America has always been reserved on the highest pedestal. That tradition hovered over my childhood in Lagos, the thriving metropolis and former capital city of Nigeria.
My parents came to the States in the early seventies to pursue their college education and create a family. While some of their peers opted to escape the notorious reputation of bribery and corruption, my mother and father were wedded to their patriotism almost to a fault, which prompted the need to return to their homeland with two young kids in tow.
All through the waves of national hysteria and polarizing dysfunction borne out of numerous military coups that heightened the power of murderous dictators, I was lovingly reassured that my future would be bright, thanks to the invaluable gift of my American citizenship.
Fast forward to the present, and while I can’t necessarily downplay the viable currency of my Americanness based how British colonizers criminally defaced the primal valves of Africa’s most populous nation, thereby setting off the chain reaction that makes Nigeria barely survivable, I also won’t pretend that being an American isn’t a bipolar disorder.
The American president loves to boast about the country he loves like no other. The land of the free and home of the brave is revered for its abundance of wealth, and the booming economy that has historically almost flatlined more than once, but those epic bailouts were a godsend for financial institutions that ironically orchestrated those harrowing episodes.
When we hear about Amazon’s Jeff Bezos reaping billions more from where that came from at a time when 22 million Americans have logged in their jobless claims due to the crippling effects of coronavirus, it’s hard not to reflect on how the offensiveness of wealth inequality is cruelly exaggerated when so many are struggling.
Stinking rich CEOs like Bezos, JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Apple’s, Tim Cook, Disney’s Bob Iger etc., don’t get to pocket million dollar bonuses, annually, without fucking over vulnerable members of the workforce.
And the United States of America can’t retain the title as the “world’s richest” without holding the little people hostage with manufactured entrapments in the form of credit cards, and the lethality of seducing college freshman, who readily embrace free money without fully grasping the lifelong bondage.
The systemic sectors of this country is set up to keep American workers enslaved by the cyclical regimen of making just enough money to fund mounting bills and debts.
One could argue that responsible tax-paying citizens have no business living above their modest means, but reality kicks in when you consider how toiling away at a job that demands working overtime in order to break even, can eventually take an emotional and financial toll.
America is richer than rich, and yet when shit hits the fan with unprecedented blows to the financial stability of working families that were barely holding on before the plague of our lifetime made its arrival, we are told to be mighty thankful for the paltry check of $1200.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar shares the sentiments that most Americans harbor and are publicly venting on social media platforms with daily demands for deferred payments across the board in recognition of the abrupt halt of steady income, and the continued depletion of scarce resources.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who is worth about $400 million and owns a posh New York City apartment that’s listed at $29 million accumulated his wealth from his days as top a financier before being drafted to the Trump administration. This might explain why Mnuchin is completely disconnected from the precarious reality of regular folks, who can’t possibly stretch out $1200 to last 10 weeks.
Why won’t America take care of its own?
Well, the answer lies in how great wealth can’t be established without knocking down the expendable laborers who aren’t fortunate enough to pay off their woes.
Imagine that not long ago, President Trump, who was blown away by the glitzy festivities of the Bastille Day parade during his visit to France in 2018, seriously pondered replicating a similar event in DC to showcases the spectacular brilliance and formidability of our military prowess.
That pricey and senseless investment would’ve fed into the ego maniacal deficiencies of an incompetent man-baby, who pathetically throws tantrums when he’s forced to take a brief break from his childishness.
America won’t take care of its own during a time of crisis because that would cost too much.
We are constantly updated about the government’s expanding programs that supposedly provide much-needed financial relief for millions of Americans who are stuck in limbo for the duration of this period of uncertainty.
But even with the goodwill towards men and women, there are glaring inconsistencies and loopholes that add more stress to the stressed, who can’t afford to accommodate delays stemming from the fractured process of applications.
Check this out:
While Trump and his henchmen furiously fight to sustain his re-electability by plotting to sacrifice innocent lives for the dangerously premature reopening of the economy, most of us are trying in vain to access our rightful claims because of the deviousness that leaves a huge population of the jobless — out in the cold.
Independent contractors are now able to file for unemployment benefits, but before you get excited, you must do the research and discover that most states haven’t responded to this new mandate. Also, you can’t expect assistance if you are unable to prove that coronavirus is directly to blame for your predicament.
And that $1200 stimulus check won’t be bailing out as many Americans as you think. Remember that there are a good number of people who are too poor to file taxes, and haven’t done so in awhile. The punishment for their negligence involves losing the privilege of receiving the money they rightfully deserve.
Maybe there is a way around their plight, but from what we’ve gathered from the multiple attempts to track the payment that has apparently been distributed to millions of Americans, if your case is even a little bit radical, you might be greeted with this vague warning:
In my case, I willingly gave up the luxury of stability when I finally had my fill of being a corporate slave, and fatefully submitted to the high-risk status of being a freelancer.
For the last three years, I have been relentlessly assaulted by the hostile job market, and reduced to begging mode for sporadic editorial gigs that don’t pay nearly enough to ensure that I can comfortably give the IRS payments owed without missing meals.
As we all know, you can’t fuck with the IRS, even if they can righteously fuck you over. And so I’ve been sticking to the arrangement of monthly dues, but somehow my status is questionable enough to perplex the online portal, hence the resounding NO when I check on the relief check that’s never coming.
There have been swirling rumors that theorize about how the newly launched website is overwhelmed by high traffic that forces it to occasionally malfunction.
The IRS denies this and reiterates that if you’re not getting the confirmed message that eligible candidates have no issue garnering, that’s a clear sign that you’re out of luck.
As a Nigerian-American, I’ve become accustomed to being screwed twice over, and while it’s not a good place to be, there’s definitely the empowerment of not seeing “America the beautiful” through the rose-colored glasses that disrupted my vision when I was a young American living in Nigeria.
America owes me and my comrades in poverty a shit load of money, and regardless of the government’s bold refusal to allot the hefty checks that should keep us afloat for the rest of the year, the truth of how we’re being bamboozled out of our birthright will remain active.
We’ve worked our butts off for decades, and have had the displeasure of never being awarded the annual compensation that permits the standard of living that rightfully equates with the postering of the “American Dream.”
The death toll from COVID-19 both at home and abroad is staggeringly tragic.
And as we try to contend with the catastrophic results of what none of us could’ve predicted when the ball dropped in recognition of the new decade, we are also saddled with the ongoing nightmare of being discarded Americans, who are citizens of a wealthy nation that won’t take ample care of its own.
If you think that’s bad, add the extra dose of being fucked over, not once, but twice!