Aug 22, 2008

McCain, Out of Touch with Real America. And, an Offer to Pick Lettuce for $50 an Hour! [You Wish!]

Arugula-eating Elitists Maybe Good for Your Health

I don't expect the president, a senator, or whomever to be poor, nor do I think someone's family background automatically makes them a better leader who advocates policies good for most people.

On the other hand, I do think that a person born into a life of privilege probably does not understand how most Americans live. Certain experiences count for something. It's not the same to hear or read about poverty and people's struggles to make means meet the ends. You have to experience this up close--not necessarily yourself but you've got to come close to it. The elder Barbara ,when she visited the Katrina displaced people in the squalid conditions of the Astrodome, said that it wasn't all that bad for those underprivileged people! Well, I don't think she was trying to be mean. Her callousness revealed her views from the top looking down at the little people. She and others (who even said so) compared sleeping on cots to a ..camping experience!

Again, when you elect leaders make sure they understand that government should be a means to an end, that is, for the greater good. This is especially true about those leaders who espouse an ideology whereas the government's role is not to protect and empower; and that government should have a laissez faire approach because the marketplace has the answer for everything--except when the big business need bailouts, tax-breaks, and monopoly status, etc.

I know what it is to not have enough money for basic stuff and to make hard choices on how to spend the little available. What it is to worry about paying for higher ed--because for some of us, this was the only way to a better life. When we had a few hundred extra dollars, we got a beat-up old car to drive to school and work. No health care coverage, and even the dentist wasn't part of the limited budget. We have lived in dark, stuffy basements, because it was the cheapest abode we could afford while attending college.

I didn't serve in any armed forces, nor was I ever a prisoner of war or otherwise. Perhaps such an experience would make me hate war, or could make define winning in military terms, like occupying a country for 100 years. But, I know more about middle America: how much a a gallon of milk or gasoline cost, where to get the bargains on stuff. I know how many houses I own (or don't), how much money I have, and how long I can be without a job. I have friends and acquaintances that are in the middle class, like most Americans. My definition of rich isn't like McCain's--$5 million dollars or more!!!

Nearly half of Americans make less than $30,000 a year, and two thirds make less than $50,000! Not to mention that the necessities of life (housing, health insurance, etc) have risen faster than wages. Professor Elizabeth Warren has a chestful of data about the real economics and the effects on real America. Read her books and interviews and judge for yourself.

Oh, and I know two more things McCain doesn't: One, no worker makes $50 an hour picking vegetables; two, most Americans would love to have this wage even if it meant working the fields. [McCain offered $50/hr to pick lettuce in Arizona, thinking that Americans wouldn't do that!]

When I hear McCain saying "we" in, "Celebrities don't have to worry about family budgets. But we sure do," I wonder if he understands celebrity status and economic class. This from a guy who doesn't know how many houses [read: nice, big, expensive, plush residences] he's got! When he pays $270,0000 a year for his maids and butlers! What he spends on housekeeping is more than the average worth of a house, and way more than what most Americans make in a year! Do you know the percentage of American taxpayers {this includes heads of families who file for more persons than themselves} make more than $100,000 a year? It's only 11%. That's right, the median income is in the $40,000s, while about 15% live in poverty.

What kind of experiences of everyday life can someone like G.W. Bush possibly have? No adversity other than failing in school and being arrested by the police for drunken driving. He was born into privilege, screwed up during most of his life, skipped active duty, and found Jesus in his 40s when Laura threatened to leave him. All the money he made was because of others [though he manage to lose a fortune in the oil business!], and was given the presidency on a wave of lies, vicious political attacks, and cheating. Ironically, he got many second chances; always someone to bail him out. Yet, he doesn't seem to care for the people like the Katina victims. Sure, heckuvajob Brownie (experienced not in crisis management but in fancy horses & giving money to Bush) was good enough for being the FEMA boss. That's how BushCo see the government. That's why we should never elect people who don't have a belief that government is of the people and for the people.

McCain has had the life of luxury for so long, that even if he had an inkling of the real life back in the 60s, he's lost it by now. I doubt he knows anybody from the middle class--except his maids but the lord of the manor doesn't really know these people. The very rich live in their own world by choice! There are exceptions of course, but usually they experience a different reality than the rest of us of America--not only by their security detail but also through their circle of friends.

The conservatives and other talking heads have accused Obama of being an elitist, I guess because he likes arugula instead of lettuce. That guy who was raised by a single parent (his mom), sometimes on food stamps, and had to borrow to pay for his education--which was his way out & up. Oh, and yes, the conservatives don't like his intellectualism!

Sure, why being an intellectual is a form of elitism. But it's an elitism with no admission fees, nor economic class criteria. It has an open door to those who can reason well and are interested in knowlege! Personally I find it attractive, and I'd hope that every person would do too.... if only given the chance by having access to quality education. But, who needs education? Who needs smarter people? And, who can do something about it?...