When I started this blog in January, I promised myself that I would make a serious effort to try and get my opinions published in a major Canadian newspaper at least once this year. It would be an important benchmark for my writing skills if I could actually achieve this goal. It’s not easy to get published in a major newspaper. They receive a lot of content, and have very tough editorial standards. So far, my opinions have appeared in The Globe & Mail four times this year, thanks to being selected as a participant on the 2013 BC Election panel. It certainly boosted my self-confidence when I saw my words appear in print. Like many writers, I sometimes wondered if anyone was really interested in what I had to say.
On Saturday, September 14th, Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume wrote a major one page feature entitled ‘Income Inequality Threatens Society‘. He interviewed Professor Robert Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, and former US secretary of Labour during the Clinton adminstration. Dr. Reich will be speaking at a Public Square event sponsored by Simon Fraser University on October 3 at the Orpheum Theatre here in Vancouver. As I read the column, I identified very much with what Dr. Reich was saying. I decided to write a letter to the editor and express my thoughts about Stephen Hume’s column. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot when you write a letter to the editor; you have absolutely no way of knowing if they’ll decide to publish it. I crafted my words carefully, hoping that perhaps I’d get their attention. On Sunday evening, September 15th, I crossed my fingers and sent the letter by e-mail.
This morning I picked up the Friday edition of the Vancouver Sun on the way to my favourite coffee shop. When I sat down and opened the editorial pages, I was in for a very pleasant surprise:
Widening economic disparity sows social discontent
Re: Income inequality threatens our society, Column, Sept. 14
Stephen Hume’s column on income inequality rings true when it comes to my own life’s circumstances.
I’m the stereotypical white 53-yearold male with a master’s degree in education.
In my working life I never even came close to earning the $91,000 a year that is average for my demographic according to a Statistics Canada report. I can only dream of how awesome it would be to have a salary like that.
My median income for the last five years is way below Statscan’s reported overall white male Canadian average of $49,351.
I went bankrupt in 2009 because I couldn’t find regular employment in the province. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. I applied for more than 230 positions. When you think about it, that’s an insane number of jobs to apply for.
For all my education and experience, I ended up selling retail consumer electronics in a shopping mall at an appallingly low wage that barely kept me going.
Four years later, I’m unemployed again and struggling to survive in this province where I was born.
I feel very resentful toward those who appear to have it all while I have gone without.
Seeing my letter in the editorial section of today’s newspaper was another important validation of my writing skills. People really are interested in what I have to say.
The Grumpy Ferret (Extra! Extra! Read all about it!)