The Voice, The Haves and The Far-to-Haves

I usually agree with everything that comes out of Bill Maher’s mouth. We are simpatico on every topic. Sorry I just love the word simpatico, have ever since I heard Dana Scully use it during a Season Three X-Files episode. I apologize for the momentary digression. Anyway, last week on Real Time with Bill Maher, one of his New Rules was that voters should determine presidential elections the way they decide everything else. Real Timers then watched President Obama sing at the Apollo and Mitt Romney painfully wail out America the Beautiful. This would be a pretty easy call for the general population if the general population consistently recognized talent. So on this New Rule, I’m forced to break ranks with my atheist brethren.

Two days later, I watched the Patriots lose the Super Bowl with jealous Jets fan glee. I then watched The Voice. The Voice claims to be different from every other television singing competition due to its blind audition format. Though that is unique, it’s ultimately the same deal – singers with dreams far larger than their actual ability try out with the hopes of finding fame and fortune. Innocent enough? Sure – unless you make it political.

Mediocre singers bring to mind Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ response to the State of the Union address, “We must always be a nation of haves and soon-to-haves”. Credit the speechwriter for the nice, completely illogical quote. We have never been a nation of haves and soon-to-haves. It would be easy to illustrate this point by starting a 1% vs. 99% argument. Instead, let’s make this a simplistic 99% vs. 99% discussion.

There are 99%ers who grew up in high five to low six figure homes. Their parents were able to establish a savings plan for them. When these 99%ers left the nest for college, they didn’t have to take out huge loans. This freed them up to save money for their future homes and families. They aren’t rich but they had a pretty decent head start.

There are 99%ers who grew up in mid five to high five figure homes. Their parents couldn’t afford to put much away for them. There were other concerns – bills, car payments, and a mortgage. These 99%ers took out student loans for college. They graduated in the red unable to focus on saving for their future homes and families. They are in constant catch up mode. They aren’t poor but they are far-to-haves.

The lie told by Mitch Daniels and many other Republicans is dangled like a carrot to far-to-haves. It tempts them into maxing out their credit cards, buying cars they can’t afford or investing in property they’ll never be able to pay off. It’s the evil carrot of hope, the idea that if they live the dream big enough, it will come true.

Bad singers and the latter 99%ers have similar aspirations — wealth-based goals that seem so close but are so far. They’re living in a constant state of denial. Yes, chasing a singing career is fairly innocent but chasing the haves will have lasting repercussions for the individual as well as the general population.

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