Following Beck Into The Heartland
BagNews is featuring an extraordinary photo essay by award winning photographers Nina Berman and Alan Chin that you simply have to check out:
“Hell is Real”
A billboard along Interstate 71 just north of Wilmington warns drivers of the guaranteed retribution awaiting non-believers.
Glenn Beck and his entourage will descend on the small town of Wilmington, Ohio, to tape his radio show, sell books, and perform in an extravaganza that he calls “America’s First Christmas.” He chose Wilmington because it is hard hit by the recession, with 8000 jobs lost when the main employer in the area, DHL, closed its facility in 2008. He claims that the people here neither want nor accept government help, saving themselves through prayer and self-reliance. But this is completely untrue, as more than $11 million dollars of federal stimulus money was specifically directed to retrain unemployed workers and alleviate the dire economic situation.
Jason Willhite has been unemployed for eight months, laid off from a printing press job, and before that, by DHL. He sold his car and cashed in his 401k to pay rent. He and Sandy and their two little boys have been living on $535.00 a month in welfare plus food stamps. “I get lucky now and then and get a tire to change or something,” he said. Even the temp agencies have nothing. He feels horrible about taking money from the government and to make up for it, has been volunteering at a homeless shelter. Their case worker says that John Kasich, the new Republican governor, wants to get rid of cash assistance for the poor.
A few times a week, they go for free meals at the Sugartree Ministries, a charity jointly operated by more than thirty churches across denominations and politics. Beck says he will donate some of his proceeds to Sugartree.
FYI: Berman and Chin are among the two top photographic chroniclers of our time --- Berman having shot the searing photo "Marine Wedding" and Chin the iconic photo of the lady with the American flag in front of the convention center after Katrina. These photos of Wilmington are amazing.