I decided to write my blog this morning before checking out Facebook, e-mails, blogs or news. I needed to process the debates within myself. I am distressed this morning, not by what either of the candidates said, but by what they did not say.
My daugher, Heidi gave me a bingo game to play while listening to the debates. Players are supposed to put an “x” over words when they hear the candidates use them. Looking over the words, I can see that the game is supposed to be humorous. I did not find the debates funny, I am afraid. By the time the debates ended, I had crossed off only two words on my game sheet: “free space” and “middle class”. If the instructions had said to “x” over the word every time you heard it, I would have made a hole in the paper where the word “middle class” sat. By the end of the debates, I was sick of hearing the word. In fact, I’ve been sick of hearing it since this election season began.
Bernie and I are among the middle class. I am not sure how other people would define middle class but we have, for the most part, been able to provide housing, clothing and food for our family, keep a car in the garage, take modest vacations, and we’ve had health care all the years of Bernie’s employment. Sometimes we have carried more debt than other times, but we have weathered that. I suppose we should be happy to hear our class named over and over again as the object of concern for political candidates, but happiness isn’t at all what I feel. In a way, I feel manipulated because most votes come out of the middle class.
What I did not hear last night is any mention of that other class – the poor. Here are some quotes from the prophets who have spoken for them:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The test of morality of a society is what it does for its children.”
Mahatma Gandhi: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its children.”
Mother Theresa: “When a person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”
Martin Luther King: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
Hubert Humphrey: “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
Jesus: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you do unto me.”
I suppose you could say that there were hints of the message I seek, and there were a few. But the bottom line is that those running for public office are about getting funding for their campaigns and votes. I guess I am hungry for something more.