(1 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
I am growing tired of the television pundits referring to the backbone American families as “working class” rather than “middle class.” I don’t know who came up with these distinctions, but they don’t seem to me to be accurate, and I think they work to divide this country in ways that it is not, economically speaking, divided.
If someone knows a (quote unquote) middle class family who is not working hard, please alert me. I am not familiar with any such family. We need to stop quaking to the Karl Rovian splinter politics — all middle class families are “working class” Americans because ALL of them work for their incomes. It is time to remind everyone that the divide is not between some illusory group of “working class” Americans and “middle class” Americans, but, instead, between those whose incomes are derived from work and those whose incomes are derived from wealth. Period.
Michelle Obama spoke movingly tonight about her family life; about growing up in a family whose father had a job with a public utility and whose mother stayed at home to raise the children.
Forty or thirty years ago, these were the people of our emerging middle class. They were and are the backbone of this country: they are our biggest majority. Many of the fathers in these families did not have college educations, but they did have good jobs at companies with good unions and they worked hard for their families. Back then, a good union job at one of our great manufacturing companies or car companies meant a good income — enough money for a modest house in a decent suburb and a chance to save enough money for a good life. Enough money — if you saved — to send your children to college. Enough money to afford a decent retirement, with a pension and health benefits.
Forty or thirty years ago, it was possible for families such as Michelle Obama’s to dream of college educations for their children, for a better tomorrow. They could count on the brilliance and hard work of their children — and a bit of financial help — to get them up the next rung in the ladder. This is how Michelle Obama accomplished so much — I am so impressed by her family’s determination and hard work and HERS. She is an inspiring American and will make a great First Lady.
What I am not so sure about, in our current America, is that her dream and accomplishments are possible any more — at least under our current Administration.
Many good union jobs have disappeared. Proud American men and women are competing for minimum-wage jobs because other than minimum-wage jobs are not available. Proud American men and women are losing their homes because they cannot pay their mortgages, and their homes have decreased in value so exponentially that they are now worth less than their purchase prices.
There are hundreds of thousands of Americans, today, who work very hard in jobs that barely pay for the necessities of life. Even in Montgomery County, Maryland (a rich county), there was a line the other day for free school supplies. The story was on our local news. One woman (a single mother) said that she had recently been downsized from ther $80,000-a-year-job and had been unable to find work, despite sending out numerous resumes and making herself available for interviews. This single mom has two college degrees. She also has three children to support and, having lost her job, could not afford $200 per child for school supplies.
There is, perhaps, no more important example than this story to illustrate why we need Barack Obama in the White House. Except perhaps the story in the video preceding Sen. Kennedy’s speech tonight, in which the father of one of our Iraq war dead recited the circumstances of his son’s death ~ namely, that he was killed because our country ordered him into war and didn’t bother to uparmor the vehicle they sent him out to do it with.
We are all the “working class” of this country. We work, we save, we educate our children — and we do so with the hope that what we do will make a better country, a better life for them.
We, the workers of America, the taxpayers, the families, the backbone of this country, cannot afford another four years of being broken in the service of the plutocrats. Period.