Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Column following State of the Union address

Never have so many looked so foolish.

I was prepared to slam President Obama in the days leading up to his first State of the Union address. But his speech last week hit it out of the park, and it was truly enjoyable to see all of those fat cat Republicans sitting on their pudgy, un-calloused hands, putting on their best Cheney-esque scowls and shaking their collective heads when they disagreed with something they heard, which was often.

Still, invigorating and full of promise as the speech was, I have reservations about which “union” the president was referring to.

It’s hard to believe that any of the senate members have ever known what regular life is like for the vast majority of this country. Two unions, divisible…

In one union everyone wears an expensive suit, drives a Mercedes or BMW.

They “work” behind a desk, live in houses with so many rooms that the state of Wyoming could move in with room to spare. Family meals are often prepared by “the help” and dinner discussions revolve around stock investments and their next vacation in St. Barts, or skiing in Aspen.

When they get sick, the doctor comes to them.

Their kids’ college education is secure.

That union is in good shape thanks to huge government bailouts and they even get their yearly mega-bonuses as well. All this while they complain about the president spend-spend-spending us into extinction.

Then there is the small matter of the other union, comprising about ninety-nine percent of the country.

They wear jeans and overalls, work in farms, factories, fast food joints, and supermarkets, and make less in an hour than what the suits might spend for a martini at the club. Stock is just part of chicken soup.

They live in mobile homes, cheap duplexes or big empty new houses that they were conned into buying with fancy language and small print and are now on the verge of losing to foreclosure.

Their houses are empty because they have sold what furniture they had to try to make that mortgage payment, or they never had enough money left to buy any furniture after the closing on the house. They drive used cars, or buy a new one and have a monthly car payment that is as much as their rent.

When they get sick, they can’t get treatment because they don’t have money for it, and they suffer in silence.

When it gets cold, and the cost of heating their homes is so high that they can’t afford it, they suffer in cold silence.

They can’t take a vacation where it is warm because while oil and gas prices have risen to stupidly high levels, their paycheck has not increased at all. Instead, they stay home and read about how the other union spends their holidays in St. Barts and Aspen.

Even schoolteachers are being made to work several days a year for free. Can you imagine?

They elected a president who they thought was like them, from humble beginnings, who worked hard and made good, and who promised change. The only change thus far is what is in their pockets. And they suffer in silence, but not for long.

Dogs bite back when cornered. The majority of regular people in this country feel cornered. They will bite back, because they are not happy with the state of their union.

Good speech, Mr. President. As they say, though, actions speak louder than words. See you next year.

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