Who Will Speak For The Poor?
Judging by last night’s speeches, nobody. Almost two hours of blather about deficits, energy, deficits, technology, deficits, education, deficits, competing in the global marketplace, deficits, why America is so great, and oh, did I mention deficits? In all of that, there was not a single mention of the millions of Americans who are suffering greatly in the face of persistent unemployment and poverty.
Obama did give a few nods to the need for job creation, but nowhere in his speech did he directly address the grinding economic reality that continues to plague the land. He talked as if the crisis were over.
Nowhere did he recognize the collective stress, anxiety, and trauma that dominates the psyche of our fractured populace as millions of the formerly middle class are dealing with a year or two of being jobless. Nowhere did he propose programs to help those who have lost their homes, their insurance, their livelihoods, and are at risk for joining the permanently dependent underclass. Nowhere did he offer support or encouragement for the thousands of charities that are dealing with crushing needs and dwindling donations.
Had someone just awoken from a ten-year coma and watched this speech, they would have marveled that the Republicans had elected a black president, and they would have gained zero understanding of the desperate situation of our economy. It would have seemed as if the “State of the Union” was pretty darn good, and that we have a president who is wisely looking to secure the long-term health of the nation in a changing world.
But in reality, the “State of the Union” sucks (if by “Union“ you mean average Americans). Before this crisis hit, the gap between rich and poor was already growing, and the middle class was already shrinking. Now, we are quickly becoming a majority of serfs ruled by the wealthy elite. By ignoring the plight of the suffering masses, and focusing exclusively on “business-oriented” solutions, Obama has made it clear which side of the economic divide he serves
Which is the same side that Paul Ryan and Michelle Bachmann serve. It was an enlightening experience to watch the “official” and “unofficial” Republican responses, and to realize that all three speeches could have been written by the same person.
All three bowed down and worshipped at the altar of “reducing spending” and “cutting deficits.” All three ignored the vast immediate needs of the economically vulnerable. And all three confirmed that the Democrats, the Republicans, and the Tea Party now represent the left, the right, and the far right wings of the Pro-Business Party.
At some point, the American masses are going to wake up to the fact that their government is no longer their government. They speak for the wealthy elite. Who will speak for the poor?