The amusing aspect of this primary campaign for the 2008 presidenct is watching the candidates groping their way in search for the "middle of the road". Poor Hillary Clinton, while being reviled by the Republican protagonists as a "leftie Liberal", keeps turning her wheels to the right as she navigates the fog in which American politicians are groping in order to find "the will of the people". On the other hand, the Republicans have long ago left the road and are off four-wheeling in the brush that keeps threatening to take over the famous "ranch" in Crawford.
They think that all they have to do is to fall into a Southern accent and talk religion and they can walk into their next chosen office. But it is no longer quite that simple. Thanks to the current Resident of the White House, we are no longer dumb enough to fall for a pretty face and a lot of flowery words. The newspapers and the television news are enjoying calling the odds on the horse race but, to us, it is no longer a game but a matter of issues that mean life or death for millions of working-class Americans.
Those who feel that "the middle of the road" is just to the left of George Bush can't see well enough to know that he went "off the road" a long time ago while the rest of us are somewhere over here yelling, "This way, fools!" Republicans have become Democrats, Democrats have become Independents, and all are of us are looking for a detour as the two political parties are so entangled in the special interest groups that we cannot find a way to where we intend to go. They can no longer appear before labor groups and assure them that their interests are paramount in their agenda because their audience knows that they have already been let down. They cannot speak to women because women know that their concern is not for their children. The populace know that they have been forsaken by their political representation and they are all viewed with a feeling of revulsion.
Even in the "red states" the Republican Party is fractured as the "real conservatives" struggle to regain control from the "religious right" with candidates switching parties to run against those now holding office. In other states, the new blood in the Democratic Party is likely to be considerably more Populist than the old guard who are now seated in Washington. This year, more than ever, the voters are looking past the designated front runners and assessing the opinions of the lesser lights.
One cannot get into a discussion with a Republican without the name of Ron Paul being invoked while Democrats are more aware of people like Kucinich and Edwards during their brief stay in the spotlight. We look for someone who appears to really understand our trials as we send our sons and daughters off to engage in a seemingly endless war while we watch our neighbors suffer from stagnant wages, expensive health care, and loss of financial security.
We no longer listen to the yapping of the would-be shepherds who are barking, "This way! This way!" as they gallop off through the woods in different directions. We can see, as the people of the United States traditionally have, the road that we need to take and cannot comprehend why it is not obvious to the crazed creatures who would distract us from the business of staying alive.
Foreign policy? Cut off the money and bring the soldiers home to care for their families!
Taxes? Deficit? National Debt? Revoke the tax cuts for the rich and pay the damned bills!
Health care? Mandatory single-payer Medicare for everybody and spend all that insurance company profit on providing care to the people!
At our level, politics is a simple matter. We want to elect somebody who understands our problems and who will dedicate themselves to our welfare rather than that of those with great wealth from which they can feed. While they spend mega-millions in travel and air time to campaign for our votes, we live on wages that are never quite enough to provide for our children. While they live in Georgetown brownstones and send their kids to private schools, we must worry about the ever-rising cost of our mortgages and our kids go to run-down schools with ill-trained teachers and a shortage of books.
While their sons are in college, our sons are in Iraq, for the third or fourth tour and we spend sleepless nights, dreading that knock on our door. Our patience wore out years ago and we want to see some action on our behalf.
And all we ask of these aspiring Presidents, Senators, and Congressmen is that they shut up and listen to us. We are the "middle" and We The People, demand it!
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan, a free-thinker, and a warrior for truth and justice. She is non-partisan but steeped in true patriotism and pride in being an American and a daughter of the Founding Fathers.