Other personal commentaries on 2014 election here.
What matters tomorrow, Tuesday November 4, is voter turnout. The people who show up and vote for one or the other of the two major parties on the ballot will make their choice for thousands of local, state and federal offices around the U.S.
If you haven’t voted already, vote Tuesday, and encourage others to vote, and vote well informed.
Personally, I’ll vote Democrat. Neither major party, nor any other party, meets the test of “perfect”. Having said that, however, the Democrat record continues to be far more in synch with the needs of the vast majority of ordinary people than the Republican.
Personal observations from the ground level:
I like to observe politics in “real time”, beyond the pundits, the polls, the projections as seen in ads, on TV, in newspaper. I like to hear actual people, not posing or precisely speaking someone’s party line.
Like Sunday morning:
At late morning coffee, a large table of men near me was starting to thin out, and one older guy was mentioning that he’d been an engineer for his whole career, and that there is really no longer much of a middle class in our country. He mentioned no raises to speak of in his last 20 years at his company. “The middle class is now more like the lower class”, he said. No party or candidate was mentioned. It did not need to be. The “last 20 years” was specific. No one challenged him. Ordinary middle class people know what the current problem is, personally, for particularly their children and grandchildren.
Mention was made of the vast and increasing gap between the wealthiest 1% and the rest.
Best I could tell, this was not a bunch of Democrats shooting the breeze. Quite the contrary, just a dozen or so old friends visiting on a pleasant Sunday morning.
A few hours earlier we had been at church taking down the Families Moving Forward “bedrooms” for local homeless families. This particular week, I was told, there had been three families spending overnight at our church, including about 10 children.
“All of the families have someone employed, but none of them can afford apartment rent” said Mike, the person in charge.
Nothing much more needs be said. We all know “working poor”. It is easy to not notice them, but there are far too many.
They are less likely to vote than others. They have other preoccupations, other concerns. That’s where people like ourselves come in, to help give voice to the voiceless.
And a few days earlier, I got a first-hand glimpse at priorities at the higher economic levels:
A week ago today, I was invited to attend the annual luncheon of a very large investment management company with many billions in its investment portfolio, a company whose name would be recognized by anyone in this area. There were perhaps 300 or so of us in a large room, cold sandwiches for lunch, there to listen to reports on how the economy was and would be, for the people at the tables.
The companies economist spoke first, and helpfully gave us a four page copy of his remarks, which can be read here: Invest Report Oct 27 ’14001. This was followed by an endless review of 37 pages of charts and graphs by a company executive.
The economists report is very interesting to read, even if you’re not into economics. Such reports are always speculative – hopefully “educated guesses” about the future.
The economist scarcely departed from his text. One time, he did the obligatory sanctification of Ronald Reagan’s slashing the marginal tax rates on the wealthy in the 1980s; and in another surprising aside mentioned a concern about the increasing gap between the wealthy and non-wealthy. I would guess my colleague guests were not in the truly upper crust – there are private meetings for the truly rich – but we were the aspirational class. The folks in that room had their own piles of resources.
Still, some sitting there would have noticed the references, as I did, and the lack of references: for instance, there was not a single word about President Obama or the dramatic turnaround in the American economy since his election in 2008 despite constant efforts to make the President appear to fail….
I would guess I was in a room full of people whose tendency is Republican, though I don’t know that. There certainly were no poor hanging around, unless one counts those serving tables.
The meeting also caused me to think back to two years ago, November 8, 2012, when an angry right winger sent me a article published in Forbes magazine a day or so after the 2012 election. Essentially, the writer, a venture capitalist, assures readers that the election of Obama will mean the end of the economic world as we know it…. Here’s exactly what he said,in Forbes magazine two years ago: Misery Loves Company.
Doubtless, others believed the narrative two years ago, and would not be inclined to believe the very different reality that exists in the U.S. this day before the 2014 election.
Despite their most fervent efforts, the Republicans have not managed to make a convincing case, even to their zealots, that the Democrats have destroyed America.
Quite the contrary.
VOTE with your eyes open tomorrow.
Other personal commentaries on 2014 election here.