The past month has given political pundits much to talk about. Republican Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts seems to have critically injured the Democrats' healthcare ambitions, galvanized President Obama's populous agenda and thrown 2010's congressional election into a whirlpool of speculation. The cable news pundits and editorial writers are tantalized by the relentless healthcare drama.
Utahns where I live couldn't care less.
This Ruthless Recession, like a slow, demonic vacuum, has sucked the talent, energy and hopes out of so many men and women in Utah and across America. Callous, constant and crushing, the Recession has created a new kind of cynical culture in Provo, a college town known for its youth and innovation.
I have a close friend who moved here from Arizona to take advantage of the exceptional educational opportunities Provo has to offer. He's an outstanding student at Brigham Young University, ranking in the top of his class, with a particular prowess for finance and accounting. He volunteers at his church. He's a newly-wed. He's everything this nation needs--bright, hard-working, driven, kind. And he couldn't find a good job if his life depended on it. Last I heard, he was struggling to make ends meet as a flower delivery boy. Every bank, accounting firm and grocery store in the Provo area turned him down for a job. Three years ago, such a talented student with so much potential could easily find a good internship or part-time gig that corresponded with his academic pursuits.
I have another friend living in Salt Lake City that completed law school and is currently searching for employment in her field. She's disillusioned by all the work, money and time she put into law school with nothing to show for it after a year of looking for a job. She doesn't know what to do. She's considering leaving Utah to find work elsewhere. There's no dignity for her here.
No, nobody I talk to anymore really cares about healthcare reform battles, Supreme Court decisions or climate change legislation. Eyes are glazed over to partisan politics and ears are numb to words like stimulus, job creation and recovery. The Recession has lasted too long, done too much damage. Defeatism is the new reality for so many young people, all members of an astute, modern-day Joad family. Their only message to Washington: It's the economy, stupid. Fix it. Now.