As the years progressed, and I became older and wiser, my tolerance for political rhetoric has gotten very low. I suppose it started during the Clinton administration. While the country seemed to be prospering, those on the other side of the aisle put up numerous roadblocks to getting the business of running our country done -- to the point that there was even an unprecedented government shut down. I recognize that Bill wasn't exactly doing a lot to help his cause, what with "that woman, Monica Lewinsky" and the other numerous alleged transgressions.
After the disappointing outcome of the 2000 election, with hanging chads and Supreme Court decisions, I would have been all set to complain about everything President Bush did or said until September 11th happened. Certainly, history has shown us that not all of the decisions made that day or in the days, months, and years that followed were the right decisions. But, who can say, if faced with similar challenges, that anyone else would have acted any differently.
Fast forward to 2008 when the Democratic field was filled with many viable candidates. I was partial to John Edwards. I had met Elizabeth at a book signing she did at Prairie Lights in Iowa City, and her story of surviving the death of their son, followed by breast cancer, and the longevity of their love and convictions spoke to me. We know now what a sham that all was.
Now, we are in the midst of one of the most vitriolic campaigns in history. Honestly, I am not impressed by either side and part of me wants it all to just go away. I heard snippets from the Republican convention this week during news stories on NPR. I am compelled to respond to a particular comment from Mitt Romney's acceptance speech last night.
"But this president cannot tell us that YOU are better off today than when he took office."Well, actually, Governor Romney, for me and for most of my family, I can truthfully say that, yes, I am better off today than I was when President Obama took office.
In 2008, when President Obama was elected, I was living in my friend's basement following the disastrous Iowa floods of June 2008. I had no flood insurance and the meager amount of money available to me through FEMA barely covered a new bed and sofa, which were destroyed when 3 feet of water inundated my home. With a little time and perseverance, I replaced my lost possessions and my home life returned to a normal pattern. In my career, I obtained a professional certification, received a promotion, and am now earning more than I ever have in my career. I have survived two company take-overs. And, for full disclosure, if "Obamacare" survives, 2013 will likely be my busiest and most rewarding/challenging year of my professional career.
Also since 2008, my sister who was a casualty of the economic downturn in the automobile industry, finally landed a permanent full-time position with a Fortune 500 company.
Five of my nieces and nephews graduated from four-year colleges and are now gainfully employed with jobs in their chosen fields. Five of my nieces and nephews, all under age 30, also became homeowners since 2008.
My retired parents are able to live comfortably, thanks to steady income through their pensions and Social Security. My father's numerous prescription drugs and health needs are covered through a combination of a Medicare Advantage Plan and VA benefits.
So, yes, Governor Romney, I am better off than I was four years ago. I know there are a lot of people out there who are not. But what irritates me about all politicians is the constant negativity.
I would like to see the Democrats win this election because they support the social issues I find important: same-sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, insurance coverage for birth control, access for women's health at organizations such as Planned Parenthood. But, Democrat or Republican, I have little faith that either side will live up to the promises they are spewing now to "fix" the economy, address our national debt, and secure the future for every American. Oh, don't forget ensure world peace, end global hunger, and stop global warming...just for good measure.
Everyone should just go sit down, shut up, and get some work done.