Most of my friends and acquaintances are left-leaning, tree-hugging liberals, dedicating their time to equal rights, pro-choice initiatives, and creative niches. These people show some real love for animals, the artic, cancer-free ta-tas, and modern art. Some I’ve even met while canvassing for Greenpeace, dating back to when I was a wet-behind-the-ears undergrad student. Some of my friends are gay and some are Latino. Many are African-American, and some are Asian. And since I’m an equal-opportunity gal, I’m proud to say that I even associate myself with some right-leaning folks. They speak of individual drive and success and ideologies on morality, traditional values, and visions America. They talk passionately about the right to bear arms and good ol’ fashioned barbeque; of family and God, in so much as inviting me to Protestant mega-churches to sing the Lord’s praises. So in tuning in and out of the RNC and DNC events two weeks ago, and consequently checking my Facebook newsfeed to observe first impressions, I really…I mean REALLY tried to keep an open mind about some major issues; mainly education, the economy, healthcare, immigration, education, women’s reproductive rights and all the other things that will get this country back into tip-top shape. I set out to be an objective participant, someone who wouldn’t get twisted up in the rhetoric of peoples’ narrow perceptions and consequent rantings. Soooo, I failed miserably.
An old co-worker posted a list of reasons why Obama shouldn’t get re-elected for President—a bulleted well-intentioned mantra, reaffirming that punishing the rich doesn’t uplift the poor; how creating a “culture of dependency” does nothing but trap people in dire circumstances; how taxing the rich does nothing for the middle-class; how people should get up off the couch, stop watching “You-are-not-the-father!” episodes of Maury, and pull themselves up by their bootstraps and out of their holes. But here’s what really boggled my mind:
She spoke from a successful white woman’s perspective. Hmm.
As you might know, I’m originally from NYC…got my hair ‘did’ at Dominican salons, ate greasy pizza slices and was one of those kids who wallowed in the coolness of open fire hydrants in summertime. My mom sent me to Catholic school, no doubt. But ya know…we had issues. We moved from pillar to post, had the lights turned off countless times, went without food, got evicted 3 times. And wouldn’t you know? We were still considered the lucky ones! The other kids in my neighborhood went to public school, where their teachers got paid whether or not they learned anything. Their parents weren’t educated and they didn’t speak proper English. I heard the distant calling from parents… “Bu-oy, get cho ass in hee-ya!”…while my mother made a point to call to me softly, in perfect grammatical form, “Maxine, come inside. It’s time for dinner.” Their parents held run-of-the-mill jobs, and didn’t have money to move someplace else. But they worked HARD. They had the DRIVE. Many held two or more jobs, and moved heaven and earth to put a roof over their kids’ heads and clothes on their backs. I saw this dedication with my own eyes, day-after-day. I saw that parents really wanted to change their circumstances, but couldn’t. I mean, how could they??
My right-winged friends yell from the rooftops and proclaim that we’re creating a culture of dependency by funding social programs. They snicker at people who aren’t “doing what they have to do to get out of their situation.” They sneer at those who aren’t applying for college, getting the education they need to move up the ladder. “How dare they mooch off me or the government!,” they say. Damn slackers…
I digress. They have a point, right? Let’s go back to my NYC, urban kid for shits and giggles for a minute. The kid goes to school, pays attention in class, and–NOPE. No way that kid can pay attention! The school sucks, his teacher sucks. His textbooks date back to 1995.
Alright. Let’s say his mom seeks out a tutor to help him get better grade via a social pro—wait, no social program exists. No tutors available…
OK. Let’s just say his school and teachers don’t suck. He’s gotten straight A’s while attending his very nice, clean and tidy magnet school. It’s time for him to go to college. He applies to Movin’ On Up University, gets in.
Time to apply for a student loan. Yay! Right?— NOPE. Not eligible. Ain’t no way he’s getting a loan while his mom works for peanuts. How’s this family going to pay it back? DENIED.
Grrr. Ok, so he applies for a Pell grant. Maybe that’ll help! Wait, no Pell grant exits. Sigh…
OK. We’re gonna try this one more time. By the grace of a democratic, left-leaning Chik-Fil-A hating God, a Pell grant does exist. He goes to college, gets a degree. Whew!
Now it’s time for him to get a job. Yes! He gets in on the ground floor. Time to finally get those healthcare benefits—NOPE! “Obamacare” is shut down and his company isn’t shelling out the goods to pay for treatment of a paper cut, never mind a broken leg.
Son of a–!
While I sit here on the sidelines, trying to keep my open mind, working toward a state of Zen, I’m also taking what people say and how people think with a grain of salt. People speak from their own individual experiences and have little tolerance or patience to hear the boo-hoos of others who simply aren’t like them. I for one am still happy that the company I keep is diverse, opinionated and are very likely to vote this November.
I am glad that I was lucky enough to have real opportunities to go to college, get a degree, get a job & healthcare benefits and be able to live in the ‘burbs…in Texas…in a predominately white neighborhood. I’m voting Democratic so others might have those choices too.