This blog first appeared in Huffington Post September 20, 2012
Denigrate, disdain and disparage the 47% all you like Governor Romney. Among them are my American heroes. I invite you to meet some of these inspiring, iconic and irreplaceable members of the American family. Your humility and character will be tested as they invite you to withdraw those dismissive labels of “dependent” and “victim”.
I’m not easily outraged but your comments successfully turned my evening TV meal with Anderson Cooper into searing outrage. A few weeks ago I was impressed by the testimonials at your nominating convention describing you as a kind, generous man with compassion for those in need or trouble. Even though I do not share many of your views I thought kindly of you, Mrs. Romney and your family. The video chat about the 47% made me wonder if this was the same Mitt. The compassion void was incomprehensible.
I’m outraged because for almost thirty years I have worked with people who are in your 47%. I’ve led initiatives to improve their lives and participation in the American Dream.
Many are people on the edge trying to survive, hoping and working for a better future – of course there are always a few who abuse any system –but the overwhelming majority are not “victims “. Who would want to be –how does it feel to not have a job or earn enough to do want you want for your kids, or worry about how to survive on Social Security, unless you have a family that gives you a home or start in life which is where much financial stability comes from.
The homeless I’ve worked with for 20 plus year, the Vietnam Vets with HIV, the single mothers putting their kids in day care because they don’t have grandparents who can care for the kids, the grandmother raising her grandkids and working three jobs to do it they are my heroes! I’ll stick by their side any day and count it and the as a privilege and blessing.
Governor, none of these people view themselves as a victim. They choose not to be. They do not have time to be victims. They are too busy trying to survive day to day never mind paycheck to paycheck. They have pride, joy, accomplishment, satisfaction just as you and those in the 1% do.
I came to the United States as an immigrant thirty-two years. The promise of America for us immigrants is way better than this. The American people are not like this, dishing people. I used to think that the once famously more moderate Romney might reappear if he was elected. Now I fear that you are capable of tearing apart our shared humanity by seeing some of us Americans as less than fully human.
As a partnered gay man I now understand that you have cast a wider net of exclusion than that revealed by your demeaning rejection of LGBT people. Your disdain, dislike and disparagement now embraces 47% of the American people – mostly the elderly, those on disability, retired veterans and the working poor who earn too little to pay taxes even while paying payroll taxes.
How about celebrating the people on social security who struggle to survive but who have worked hard with dignity, or the family that is receiving benefits because their child is terminally ill with no family to bail them out, or the disabled veterans who we sent to war and who employers refuse to hire.
The America I chose to become a citizen of and the America I love does not cast people aside or consign them to the rubbish dump of human history. We are better than this! I’m hoping you are too Governor.
I invite your comments below!