Hillary, it IS bitter out here
by rhetoricus, Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:59:11 PM EDT
...and if you'd emerge from your multimillion dollar lifestyle, and your "experience"-filled, corporation-shielding, lobbyist-choked DC bubble once in awhile, you'd feel the chill.
First, Hillary, to suggest that voters feel condescended to because Obama acknowledged worker desperation and rage is itself awfully condescending. Do you really think we're all just whistling while we work, always looking on the bright side of life? Let me share with you why that can be tough some days.
Just in the last month, several of my close friends were laid off their education jobs. Another just lost her restaurant business. Another got fired from a management job--"downsizing," you know. Friday another close friend got laid off from a distribution company. They are all terrified over their mortgages, their insurance, their kids.
I work freelance right now, so at least I can't get fired. There are just those really dry spells. But yeah, as a matter of fact, I do have a lot of college education. Too bad that anymore, that tends to come with a crippling debt, because tuition is so high. And because there is a degree-glut in many once-prosperous fields that are increasingly outsourced nowadays, salaries are often weak or sporatic. For myself, I've made more money in blue-collar jobs. Unfortunately, also thanks to your NAFTA, those too now are at a premium. Ever had to fudge "downwards" on your resume, so a boss would consider you and not dismiss you as "overqualified"?
I haven't been to the doctor for years, because I have a pre-existing condition and even when I can get insurance, it's nearly impossible to get payment from them. I've stopped taking medication I've been ordered by a doctor to take, because it's too expensive. I haven't visited the dentist for well over a decade, because I can't afford it, even though three of my fillings have fallen out and I can only chew on one side. My many degrees don't really help when several dozen to several hundred apply for every job I actually am trained and qualified for. We'd move, but my partner at least has a part-time job, and we can't risk that until we sell our house. Unfortunately, its value has dropped to the amount of the mortgage, and in two years we haven't had a bid near that high regardless.
Also, I'm caring for a loved one for whom moving is difficult, and who--you guessed it--has no insurance either.
Every decent piece of clothing we own, we got at Goodwill. We love "lattes" of course, but food for our dog needs to come first. Our 15 year-old "Volvo" has been a gem, but every morning we have to pray it will start. It's kind of laughable when my partner and I remember how badly we've wanted a kid, because that prospect is so financially ludicrous at this point.
Yes, we have a lot of undocumented workers in our town. Many of them bring their fairly large families to what are basically segregated grocery stores and restaurants, because the resentment against them is so intense here. The racial tension is heightened with gang activity, and people from all ethnic backgrounds are arming themselves against each other, and are fearful of anyone taking away their guns.
And yeah, we have a lot of right-wing religion here among struggling farmers and out-of-work laborers and recent veterans. Much of that religious rhetoric is obsessed with gays and abortion and Muslims and "illegal aliens" and environmentalists how "liberal elites" hate America and are destroying it from within. (Thanks for your help with that particular witch hunt, by the way.)
Yeah, Hillary. There's a lot of bitterness and fear in my town, where many people can't make it anymore. And yes, people are "rolling up their sleeves," people are finding ways to make it.
But you know what? Much of the "optimism" I'm seeing is revolving around a positive candidate who shunned cushy DC jobs out of college to go work in the inner city, and who shunned lobbyist money and asked instead for support from the people. Even though his insurance plan is vastly inferior to Kucinich's (as is yours), we think he's our best shot at change. Somehow, when this guy not only acknowledges our struggle and economic bitterness, but blames it on something other than ourselves, or brown people, or "liberal elites" who hate America, we feel a spark of hope in spite of it all.
Sometimes that's all we've got to go on.