A Shifting Life Narrative

     Recently, I went home to see my parents. My dad, who taught in the community college system for over 40 years, is always anxious to obtain updates about graduate school journey. I answered his questions by explaining to him how easy it is to understand the concepts of “good” and “ought” as I watch the daily updates outlining the actions/decisions of the Trump administration.

     Our reading informs us that: “one must discern the goods (virtues and communicative social practices) within a given narrative that shape that which constitutes the ethical” (Arnett, Fritz, & Bell, 2009, p. 40).  As I listen to the news and read online articles it is easy to see that the communication ethics being presented by President Trump’s recently announced budget cuts seem to be more divisive than unifying. For example, one of the programs that would face severe budget cuts (or be completely exterminated) is Meals on Wheels (Abramson, 2017). A Time article explained exactly how many people would be affected: “Meals on Wheels is one of the longest running programs in the Community Development Block Grant program, according to its website, and it served over 219 million meals to 2.4 million homebound senior citizens in 2016. The Community Development Block Grant program was established in 1974 and provides grants to state and local governments that provide assistance like Meals on Wheels, affordable housing services and natural disaster recovery in low income neighborhoods (Abramson, 2017). It seems difficult to me that anyone would openly vote remove food from the mouths of senior citizens, some of our Nation’s most vulnerable.

     Yet, budget cuts seem to be the new normal in today’s society. A budget cut aided in the downsizing of about 12 people (including myself) at an organization that I had been a part of for nearly a decade. So in addition to the current political climate, shifting priorities in faith-based organizations and ongoing changes in socially acceptable behaviors are drastically affecting the narratives that guide my life.

     After losing my job last fall, I jumped into to business building very aggressively. I wanted to eliminate dependence on child support payments, unemployment or any outside agency in assisting me to be able to fully support my family. I am grateful for these programs (and would welcome regular child support), but I understand that as long as I was depending on these outside resources (as more than supplemental support) my peace of mind would always be fleeting. However, six months later with all of the dramatic turns and twists with the daily political reports I have adjusted my narrative approach and worldview. Now, I fear some of these programs that other people depend on (without any other options) could face life-threatening losses.
For example, these week national and international news sources reported that virtually every [government] agency will see some sort of cut, with only Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs getting a boost (Kopan, 2017).
     

     These recent occurrences have caused me to add a new initiative to my current business endeavors.  I now am determined to start a non-profit organization that would benefit individuals who desire to start businesses. I want to share knowledge that I have gained over the last 13 years with others so they can avoid common entrepreneurial pitfalls. Additionally, I will also be sharing economic development program ideas with faith-based organizations to help them diversify their revenue sources, so that they are not entirely dependent upon charitable giving and to hopefully aid them so they will not have to make drastic layoffs like other similar entities.
There are so many who seek faith-based organizations and governmental agencies for assistance during difficult times. It is so disheartening to know that Community development block grants,  the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting [could] all would be axed if Congress adopts Trump’s budget (Korte, 2017).

     As a former single-mother I have used many of the services that are proposed to be cut. I actually ran a program under the 21 Century grant program for at-risk youth and many of those teenagers are now adults and have shared with me that those after-school sessions introduced them to the Arts and other subjects that completely changed the trajectory of their life paths.

     So currently, my narrative is actively implementing taking my understanding of the evaporating “good” that I believe should be a very obvious “ought” in our society to “unite a philosophy of communication, a sense of “why,” with communicative practices of applied communication, the doing of the “how” (Arnett, Fritz, & Bell, 2009, p. 41).  I will accomplish this by seeking other like-minded individuals who “seek to protect and promote a given sense of the good that must fend against other goods in a time of challenge and change (p.41).

References:

Abramson, A. (2017, March). Trump’s Budget Would Kill Funds for a Program That Feeds 2.4 Million Senior Citizens. Time. Retrieved from: http://time.com/money/4703456/trump-budget-meals-on-wheels/

Arnett, R.C., Bell, L. M., & Fritz, J.M. (2009). Communication Ethics Literacy: Dialogue and Difference. Sage Publications.

Kopan, T. (2017, March). Here’s what Trump’s budget proposes to cut. CNN. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/politics/trump-budget-cuts/

Korte, G. (2017, March).  The 62 agencies and programs Trump wants to eliminate. USA Today. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/16/what-does-trump-budget-eliminate/99223182/

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