In my last blog post I wrote about being raised a republican and how I have evolved into an independent, leaning toward a democrat. I was raised in the middle class, but I am not oblivious to the suffering of the poor. When I think of my upbringing, I am shocked we were considered middle class. By today's standards, we would not be. When my dad retired from civil service in December 1993, he was making $40,000 a year---the most he ever made. That means when we three kids were growing up, he made considerably less than that. My parents paid $14,000 for their house in 1963; they paid it off in 20 years, and they always had two vehicles. My mother was the queen of thrift; she even had an aunt who made many of my clothes. I can not understand how they made it except for her thriftiness and the fact that things were cheaper in the 60s and 70s.
When I went to college, my dad took out loans and paid them as I went to school, so by the time I graduated, I had only about $1000 to pay back. As a teacher, I have almost always worked at least one other job, sometimes two. I know how hard it is for the middle class now. Through working in Title One schools all my life and working with the poor, I know what generational poverty looks like.
This week I heard a colleague bemoan how kids could wear $100 shoes but not have a pencil for class. He does not understand poverty. I don't fault him for that because I myself was a slow learner. We have two kinds of kids in the schools: those whose parents work hard, sometimes two jobs, to give them whatever they want. Their life outlook is one where they will give their kids what they couldn't have when they were kids. Image is extremely important to them, so they will look good and have the latest gadgets. In their minds, this makes them like everyone else...... Then, there are the poorest of the poor---those without running water and who really don't know where their next meal will come from.
Knowing what I know, how can I vote any other way than democratic? This country is a mess. Young adults can not afford to go to college without coming out in debt up to their eyeballs, and health insurance should be a national right as it is in other countries. No longer do I see foreign policy as the most important issue in the presidential election. If our country continues to disintegrate, there will be no need for foreign policy. We have to fix what is broken here first. I can not and will not support candidates who either 1) continue to line the pockets of corporate America or 2) turn a blind eye to the REAL issues facing this nation.