"Tough times never last; tough people do." Robert Schuller hit things on the head with this conservative quote. In a few weeks time, the bottom has fallen out of our economy and people are mad as blazes and scared to death. We feel hard times descended on us like a rampaging tornado. Our IRAs and pensions have been cut, then cut more, and cut yet again. The value of our houses has fallen, foreclosures are on the increase, and major American industries and banks are failing. Unemployment is up each month, with more and more jobs being threatened daily. All this before Christmas and, for many, Christmas looks pretty bleak. Young or old, our lives have been affected. And we have no knowledge of when this financial free-fall will end, which scares us even more. Just blind fear is ruling our lives!
Many pundits are comparing today's world with the 1930s when the Great Depression raged. Bad as things are now, believe me, things were much worse in Depression times. Our unemployment now is 6.5%; in 1932, 56% of black Americans and 40% of white Americans did not have jobs. Those who still had jobs had their incomes drop as much as fifty percent and their work week cut from six days to perhaps three.
Behind the depression, there was untold human suffering and degradation. Families split up, children dropped out of school, and people waited in food lines for hours to get a little bit of weak cabbage soup. Families were evicted from their homes unable to pay their rent or mortgages. Others ended up doubling or even tripling the number of people living in one apartment. Some crowded three or four families into one-room shacks living on dandelions and wild weed roots. Many starved to death and others died from related illnesses.
Yet through it all, Americans stayed tough, just as we must today. They still believed that America was the best country in the world, that there was a better tomorrow, and faith was the bedrock of their lives. We, too, must stand tough, just as Robert Schuller's conservative quote suggests. Let us today still have the patriotism, the faith, and the belief that there is a better tomorrow, just our grandparents did. Don't let your life be ruled by fear and rage. Stay tough and pray. We Americans will make it through this terrible time.