S#!t Just Got Real

Image: Wikimedia Commons/CCO

There is a lot of talk these days about the sandwich generation — people of a certain age who have both children and aging parents whom they care for. Some, like myself, may only have parents to care for. Even without the added duty of child rearing one may still feel ‘squeezed’ in the middle, only the last thing it feels like is being between two soft pieces of bread!

Adding to the burden is the challenge of navigating the current healthcare system. As I listened to Romney in the first debate talk about things he would cut, my ears perked up. Now that I am caring for my aging mother who is ill, I am far more sensitive to anyone who dares to consider cutting benefits like Medicare or Medicaid that are already woefully inadequate in many states. Up until recently, I would often get the two confused. What I have learned is the one that my mother, who worked tirelessly for nearly 40 years as a social worker (Medicare), has is not enough to cover specialized care for her. The other (Medicaid) has draconian restrictions that makes you give up nearly everything in order to obtain it. You hear the sad stories of what many people go through and shake your head, then when you are faced with it, the shit gets real!

Over the course of President Obama’s first term we have witnessed the virulent objection to the Affordable Care Act. I was one of the many who wished we had gone all the way to a fully socialized system. However, I didn’t lose my mind or pull my support for President Obama just because he didn’t deliver everything I hoped for. He is the President of the United States; he is not a king, an emperor nor, despite what some might have you think, a dictator. It’s a miracle it passed at all with the obstinate do-damn-near-nothing congress with whom he is working.

I understand why President Obama made overhauling the healthcare system in America a top priority. He knew first hand — from witnessing his dying mother have to make healthcare choices based on insurance that no one should ever have to make. That shit was real to him too! Unlike many career politicians who have spent decades in their cushy House or Senate seats, President Obama was a relative newcomer. Unlike many in the legislative body, he was not a multi-millionaire through business dealings, inheritance or marriage. He had only recently become “rich” through book sales. He and the First Lady had just managed to pay off their own student loan debt about the time he was elected. It doesn’t get any more “real” than that! I will take a president who can relate to my having to make hard choices because of too little income, over one who is used to a lavish lifestyle that he will do anything to preserve and protect. A president like Romney (or, God forbid, Paul Ryan) would make cuts to many of the necessities that affect the average person (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) as well as some of our intellectual luxuries like public television. Why? Because he can’t and doesn’t understand why you or I might need such things when he certainly doesn’t.

Many rich people are afraid of losing what they have. At least that’s the way they act. The shit gets real for them when you talk about raising their taxes or, worse, removing tax havens altogether. So what’s real is relative.  I know one thing: It’s going to be really hard to live with the cuts that a Romney presidency would surely bring. I am not some romantic revisionist. I remember the budget cuts under Reagan and how they affected my life. I also remember how well just about everyone seemed to be doing during the Clinton years. Perhaps the wording is wrong on the tax issue. What President Obama should emphasize is that he wants the wealthy to go back to the tax rate they were paying during the Clinton administration (you know back when we  as a nation had a surplus).  The semantics are a bit off; you can’t say you want them to “pay a little bit more” when in reality they are just going back to what they were (and still should be) paying before they became spoiled during the Bush years.

That is why I get peeved when people go hard on President Obama. Many progressives are the worst when it comes to criticism of what he has not done. A lot of them have a childish disillusionment about him not delivering what they felt he promised. Like spoiled petulant children they don’t feel he “deserves” their vote this time. Grow up people! He is a negro, he ain’t a magical one. It’s better to dance with the one who brought us this far — after all, we traveled through hellish terrain to get here. President Obama can relate to an average middle class working person, because that’s what he comes from and up until recently, that’s closer to the life he lived.

So Romney over Obama? Get real with that shit: NEVER!