I’ve been too busy, and frankly, a little too worried, to pen much political prose lately. It hasn’t been because there’s no need. God knows we need more political ideas now, not less. It’s just that as a small business owner, I’ve been more focused on keeping my business and its two employees on track to survive the current hard times.
We’re documentary makers and we also produce a variety of corporate, news, multicamera, and live event projects for media. It’s a rough time for our clients and our funders, and hence, a challenging time for us too. But we’re making a go of it. It’s just taking more of my time than usual, so I hope readers who wonder why the posts are fewer lately will understand.
But this morning I want to take a couple of minutes to recall a little about the stories my father told me about his childhood during the Great Depression. There were always lots of anecdotes about helping his family and about having little. They made everything, cooked everything from scratch. He would talk about how many people in his old neighborhood had lost their jobs, and what it did to their families. I recall only a few of the specific tales, taking away a more general picture of those distant hard times, which I didn’t then relate to. You know, the stories about long paper delivery routes and a child getting up before dawn to pedal his bike around town ... it was stuff my sisters and I exaggerated for effect, having been well provided for and needing only to get up in time to catch the bus to school, with lunch in hand.
My dad has never forgotten them, however. I recall how much it affected him when his own children would waste the resources we had. He was not up against it by the time we were growing up, having gotten a good education on the GI Bill. He was able to become an accountant after coming home from Japan and the post-WWII occupation there. He was the first in his family to move up into the middle class. But he remembered what it was like as a child to need everything his family had to get by. He also took into adulthood a belief in political service to his community, a legacy of growing up under FDR.
My dad is older now and not in as good health as he used to be before a heart attack robbed him of his short-term memory a few years back. But he still remembers what the Depression was like and he still believes in being frugal with what he’s got. It’s a trait I hope I gleaned enough of from him to help me in the coming year—or years— of these times ahead.
Documentary production has always been an endeavor delivering not much of a paycheck, but now I think its also become work that’s more critical to do. We need to tell the stories of those who otherwise wouldn’t make it onto our big and little screens, so I’m digging in and we’re going to keep at it. We’ll be making a lot of other kinds of media as well, I’m sure, but that’s a good thing … as long as it helps us to grow creatively and allows us the means to focus on our main mission.
Like my father was as a younger man, I’ll also be grateful for a government that helps make it possible for us to survive these times. I hope we’ll do it with decent healthcare for all and public jobs that build up our infrastructure, our educational system, and our conversion to a greener economy. More importantly, I hope our politics brings us together to realize that our fates are intertwined, that what makes my neighbor stronger also makes it possible for me to get by a little more easily.
All right, enough for now. I gotta get to work.