Confessions of an A-Politico: Thank You, Mitt Romney

A week ago, I received a message from my friend and former flat mate Meghan, the same one who shared her story about going official on Facebook a few months back in Crossing the Rubicon. She was all fired up—but this time it was about politics—and she asked if she could write another guest post.

Obviously, I said “yes.”  Meghan’s a great writer but I’d never known her to be terribly concerned about politics.  Heck, I spent many a bus ride back from central London just trying to convince her to vote during the 2008 election.  But times have changed… and if you’re at all ambivalent about casting your vote on November 6, I hope this will change your mind.

voter registrationUp until about 8 hours ago, I didn’t give a damn about the presidential election.

I stay as informed as possible, but I was raised by paranoid Italians who come from even more paranoid Italians – the kind that didn’t believe in banks and kept money hidden under the mattress.

I was told that all (yes – ALL, my family is big on sweeping generalizations) politicians were slick liars in suits who only cared about themselves and their rich buddies. I came of age in the era of Clinton and Bush, and with all the pandering, posturing, and political mumbo-jumbo that assaults one’s senses in the age of the Internet, I wasn’t too inclined to disagree with my ancestors.

Something about this particular article, however,  feels pivotal – and it’s not just the sweeping generalization referring to 47% of Obama’s supporters as “victims” and “entitled.”  I interpret and dismiss sweeping generalizations on a daily basis – what I don’t dismiss are someone’s honest-to-God feelings.

Today I got a glimpse of the real Mitt Romney.  The polish you see at the conventions is scrubbed off, and what’s left is a nice nugget into the psyche of a man, not a public figure.

And he insulted me.

No, I’m not part of that 47%. But I was raised by a middle-class mom and dad who busted their asses for everything they had.  And as I know all too well, we’re all just one paycheck away from the unemployment line. This economy isn’t exactly conducive to a robust savings plan that provides a safety net for hard times.

So if unemployment runs out, and there are no jobs that can sustain you, what’s left? Poverty? Welfare? The time for judgment is not when people are in crisis.

But here’s what helped me realize that maybe I do have a political bone in my body after all; that it’s time to get that voter registration done so I can go vote for Obama.

Implicitly in his words, Mitt’s also referring to my 88-year-old grandmother – a woman who now pays no taxes.  She worked on an assembly line for 70 years, paid into Social Security, and now receives a check every month from the government.  She earned that check, Mitt. How dare you insult my Nana.

Nana is nobody’s victim.  If Mitt took her Social Security away tomorrow, she’d go find a job and take care of herself.

Here’s what Mitt doesn’t get: my Nana isn’t a unique case.  I’d say she’s a perfect example of what this country is all about, and representative of a large portion of that percentage so reviled by Mitt.

Why would someone want to lead a country if he has absolutely no use for almost half its citizens?

This thought plagued me as I gobbled up some facts on Google during lunch – recent stats have 46 million Americans living in poverty, and approximately 48% considered poor. Any way you slice it, that’s a damn shame.

I don’t think that many Americans arelazy. Every society has its leeches, whether they’re rich or poor. Entitlement knows no class.

But some people have been beaten up by the system. Circumstances and degrees vary, but I’ve met them. I know them. My family members are among them. A lot of hard-working people got royally screwed in seriously illegal ways by those big banks and corporations in the past 5 years, and only the banks and CEOs got to walk away unscathed. These people don’t need Mitt’s “victim” label, Mitt – they need and deserve help recovering what was taken right out from under them by those people you call corporations.

Even if my paranoid Italian relatives won’t go vote, I’ll do it for them, because I feel it’s my duty to stand up for them.  My dad, on Social Security; my mom, who’s putting off knee surgery because she’s scared she’ll lose her job if she goes on long-term disability; my grandparents who worked their whole lives and need consistent benefits, not confusing political rhetoric.

Thank you, Mitt Romney, for telling your personal truth. It provides a lot of clarity through the haze of canned one-liners and pedantic PSAs and for better or worse, your words gave me a real reaction, strong enough to shake me out of my political stupor. I was forced to ask myself some logical questions that resulted in a logical answer: I have to vote against you; our ideals don’t match up.

We now have a lightning rod for this election. Listen, gauge your reaction, and let that be the litmus test that determines for whom you vote.

5 thoughts on “Confessions of an A-Politico: Thank You, Mitt Romney

  1. Yes. I am glad that more people who were indifferent to the election are being given the chance to see the real Mitt.

    I’m really not sure which is more offensive, his comments about the ‘victims’ or the fact that he chose a sexist biggot who would send women’s rights down the toilet. He has also been showing off his brilliance–did you hear his comment about airplanes and how they should have windows that open?! I really don’t know how anyone could vote for someone like that. You want him in charge of WMD? Bad idea republicans, bad idea.

  2. I know I already made a comment…but I just wanted to let you know that I am sad that I am now completely caught up on your blog. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with my time now. :'(

    • Aww, I guess you’ll just have to start waiting for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays again like everyone else ;) Or hope that I’ll manage to wrap my head around the idea of daily posting again! But I’ve enjoyed reading your comments over these past few weeks, so I’ll do my best to keep providing new material.

  3. I truly believe EVERYONE should vote, no matter what your party affiliation, etc. It is our civic duty and a right that many people would die for. When we say things like, “all politicians are crooked” and other similar complaints, it unfortunately diminishes the process/system even further. Instead use your vote, (ESPECIALLY FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS) to make your complaints heard. Attend forums where the candidates will be speaking and state your concerns, over and over. (Get your Bronx on, your Jersey on, or your S. Philly on, or whatever empowering term you live by) If all of us actually USED our vote AND became an active participant in what WE deserve from our government, we would truly have a democracy.

    When it comes to getting involved with the process, I know we are the exception rather than the rule, but all of us can do little things to have our voices heard. Your congressional representatives all have local offices and are there to HEAR your complaints, call them, visit them on your lunch hour if you have to. Local politicians are even easier to visit or call.

    LOCAL ELECTIONS are the only place were we will begin to see new third and fourth party candidates stand a chance of winning because of campaign financing. Find out which ones speak to you and support them. We are all tired of the Us-versus-Them, and we need some fresh voices, the only way to do that is to follow your local elections, try to make a difference at this level and hopefully the new voices will eventually “trickle UP”.

    We are far too passive a society, and in some ways that is good, it shows that for the most part we are not frustrated, angry, disenfranchised enough to actually DO anything about our concerns. But on the other hand, what would our forefathers, Sons of Liberty, Abolitionists, Suffragists, and Freedom Riders, etc., think about our indifference?

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