A word from the 40-somethings
September 28, 2008
I have been watching the polls tracking the popularity of the presidential candidates. I knew my 40-something children were supporting Obama and I also knew that the polls showed a generational gap. The younger generations were supporting Obama and most older folks were for McCain. So, I asked my children, what would they advise Obama to do at this stage of the campaign. I expected some words of advice from them because they are free-thinking and politically aware, but what I got were unexpected cries of anguish and passion.
I am from an older generation, one that emerged from World War II with optimism, that barring personal tragedy, the next year would be better than the last. Our retirement has been cushioned by Medicare, social security and IRAs.
What I learned from our children was that they view life very differently. Optimism has been replaced by despair.
They are not chips off this old block. A son is an international investment banker, a life long Republican to date, who counts Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush as his heroes. The second is a public school teacher and a mother of three of our grandchildren. She was a rabid supporter of Hillary Clinton. The third did not respond in writing but said she was supporting Obama because her corporate health care policy did not cover many of the expenses of treating a life threatening disease and she looked to his health plan to bring relief.
From the comments of our investment banker son:
“Our country is facing the biggest crises in a generation: A major financial crisis, a major housing crisis, a major energy crisis, increasing unemployment, ballooning budget deficits, a failing war in Afghanistan, one of the stupidest foreign policy blunders in our history (Iraq), a resurgent imperial Russia, frayed alliances, global warming, and Islamic terrorism – all created by Bush and the Republican party … Obama needs to get indignant about this and angry and show passion that he is not going to take these distractions anymore and take back the mantle of change and take back the agenda and get damn serious about the country.
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“Have others fight silly fights. We are heading for a cliff. Enough is enough.”
From our school teacher daughter:
“I was not a fan of Obama. We all know that, but now I am so moved by the courage of this man that I am willing to do whatever it takes to see him in office. I felt this passion the most when Obama spoke at the convention.
But, do you know what made me put my faith in Obama? Do you know what sealed the deal for me? It was when he said “enough”. Enough to 28 million people with proud defiance and determination to make things better. The tears streamed down my face and I began to sob. It brings tears to my eyes now as I write this to you.
“I have had enough. I don’t know how much longer I can pay $1,300 for health care a month for our family while not even earning $40,000 a year. I don’t know how to even think about getting my kids to college. I can’t even pay my own student loans. My ears are deafened from the strain of not even having opportunities available to my children. We are not talking about luxuries, we are talking about basic middle class needs.
“This is my pain. The pain I feel from being a 46-year-old, white, Catholic, public school teacher and mother of three and wife of an immigrant who is working 100 hours a week to keep a roof over our heads. This is the pain I feel when I am so exhausted from working night and day and worried to lose my job because then we would not have the option for health care. I cannot believe that the directors of Fannie and Freddie will get $24 million for failing in their jobs. I have no option of failing. I am a teacher. I hold the future in my hands. I am a mother of three children who may change the world. But, I am tired and exhausted.; I do not have the option of failing.
“Obama needs to shout from the mountain tops. Enough. Enough. Enough. This is not an angry cry but a call to action. We can move a mountain by all just shouting ‘Enough!'”
Out of the mouths of my babes.
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