Tuesday, June 2, 2009
In his early twenties my dad sat on a pier bench wondering how he should start his life. A family friend soon approached him and offered him a starting position on a road crew working for minimum wage. For a college graduate this was a slap in the face, but with an ailing father, it seemed the only way to go.
Twenty five years later my father has worked his way from the bottom of a district to running it. To say he is accomplished is an understatement. Less than three months ago he was publicly applauded by the Board of Supervisors for doing a superior job - it was like watching the golden child receive his public honors, and was possibly one of the proudest moments of my life.
Yesterday, he was put on paid administrative leave for three weeks because someone filed a complaint. They won't tell him what it is, or who it is. All he knows is that he has to sit at home and cannot contact anyone at work until they decide whether or not to terminate his position.
My father is my hero, the caretaker of our family, and my best friend. Our family has gone through hard times, and he has always been our rock. My parents have been on the brink of divorce at least seven times, we have struggled financially, and we have over come painful family losses. Despite all of these hardships, my dad never lost that ornery gleam in his eye or his will to fight for what he believed in. Last night for the first time in my life, I watched something die inside my father. I watched a flame in his eyes die out, because hard work is supposed to pay off, dedication is supposed to make you rock solid, and you're supposed to have faith in the system.
America is bleeding right now, and until yesterday afternoon, I had no idea how it felt to bleed along with them.