as much money, which means THEY downsize (or close altogether) and lay off more workers. When companies are downsizing, they're NOT building new stores and buildings and facilities, which affects the construction industry (which is where we are). Derrick is working now at a new hospital they're building, but when that's done... who knows if there will be any jobs available? Here is a touching article from today's paper, written in the form of a letter to the President from any given citizen of Elkhart.

I have mixed feelings, actually, about Obama's visit today. Part of me is moved - the President of our country is concerned about the people of Elkhart. I mean, we're 50,000 people out of millions in the nation. Presidential visits are usually reserved for disasters - hurricanes, things like that. This isn't a weather-related disaster, but the local economy is in a state of disaster. And that, to me, is scary, sad, dark, and brings tears to my eyes. And the fact that the President is coming here, is moving.

On the other hand, I'm skeptical about his motives. He's trying to pass an economic stimulus bill. I wonder if he is really just coming here to rally support for his bill. To play on the emotions of people who are in a vulnerable state. Or possibly his motives are a combination of the two - he IS concerned about us, AND he thinks this bill will truly help us, and therefore he is coming here to rally support for a bill that is really in our best interests. That is what I want to believe about him.

I don't understand politics or economics on a national or global level. But I know that I have spent the last several years working OUT of debt, not going into MORE debt. I don't really see how taking on more debt is going to get our country out of debt. I guess the political people see it as an investment - creating more jobs will put more money in our pockets, which will allow us to spend that money, which will then create or maintain more jobs, and on and on. I can understand that theory. I'm just skeptical. I wish the White House would really and truly cut spending. I've been saying that they should hire a few stay-at-home-mom's to help them with their budget. We know how to cut corners -( like buying cheap toilet paper). Anyway, that's a bit of a tangent. Mainly, I just wanted to express my thoughts. I am skeptical about his motives. But mostly, I'm moved and excited that he's coming here. Many of my friends are struggling with no end in sight. The President's visit today is a beacon of hope for the people of Elkhart. I hope and pray that we won't be disappointed or disillusioned.


  1. Lol - I love your idea about the government hiring a few SAHM to help with budget cuts. I really think you're on to something there!

    Ps. love your new picture header too. Is that your house?

    Blessings girl!

  2. You should write for the E-truth.

  3. i'm still tickled that i called you about this as you were writing it. my mind is boggled by all of crisis that is happening. We haven't been affected YET either, but that seems to be the big word...YET. i'm glad we're in God's hands.