While watching the State of the Union speech it hit me; the reason politicians always seem so out of touch; it’s because they only interact with perfect people, Uber-Americans if you will. Whenever politicians give BIG speeches, your states of the union, state, city, etc., at your campaign announcements, basically any speech that’s called an ‘Address’, they inevitably reference at least one and up to four, Great American Success Stories, starring these Uber-Americans.
Voters are then treated to a grown up Golden Book, a tale of A) a humble, perhaps difficult childhood, B) guts, determination, hard work, perseverance, blah-blah and finally C) the payoff, how he/she/they are now so dang successful, concrete proof, a living embodiment of the USA. “Merica.
It’s not like I have anything against stories like that. I’ve seen ‘Remember the Titans’ six, seven times, still cry every time. But how about a little realism in political speeches, tales of people that average Americans can truly relate to. Not Uber-Americans like Pam from Providence who grew up in a series of foster home and is now CEO of a Fortune 500, or Jim from Jackson, the son of a sharecropper who delivered papers in the snow all through college and today owns a regional grocery store chain.
A speech like this: “My fellow Americans, I want to tell you about Carl, whom I met just today. Carl didn’t have it easy growing up. His dad was in prison, his mother worked as a part time psychic. Carl was also born with a lazy eye but, my fellow Americans; Carl didn’t let those things hold him back. He committed himself to a better life and because Carl was born in this great nation he attained it. Today, Carl makes $10 an hour working as a Dish Network telemarketer, his wife Destiny is going to cosmetology school, and this year these two were able to purchase their first Jim Walter manufactured home. That, my fellow Americans, that is what this great nation is all about.”
Or, “Over lunch this afternoon I had the opportunity to visit with Sarah and she shared with me her inspiring story, how she was born to an absent father and legless mother. Sarah graduated from high school, she went straight into the workforce, eager to seize the American Dream for herself. But then, tragedy struck; Sarah’s husband Daryl was killed in a squirrel hunting accident and at the tender age of 20, Sarah was left alone to raise their six kids. She had a tough time, and who could blame her, most folks would’ve crumpled under that weight too. But not Sarah, she applied for loans and grants and went to night school and she got her Culinary Arts degree. Today, Sarah’s life is great, she manages a senior center cafeteria, she’s doing so well in fact, that last week, Sarah took her first vacation ever, a 3-day Carnival Cruise.”
Sprinkle in a few Ubers here or there, that’s fine, but no more than two. A few Jason & Maggie Seaver’s are fine, just as long as they’re interspersed with plenty of Dan & Roseanne Connors too.