I’m at a loss to know what to do with certain thoughts and feelings following the midterm elections.
I’m relieved that my wife and I, as well as tens of millions of other Americans, will not have to fear our social security being cut by 25 percent by the Republican Senate and House. With the Democrats taking over the House, we’ll no longer have to be scared for the next two years. The Democrats will block any Republican attempt to cut our benefits. The same holds true for those who rely on Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, College Student Loans and Unemployment Benefits.
But, I’m angry, resentful and disappointed with many of my fellow Democrats who I thought cared about people like me who have low incomes. These Democrats are members of the upper-middle-class and the upper-class, although they don't see themselves as wealthy and well-off. I’m angry at how they scolded me, admonished me and tried to shame me and bully me for the past two years because I did not care much about the "identity politics" and "cultural war" issues that they constantly bashed Donald Trump over. I focused on the bread-and-butter and kitchen-table issues of everyday survival. I focused on protecting the safety-net programs like Social Security.
These financially well-off "liberal/progressive" Democrats thought that I should’ve been more concerned with the plight of illegal immigrants, for example. I don't understand how they could be so insensitive to my plight and the plight of millions of us seniors who have to live on Social Security checks of $1200 per month.
A good friend of mine who doesn’t earn as much as they do has provided me with the answer — they can well afford to care primarily about the "identity politics" and "cultural war" issues and to focus on constantly bashing Trump over them.
People like my wife and I can't afford that luxury. We don't have their high yearly incomes. They don't need Social Security. They never will. It will not affect them if their Social Security checks get cut by 25 percent. Yet I’m still surprised and disappointed that these self-proclaimed "humanists" are so insensitive. I expected more empathy and compassion from them.
For the next two years, I’ll still focus on the bread-and-butter issues that the poor, the near-poor, the lower-middle-class and the middle-class struggle with that these affluent Democrats do not.
Stewart B. Epstein is a retired college professor at West Virginia University and Slippery Rock University. Contact Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.