I’m just an average Joe.
I bet I am not alone either. I was born in the suburbs of a major city, the last of the “Leave it to Beaver” generation, the tail end of the Baby Boomers. My father was a first generation American and proud of his family heritage, but more so that he was an American. He never referred to himself as hyphenated American. He grew up speaking a language other than English, in fact a couple of languages because of the neighborhood in which he grew up, people spoke many languages. The last of six kids raised by fresh off the boat new Americans, my Dad watched his older brothers go off to World War II and when it was his turn he served in the US Army after the war. He was the only child to get a college education, thanks to a football scholarship and the GI Bill. He took the first job he was offered after he graduated and worked for that company for 25 years. As he was making his way up the corporate ladder in the 1950’s he met my mother, a country girl who moved to the big city to find her fortune. She was his secretary. Dad always kidded that she was such a lousy typist and he couldn’t fire her so he had to marry her to get her out of the office.
Mom was a real American, part Native American, her father had gone to an Indian School on the reservation and he fought in World War I. She loved my father with every breath she ever took and converted to his flavor of religion to marry him and raise his children. She took her job very seriously and raised five of us while my Dad packed his briefcase, tied his tie and left for the office every day.
I never got a medal I didn’t earn. I never got a grade I didn’t earn either. Neither did my brothers or sisters. No “participation” awards. We all worked hard to place so we could earn a medal or a trophy or make the team. When my teachers called home my parents didn’t call a lawyer or blame the school for our grades or misbehavior. We got grounded or our butts whipped and we didn’t make the same choice again!
I cast my first Presidential Election vote in 1980 for Ronald Reagan. My parents never told me if we were Democrats or Republicans, but I am pretty sure they voted for Reagan too. My Dad was a very successful corporate executive for a major American company and he believed in fiscal responsibility, honesty and working for a living. He got up and went to work every day. He encouraged all of us to go to college and he paid the way when I first took a stab at it.
Once I dropped out after my freshman year for a “really great bartending job” he was done paying my way and I was on my own. I knew that. I wasn’t mad about it and I didn’t hate my Dad for cutting off his financial support. I was an adult now and had to sink or swim on my own. It took me a while, but I did finally finish college.
I remember once talking about politics with my Dad. He told me that the federal government was so massive and so poorly managed that it was a disgrace to American businessmen. Executives that daily had to make tough financial decisions to create market share for stockholders and profits to stay in business. Failed business ideas are trashed, but failed government programs are renamed and their budgets get increased because some politician voted for the program to help his constituents.
I wonder what my Dad would think of our current Presidential debate season. Both parties offer nothing for Americans to really get excited about, but both parties have an outlier. Both parties, Republican and Democrat are bought and paid for by corporate interests and personal greed. Our system of government was not designed for the career politician to enrich himself at the public’s expense but “We the People” have allowed it to go on so long the servants of our Constitution that “We the People” elected to serve our better interests seem to think that we somehow serve them. They have taken the example of the greedy CEO’s in America and have chosen to fleece the sheep rather than stand at the gate as the sheepdog.
It is clear that Americans are fed up. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are evidence that more Americans are fed up than are loyal to the Democrat or Republican parties. My only question is what shall we call the party of most Americans. The Middle? Clearly more us stand in the Middle than to the right or the left. Both represent extremes that most Americans find offensive. There is more in the middle that unites us than divides us. Ideologies that breed extremists live on the fringes and Americans live in the middle. I propose a new political party. The Middle. What should we have for a platform?