"Did you watch the presidential debate last night?" My non-politico mom nonchalantly asked me. We are not what you would call a "political" family so her asking me really just is for small talk and not meaningful discourse .
"Debate?" I wondered for a moment. "Oh yeah. The debate. Was that on last night?" I vaguely remembered like that of a woman with a busy day and a baby.
My mom slightly giggled, "You probably don't really care anymore," she pointed out, eluding to the fact that Husband and I are currently living out of the country.
"No. We might have," I defended. "We don't even have our TV hooked up though," I non explainingly explained.
Picture taken from NPR.com
The truth is not that I don't care anymore what is happening in our country, of course I do. My parents, like many immigrants, loves this country blindingly for what it has given them that their own country could not. They see themselves as through and through Americans - heart and soul - and believe in their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the fundamental "truths" of what it means to be an American and that this is the land of opportunity.
I have lived and breathed that love for America my whole life. The daughter of two Cuban refugees, I learned that this country made possible a blueprint for my parents to create a life that they would have otherwise never been able to construct. I don't take my freedom or my country's state of fucked upness lightly. (I apologize - there was no way to say that politely.)
And so as I opened google today to read my email and instead I saw an article that I thought could quickly fill in the gap of what I missed on last night's debate. "Five Takeaways From the First Presidential Debate"was a quick guide, a "SparkNotes" if you will, on Alan Greenblatt's take of what he saw on the first debate for the 2012 election, none of which really caught my attention until I read "You're a Drinking Game Winner if you're the Middle Class." Here's what Greenblatt had to say about this point:
Both candidates were at pains to pay tribute to members of the middle class, again and
again. Each referred to specific members of the middle class they had met along the
campaign trail, who had gone back to school or were now out of work. Each insisted his
plan would do more to help such people out and create middle-class jobs.
That's amazing, isn't it folks? That both the president and the guy running for president are paying so much tribute to the middle class? They were "at pains to pay tribute"? Isn't it something that they both could tell you story upon story of specific members of the middle class that they've met along the way? Aren't they so down to earth? They actually remember us regular folk, the average Joe - at least we're not talking about Joe the Plumber, right? Oh Riiiiiiiiiiiight... we've been here before. We;ve talked about the Average Joe (Plumber) - four years ago, in fact. Wasn't that around the same time as the last election?
But I guess my real question is at what point are we going to stop talking about the middle class, the working class, the folks that have gotten laid off, the elderly couple who have lost their home, the mothers who've gotten sick with no way to pay their medical bills, the students who have raked up student debt and then can't find a job, the couple who is working overseas because the only place they can afford their American dream is not in America. When are we going to stop talking about them and using them as a winning strategy in some razzle-dazzle, man behind the curtain debate and actually -
wait for it...
wait for it...
and actually help them. Really make some changes. Use some billion dollar buyout money to fix some medical bills, pay off some student loans, give some houses back - MAKE SOME SHIT HAPPEN. When are we going to do that presidential contenders of 2012?
I don't want to talk about Joe the Plumber's business or Grandma Edna's foreclosed house, or Uncle Louie's sliced off hand. I don't want to know these stories unless you are finishing these stories with how you are helping them. Actually helping. Not your "plan" to help but the actual part where you say, And then I walked into that bank and slammed down my Grandma Edna Buyout money and I bought back that bitch's house! (sorry for the cursing.) That's the part of the story I want to hear; not the part where you know her story but the part where you fix it. That's what I want.
Maybe at your next debate, instead of debating who has a better "I know the Middle Class" story, you all could debate who has a better "I saved the middle class story."
That would be my vote for president.
Remember this guy? Joe the Plumber.
Picture taken from mediabistro.com
For the full NPR.com story "Five Takeaways From the First Presidential Debate"by Alan Greenblatt click here. I do not frequently read NPR nor do I consider myself on any side, Republican or Democrat, other than the side of unfortunate souls who are seeing hard times.