My wife and I just welcomed our second child and first son, Timothy Scott, into the family. Almost immediately after he was born, the bonkers nature of Minnesota weather decided to drop the temperature about 40 degrees overnight, and now the entire house is sporting a case of the sniffles. Now, I’d love to tell you all about how I sit in a second-hand chair in my Goodwill pants and trusty gray vest I’ve had since middle school, rocking my newborn son to sleep while listening to Bernie Sanders on audiobook (the little guy’s got great taste) and all the while wondering with a quivering lip about what sort of future lays in store for him. What will climate change do? What will technology bring us next? What will the historically-unpopular President come up with next that will make him even more unpopular? I want to write a misty-eyed column where I weep for the future as I hold it in my arms… but I can’t. To be blunt, I’m feeling sick, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the sniffles.
I’m sick of the concern-trolling. I’m sick of the pearl-clutching. I’m sick of seeing every morning roughly 50 billion bits that all say the same thing: good gracious, did you hear what that awful man did/said/forgot to do/did wrong/accidentally bombed. Is it all horrible? I think a good 65% of the country agrees. Does it make it harder to get out of bed some mornings? Absolutely. Is this sort of naked cronyism and cash-grabbing from a supposed “man of the people” sickening not only to those who voted against him, but many who voted for him? You bet your sweet bippy. But, when it’s all said and done, when all the pearls are clutched, fingers wagged, and the heads shaken… what then? What happens then?
I’m not interested in feeling special because I was right and someone else was wrong. I’m not interested in feeling like I have to step on the neck of my neighbor so I can keep my head above water. I used to be: I was an ugly, smug little liberal who wanted to see those “deplorables” be given what for… but then I graduated college right into a recession. After about the tenth year of trying the same thing and expecting a different result, I got wise to something. It isn’t about what shows we watch and someone else doesn’t, or that one drinks wine and one drinks beer. It’s not about country vs. rock, college vs. trade school, or any of those imaginary walls we put up between each other to feel important. We have a lot more in common with each other down here than we do with the millionaires and the billionaires up there, looking down on us from the biggest wealth gap in 100 years. There is so much more to worry about than whether this person has the right religion, opinion, drinking habits or playlist that I do. Things have been so bad for so many for so long that we all realize the most important thing for all of us is basic needs.
All that college education, and it took me 10-plus years of eating a manure sandwich to figure that out.
We can disagree on things, and that’s OK. We’re going to. That’s part of what makes this country great. When it comes down to it, though, whether your neighbor voted for your candidate or not, we all deserve decent food, decent water, and decent shelter, and that includes being sheltered from pain and disease. I’ll debate the policy with you until the cows come home (and my wife will be glad I’m not badgering her with it for once) but for now we should agree that certain basic needs are not being met by our government. Instead, they are choosing to serve those who write the checks. Until we start supporting, with shoe leather and sweat, people from all sides that want to guarantee basic needs for you, me, and my new baby boy, then we’re just going to be waiting for the apocalypse, wringing our hands all the way down.