In the latest labor report, 368,000 more Americans have stopped looking for work, artificially skewing the unemployment stats down. The recent report of 8.1 percent tricks the brain of the casual thinker. Try thinking about this: 12.5 million of your fellow Americans are out of work (Labor Department). Perhaps you are one of them or your child. See: (2012 August jobs report).

Our East Valley was hit hard, we all know that. This is our reality. We hear often about those who move back with family and others who don’t have that option, who exchange the mortgage for rent payments in a “rough” neighborhood. There are those who scramble to move into new careers; or those who toss papers, before dawn, for a few extra dollars. I know of a young mother leaving her children in their beds to do so.

There are those who travel out of state for work; their new home is two rooms in a so-so hotel. The lucky ones bring family with them. One family of three is making do in South L.A. where dad found work after searching for more than a year, having been laid off from a six-figure job.

Unemployment stole his beautiful Queen Creek home, which he and his wife purchased through sacrifice. The loss trashed his perfect credit rating and self-esteem; his suffering unbearable for this mother to watch.

I’ve watched nieces and nephews give up family homes to move where maybe, just maybe, work can be found. I see them reinvent themselves, which isn’t all bad, except the strife creates additional problems such as health and family contention.

Have you noticed? When something goes wrong, lots of things go wrong. It’s insidious, but as real as earthquake after-shocks, requiring super human exertion to keep going.

The upside is it can pull families back together, those who remember how to play. A full column could be dedicated to recovery and the psychology encompassed within the rebirth of the mythological Phoenix bird, the bird which rises out of the ashes, beautiful and vital.

But, for some, this kind of talk right now incites more sorrow and perhaps rage.

What can help is an offensive response as footballers know. This is truth; this is what I’ve watched as well as lived. Defense can leave one haggard and confused, where offense is the wiser strategy to claim your future.

Lots of words are wasted on who gets the blame for this economy, the increase in gas and food prices, on and on. As my children often say, “It is what it is.” And, folks, that’s our reality. We are here.

What we do with this has endless consequences. If you are not registered to vote, do so. And, remind your adult children. If your parents or neighbors need rides to the polls, pick them up or help them order an absentee ballot. And if you are believers in God, continue prayer.

We must stay engaged in our political struggle. It does matter. It’s not complicated. We have two clear choices in this election: Socialism or enhanced personal power in a free market system; expanded dependency on government or growth of the job market and personal freedoms. We can be proactive or surrender to diminishment from suppression. Claim your future.


• Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix TV anchor. Contact her at

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