I am the Political Middle and I Have a Job. You are the leadership and have a job.
Please do yours.
What has happened to the political middle? We have always seen extremes in political thought, but in the exercise of good government, it was in the past moderated by the need to serve the vast majority that lived between the extremes. Perhaps the fear politicians have stated over the vanishing middle class in American is in fact the inability of these leaders to see the needs wants and desires of those who live and work between the extremes. These extremes exist with-in both parties from the far right “Tea Party” and their standard-bearers such as Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachman, to the left and the new “Progressives” such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio.
On one side, we have a call for a smaller federal government that in effect collects taxes for some program or another, unless Cruz gets his way and we eliminate the IRS. On the other, we have a call for an expanded government that will do everything for everybody. Ok now that we have discussed the needs, wants and desires of probably 10% of the population, a loud percentage but about 10%, what about the rest of us. What of the hot button issues of the day:
Gays have a right to marry, that’s between 2.5 and 3.5% of the population
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): After all the hooting and hollering the number of uninsured has dropped by about 3%. The other side of this is that premiums seem to be going up based now on actual usage.
The economy and unemployment: We are in the 6th year of a “recovery” and unemployment is going down but wages are stagnant.
We can likely find more but this will do. The bottom line is good news for the gay community, good news for the uninsured (we hope) and good news for the economy and the unemployed (generally).
I know I left out racial tensions but we will cover that another time.
All of the above is meaningless to the vast majority of people in the middle with the exception of stagnant wages.
What does the middle want for itself and from its leaders? Let us start with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Well maybe this is not a good place to start since there is nothing here, with apologies to the political leaders, which the government can provide to the middle. The closest they can come is in the lower two segments by ensuring the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat is clean and healthy. They can ensure our property is safe and that there is social stability. They can however do a lot of harm to the middle class by failing to understand what is important outside of politics.
To begin most of us are ambivalent over gay marriage. If you are a liberal progressive you support it because, well you’re a liberal progressive. If you a conservative tea bag person you should support it because it is none of the governments business who you marry. There may be some moral hand wringing but it will not amount to much and life will go on. Most Americans support the concept of everyone having health insurance and most Americans do. According to the Government even after ACA about 8% of Americans do not have health coverage, which means out of a population of about 322 million around 26 million are uninsured, which is too high. However, it means 296 million Americans are covered. Until or if ACA causes a major increase in taxes America will go on as before and no one will notice or care. As an aside, to keep the activist away, I believe the ACA is a good idea, poorly conceived and badly executed and will cause problems down the road unless fixed.
On the last point, the economy, we are coming closer to needs and desires of the middle. While we have made progress on the economy, it has been in fits and spurts. The employment picture has brightened, wages have lagged, but the good news is inflation was under control. There was and is, belt tightening and other sacrifices, but the middle adjusted and is moving forward. Which brings us to what the majority of the country would like the leadership to understand. We want to live quietly within our communities; we would like to have our children live carefree lives and get a quality education and have a future. We would like to have job opportunities with growth potential. We would like to have full lives with a retirement at the end that does not include eating cat food.
We are fully aware that some people in our society need help to live. I have never met anyone who does not believe in helping those in need. However, the help must lead somewhere, which now brings us to Maslow. Help must lead from support to self-sustainment, which frees the person to continue upward.
We are fully aware that there are people of great wealth among us. Good for them. Whether they earned their wealth or were born to it is meaningless. Their wealth does not diminish mine. I would rather spend time and energy trying to better myself then on envy.
Most people get up in the morning, go to work, raise families, go out with friends, and go to bed. It is not that tough to figure out. We know we need a government to do all those things that help us live the lives we lead and protected from the bad. We just do not want to know the governments there. We are not impressed when a large corporation receives a multimillion-dollar fine for breaking some law we did not know existed. When something goes wrong, we want it fixed and are not concerned in placing blame. When we do want to know who did what it is a person that did something. Stop telling me it the Democrats or Republican ideology that is to blame. We are the middle, the majority of the population. Just do your job and make things work and leave me alone.