WHO ARE THE “PROGRESSIVES”?
by Mary Pitt
When we read reports of polls, we find that the “Independents” in the United States outnumber the declarents for either of the established political parties. In discussing this, the pundits assume that this indicates that most voters are in the “middle of the road” between the Democrats and the Republicans. This is not the case. The number includes members of small established groups that have been with us for years and their views are all over the map. There are the Libertarians who are far to the right, the Green Party with their ecological agenda, and now, the Tea Party whose views are more anti-government.
Buried and out of sight are the Progressives who have no party affiliations at present but who know what they want and need. There is a Progressive wing of the Democratic Party but they are not necessarily representative of those who advocate for progress but are not yet convinced that the party, as it exists today, are truly committed to the substance of their own needs and will not deal them away in the interests of “bipartisanship.” President Obama was swept into office on a wave of support from these very people who are now waiting to see whether he can or will accomplish the promises he made to them in return.
But, who are these Progressives, these nameless, faceless people who claim to represent a majority of the populace of the United States? I am one and I will undertake the task of telling you exactly who we are.
We are the vermin of your life, We are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and every shade of every color in the palette. Very few of us are rich or even “middle-class”. We live everywhere yet we are largely unseen. We are in the long lines at the unemployment offices and at the gates to those plants that are still operating; we serve your meals, we clean up your messes, take out your garbage, and clean your toilets. We are on your streets, yet you do not see us because there is nothing about us to which to draw your attention. We neither damage your ears with loud jam-boxes nor are we using expensive cell phones into which we speak loudly so you will notice us. We are simply there.
We work in your yards and in your homes, we nurture and nourish your children so that they do not suffer your absence unduly. We are as diligent with “Yes, Ma’am”, and “No, Sir,” as those who worked in utter bondage in centuries past. We prepare the hotel rooms in which you work or vacation, making sure you have all the comforts and cleanliness that you expect. We clean your offices after you have gone home or to your recreational pursuits. We live in your slums and your low-income housing prjects, We live along the highways and the byways as you pass in your big gas-hog cars or fly over in your silvery airplanes. We grow and cook your food and clean your clothes; there is not an aspect of your life in which we are not an integral part, yet you do not see us.
We can easily be seen when we turn out to support President Obama when he appears in our area but we cannot afford to travel to attend Tea Parties and other big demonstrations. But we can be seen in huge numbers at the Free Health Clinics as they are held in larger cities offering life-saving health care for those who have been deprived of it, sometimes for years! These affairs are not covered by news agencies except, recently by MSNBC. Hundreds of medical professionals throughout an area will gather in arenas or in huge tents to dispense needed physical care to those of us who have no insurance but are deemed to be “too rich” for Medicaid or any other Federal program to be diagnosed and steered to free clinics for every complaint from new eye glasses or dental caries to life-threatening cancers.
For this reason, our principal political goal is for truly universal health care. Learning that President Obama approached this problem first by consulting Big Pharma and the heads of the insurance companies was a kick in the gut! President Clinton tried that and we still suffer from his failure. President G. W. Bush told us that we had no problem; that all we had to do was to go to the nearest Emergency Room. We’ve been there and done that! We have thereafter received the over-inflated bills and many have had our assets attached and been hounded into bankruptcy if we could not pay. We will not be doing that again!
We are the “make or break” faction who will determine whether the Democrats are allowed to continue their majority status past the next election. We will do as we have always done. We will accept the fact that, once again, we have been lied to by a politician, crawl back into the woodwork and disappear until the great day, by and by, that some other political figure might arise and convince us that they will do something about our problems.
You see, we are the sixty per cent of the population who don’t bother to turn out on election day. We are aware of our invisibilty and unconvinced that you and the others like you are so consumed by your own lives, your good jobs, your beautiful children, and your secure lives that you have no reason to care about us. We will go on doing what we do, trying to scratch out a living from our poor endeavors living as long as whatever god we believe in decrees for us, allowing you to demean us at every opportunity as the “lower class” and a “drag on society” while giving you our offspring for cannon fodder in your wars of aquisition.
Think of us as the peasants of Middle Ages France who bore the burdens of serving the “upper classes” until they could no longer bear it. For we know that we are the base for everything you treasure. We are the ones who provide your creature comforts. Without us you would have to live in an unbearable world of chaos and your own trash. When you pray, pray for us. Pray that we will continue in our firm belief in the Brotherhood of Man and that we wil continue to support you. That is because we know, though you obviously do not, that you are just like us!
This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.