For The People
One of the funniest, most out of touch moments in the 2012 presidential race was when the former First Lady of Massachusetts stood before an audience and talked about how Mitt Romney and she were so poor and barely surviving as they tried to support themselves through college. Ms. Romney said neither one of them had a job. They could only afford to live in such a tiny apartment. The only way they could make ends meet was by Mr. Romney selling off some of the investments he inherited from his father. But it was all good because they were so in love.
My idea of poor isn’t me selling off my investments to make ends meet. My idea of poor is not having anything like an inheritance to sell off and yet the bills keep mounting. My idea of poor doesn’t come with an investment portfolio to sell off nor does it come with having a financially secure family member to sponge off of. My idea of poor doesn’t include enrollment into an ivy league school. My idea of poor is the type that comes with very few and very limited resources if there are any resources at all.
I have watched the latest version of the presidential race so far and the more I see the more I feel like neither candidate understands what it’s like to really struggle in America these days. President Barack Obama might have the edge in relating to the predicament of the people who are barely getting by. In his last speech Mr. Obama talked about receiving a letter from some out of work nobody who needed healthcare coverage and how that letter inspired him to do what’s right for the poor. Are we to believe that he wouldn’t have the gumption to push for more assistance for the little people who are down and out on their luck? I would like to say that I doubt it. It’s just another example of the rhetoric that so many politicians use to give people the impression that they are being heard or that the politician really cares.
I’d like to think that Mr. Obama understands the plight of the poor from his experience as a young boy watching his single mother’s struggle or his grandparent’s struggle to raise young Barack after his mother’s passing. Without a doubt his experience relates to a lot more people than Mr. Romney’s experience of having to sell investments in order to get by. But even Mr. Obama appears aloof and out of touch at times especially when he says to black people who are struggling that he’s not trying to be the President of Black America. At times, Mr. Obama appears to wear his contempt for black people on his sleeve while the black community suffers with higher unemployment, higher rates of people making due without adequate healthcare coverage, higher rates of inadequate education options, and etcetera.
Neither presidential candidate sounds ideal for the country. But then again, neither candidate can do much to change the lethargy that continues to consume our social, political, and economic systems. With each and every passing day it appears that more and more of our public policies are becoming more favorable for the needs of the oligarchic few while the majority of us are being left to fend for ourselves. The big surprise in all of this is the number of people who look forward to dismantling the social network that so many ancestors and elders of this country have worked so hard to achieve in favor of a system euphemistically promoted as personal freedom with little government intervention, but is more accurately described as you’re on your own as the federal government neglects its constitutionally mandated role to provide for the social welfare.
But here in the United States the moment somebody promotes the idea that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people should help assure that people have adequate housing, education, employment, legal representation, protection of law as well as protection from law, and representation in government, that person is deemed a traitor or somebody who doesn’t believe in the future of the country.
People talk about taking our country back. The question is back to what? Back to a time when we allowed people to contend with government institutionalized second class status? Back to a time when corporations were allowed to neglect its responsibility to its workforce and to its community in the shortsighted pursuit of immediate profits? Back to a time when standards of education were not uniformed across our country? Are we to go back to a time where deliberate racism and blatant sexism did much to define our culture? Are we to go back to a time where the people represented by the establishment were free to impose its will on the less fortunate? Unfortunately, it looks like that’s exactly where a lot of people would like to take our country and it’s getting very terrifying for our future outlook.
From the moment this country was established it was meant to adapt and change to the needs of the people and improve itself for the future. Now, many of us have forgotten the lessons we’ve learned from our past mistakes and think it’s better to go back to our old ways of doing business that provides only for the people at the top of our social pyramids who are most capable of providing for themselves at the expense of all the people who need help the most.
It’s easy to sit back and blame the guys running for the White House for all our social woes. It’s easy to say it’s all of the other people in government who fail to lead or fail to cooperate with each other to provide for the welfare of the people. But it takes a little courage and a little humility to take an honest look at the current social arrangements and try to understand what’s really wrong, what really works, and what is best for everyone with a vested interest at putting things back on track where we look to the future instead of looking at our past where government was meant to work only for part of the populace instead of the whole.
Forget the President not relating to or understanding what it’s like for people out here in the real world. We have neighbors and fellow citizens who choose not to understand even when they’re going through the same events, albeit with more resources at their disposal to get by. Being unemployed but having investments to sell to make ends meet isn’t the same as being unemployed and needing help. We should understand that, but too many of us make the choice not to empathize. It is in that vein that our government representatives chose to operate. It’s pretty obvious when you understand that government is nothing more than a reflection of the people being governed.
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