I thought i'd take a unique opportunity to report to you live and direct from the warfront. No, i don't mean the war in Iraq -- or Iran -- or whichever oil-rich country the powers-that-be are trying to subtly re-industrialize this week. I mean the real war, the one we're fighting here at home, the war against the socio-economic demons we unwittingly loosed long ago, now come back to claim us. I'm in a strip-mall coffee shop in Livonia, Michigan.
I arrived at the Problem Resolution Office (PRO) of the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) about ten minutes before opening this morning. The Livonia PRO is one of six such offices in the state -- normally, that is -- the UIA opened a temporary seventh location in Detroit last week to address Michigan's terrifying unemployment levels. The PROs provide walk-in face-to-face support for people who are having some kind of problem with unemployment benefits that cannot be resolved via the usual channels. And, when this branch opened this morning and started handing out numbers to the line of folks stretching nearly all the way down one leg of the mall in the Michigan January morning, there were about 150 of us.
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For me, i suppose i can job search from here as well as anywhere, so i'm just settling in for the wait. I have a computer, network, power and a few bucks for lunch, and am grateful to be able to say that much. It's certainly not how i'd prefer to spend the day, but despite my own frustration and uncertainty, i, too, find myself thinking more about the other folks on that line, and then of those who don't even have the fortune of having a line to go to, or prospective jobs to search for, or any resource at all. In the end, i really do have faith that things will ultimately work out for me, and i can't help but want to pray for those who don't have the fortune of feeling so sure.