This week I received an unsolicited letter to the president from a person I have never met. It speaks volumes about what a typical middle-class family is experiencing in these trying times. What follows is an excerpt.
Dear Mr. Obama,
I would like to take a moment and introduce myself, as I feel in the five years you have been in office I have never been on your agenda, partially because I feel that we have never officially met.
I am the middle class.
I am the parent at the grocery store, armed with my list of necessities and my pile of coupons. My cart contains essentials: milk, bread, and eggs. It contains items I can only afford by using coupons. My son finds a small, inexpensive toy he's been wanting; I tell him we can't afford it, despite the fact that I work full time. He walks away dejected.
We head to the check out, as I carefully scan my cart to ensure I stay within my $50 per week budget.
I watch a well-dressed, manicured woman on a cellphone checking out her hundreds of dollars of groceries, only to watch her inquire how to use her Access card as payment. I see name brand cereals, potato chips, unhealthy frozen dinners in her cart, and the packs of cigarettes in her purse.
As I wonder if I will meet my strict budget, I also wonder how, when she receives Access assistance because it is believed she cannot afford food, she has the ability to spend an exorbitant amount of money on cigarettes, expensive clothing and accessories, manicures, and other luxuries the middle class lives without.
I am the individual employed in the service field, the nurse, the technician, the therapist, and the teacher. I encounter individuals on a daily basis who have developed the notion of entitlement, and forgotten the theory of responsibility.
The nurse who cares for patients who depend on the system for their medical needs, and expect that machines, food, and medications will be handed to them upon demand, free of charge.
The technician helping to care for the mother of four who continues to raise each child on the handouts from the government, yet had enough funds throughout her pregnancies to fund her smoking and drug addiction.
Yet I am the middle class who has not forgotten responsibility, and believe I am entitled only what I work for. I work full time, multiple jobs, overtime.
I am the full-time college student who has taken out loans to further their education; I am a graduate student who is also working full time to support my family; I am the single parent attending community college to further my education to help support my children.
I pay hundreds in student loans each month. I stay awake late into the night completing assignments, and then wake up early the next morning to go to work.
I am the homeowner who prepares for the winter by purchasing heating oil, equating it to gold due to its expense. Both my family and I each wear multiple layers within our home throughout the winter, and keep our heat at the absolute minimum to avoid additional oil deliveries.
I am the wife of a serviceman who is overseas, risking his life to defend our country. I live on a budget, and continue to watch our benefits dwindle. I continue to watch families around me, illegal immigrants around me, receiving government assistance for reason much unlike my husband: defending our land; simultaneously dodging bullets and dodging death.
I cannot help but wonder what these people have done to deserve such assistance, when my husband is selflessly protecting his country and not receiving as much support.
I am the middle class citizen who already avoids seeking medical care even when my condition warrants not because I don't require attention, but because I cannot afford the cost. Yet across the country, emergency rooms are overburdened with individuals who seek out care for hangnails, pregnancy tests, and chest colds, simply for the fact that they do not have to pay the price for their visit; it is the tax payers who do so.
Across this country women give birth to children on the government's dime and subsequently feed the child on those same funds. Yet we, the middle class, pay for our illness, pay for our children, even though there is little in our budgets from which to draw.
The government hands out medical care, heating oil assistance, ACCESS funds, to those who oftentimes live more frivolous lives than the individuals working so hard to support them.
I am the middle class citizen who must press one to hear options given in their native language, when illegal immigrants are granted the option to simply press two while their medical care; education and assistance funds are handed to them. Yet despite my feelings of frustration, I stand proud as the middle class.
I am the middle class who was raised on the notion that we live in the land of the free, home of the brave, not the land of the free, home of the handouts. I am the middle class whose parents answered the question, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," and will continue to support myself, my family, and my country through my full time employment. I have never expected anything to be handed to me, and instead have worked incredibly hard for the modest life I lead.
Despite these feelings, Mr. Obama, I will continue to stand strong, work hard, and unite with my fellow Americans who still refuse to be part of the system-dependent generations you are creating.
Above all, I will continue to provide for my children the example that you yourself, sir, cannot set, and what I believe should be the middle class motto: you might not have everything you want, but you can hold your head high knowing you have worked hard for everything you have, and that is worth more than any handout you could ever receive.
Mr. President merely talking about the middle class is not enough. People are hurting and they see no “hope” and want “change.”
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of politics and public policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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