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Long-term unemployed feel guilt and shame

Published: August 12, 2012

Why do so many wife beaters and sex offenders get away with it? Because their victims feel guilty and ashamed. The victims think, “If I were a better wife, he wouldn't hit me,” and “I can't tell anyone; having other people know would make me feel even worse.” Why do America's economic offenders get away with it? For the same reason.

I recently heard a radio show featuring interviews with the long-term unemployed. Their guilt and shame were palpable — guilt that they lost their jobs and can't find new ones, shame that they can't provide for their families. These feelings are what keep them under control as they stand in the unemployment line. It doesn't matter that many of them were condemned to failure as children, by an underfunded educational system. Or that their jobs were shipped overseas. “The American dream” is being used against them — as a carrot, to keep them struggling, and a stick to beat them when they fall short. People, it's not your fault!

Lena Zahn, Midwest City