“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 like that of a woman with a busy day and a baby. “Oh yeah. Was that on last night?”
My mom giggled, “You probably don’t really care anymore,” she pointed out, eluding to the fact that Husband and I are currently not living in the U.S.
“No. We might have watched it,” I defended. “But our TV isn’t hooked up.”
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, love the U.S. blindingly for giving them what their own country could not. They are 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.
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 current state of fucked upness lightly. (Sorry, there is no way to say that politely.)
So as I checked Google this morning and 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 “SparkNotes” on Alan Greenblatt’s take of what he saw on the first debate for the 2012 election. To be honest, none of it jumped out, it seemed all business as usual, until I read “You’re a Drinking Game Winner if you’re the Middle Class” and here’s what Greenblatt had to say about that:
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 and were out of work. Each insisted his plan would do more to help such people out and create middle-class jobs.
They were “at pains to pay tribute” to the a class of people that make up an entire country? Really? They could tell stories of the average Joe (remember Joe the Plumber) but we don’t need stories. We need action. At what point are politicians 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 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, using them as a winning strategy in some razzle-dazzle, man behind the curtain show trick and actually – actually help them. We could come up with a million dollar buyout for the stinking rich? How about a buyout for the lady with cancer that can’t pay for insurance bills? Maybe give some houses back to families that lost them because the bankers purposefully screwed the world economy? How about we MAKE SOME SHIT HAPPEN?!
I don’t want plans to help. I want results. That’s what I want. So, 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.”