Disclaimer: What I have to say is probably not very “nice” and I don’t apologize for that. If you are over 40 and saw this day coming while voting accordingly in the past – let me say that I appreciate all you’ve done over these years. To my union brothers and sisters who didn’t vote against the best interests of labor past and present – thank you for standing up for us. To families of those who lost their lives fighting for the basic rights and decency of workers, I am forever indebted to you. To those I’ve walked with in Madison and have spent so much time talking to the wall (aka Wisconsin Republicans), I am honored to be counted among you. What I’m about to say has nothing to do with any of you.
I’ve been quiet lately if only because the mumbling to myself eats up whatever clever words I might have to say. There are days, though where I’d like to throw up my hands and walk away. Go off the grid. Disconnect and ignore the things around me so that I can bypass this sinking feeling I have in the pit of my stomach that my best years are behind me.
The other day it struck me that January was the last best month I can remember. This seems so sad to me and yet the more I read about the things my elected representatives have done the less I think there is any hope for the return of normalcy…for the blissful hope that one is supposed to feel for the future while raising their young children.
To me it seems that the pattern of life as was lived by generations before me is breaking down before my eyes. The idea was that as you raise your family, the first few years are tough. You’re a young worker and the pay is small while the costs of young children is high. Tax breaks (in the form of EIC and child tax credits – a Republican idea, lets not forget) are supposed to help make up the difference – smooth out the rough spots a bit and keep everyone clothed, fed, and housed somewhere warm and dry.
Your children get older, your tenure at your job increases, and it gets a bit easier. You get fewer of those tax credits from the earlier years because the amount of money left from your paycheck after expenses grows. Disposable income, savings, family vacation…
Except it doesn’t seem that will ever be the case for us. It seems like the constant struggle we’ve been through in the last six and a half years will continue to stretch before us – only without the hope for better that made it easier to get through. Disposable income? Family vacation? What’s that?
They’ll be cutting my husband’s pay, the EIC we’ve used to pay for the big stuff (home and car repairs….vacations…special stuff we can’t otherwise afford) has been cut, pensions fading, politicians fuc…uh, messing around with Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid, and all the other ways we’ve lost our voice in matters pile on for a far less stable future.
I voted for W twice for stupid reasons. I’ll admit that. I bear fault for some of the mess we’re in. My husband voted for W once and Kerry the other time (he jokes that he was more progressive than I was…whodda thunk) so he’ll share partial responsibility, too.
But what about the rest of you…you know, those of you who are over 40 and got the cream that rose to the top. You benefited from low taxes, high wages, decent medical care, and the promise of a dignified retirement. You got to have it all without ever having to worry about how anyone would pay for it. It seems to me that you financed your prosperity…your lifestyle off of my future. That the reason why my future looks so bleak is because you already lived it.
It’s why I’m quiet…and angry. All we’re asking for is the same shot, the same opportunities, the same chance for a better life. You had your fun with my proverbial credit card. Won’t you for once shut
the hell up and raise taxes? Consider it the interest payment my generation is collecting for the money you borrowed from us. We’ve all collectively suffered enough under your ridiculous “trickle down,” “supply side” economics. You had your fun with the buy now, pay later plan. Guess what…the bills have come due and it’s time for you to pay your fair share. Maybe if you had been doing so for the last 20 or so years, we wouldn’t be in this fu….uh…mess right now.
As for fixing the mess we’re in. I’d gladly take whatever is coming by way of pay decreases and tax increases if it meant that children were educated, employees were fairly compensated, and vital services continued, but doing so that businesses can socialize losses, and privatize profits is completely unacceptable. Doing so because one rather entitled generation got it all while the rest of us pay for it is equally unacceptable.
Count me among the actual adults who both want the services we’ve had all these years from government and are willing to pay for it. That to me is the adult thing to do. This “adult” conversation Republicans are having right now is anything but.