It’s official! The American middle class is coming to grips with the fact that upward social and economic mobility, which has been the driving American dream may have come to an end.
Speech after speech, the Democrats point out and lament how America has changed. How though they grew up in the school of hard knocks, America gave them opportunity to be better, to rise, to succeed. Their parents worked hard so that they could become who they are today. Prominent, affluent, educated, outspoken.
They worry that their own children and certainly their children’s children will not have the same chance. They are not given the same tools. The game is rigged and the odds are against them.
Even when Barack Obama ran his 2008 campaign telling us “YES WE CAN” the mood was that the economy, the wars, it was all republican fault and things could go back to the way they were. With new and determined leadership the country could make a come back. Four years later, the Republicans have a fighting chance of winning because the Democrats have understood that the problems are systemic, deep rooted and changes that are needed have to be far-reaching in scope and not merely cosmetic.
The Republicans are still going with the angle of it’s leadership change that is needed. Even if they win, even if their program was geared to give the middle class an opportunity to stay in the middle and for the next generations to experience mobility instead of stagnation, they too would fall short.
How hard is it to get people motivated knowing that the odds are against them, knowing that the effort needed and the changes necessary are going to challenge this as they have known them?
This is why the country has sensed the hesitation of the Democratic party to say “Yes we are better off today than we were 4 years ago.” The answer to that question is very nuanced and that does not making for a voting strategy.
If the current administration actually wins this fall, it would be a blessing if it governed without fear, without so much compromise. Brushing over problems, hiding the dirt under the rug leaving it there for someone else to clean up the mess, will not serve peoples’ interests. The status quo is over. The important task is to make things right. To make changes that will benefit the nation as a whole not those with means and entitlement.
The same hard choices that America faces, are facing Europe. Weak leadership is tragic in difficult times. One need look at different moments in time, crises and their outcomes to see that leadership played an important role in the outcome.
Weak leadership and an unwilling people have kept Greece, for example, in a quagmire that is just sapping the country of any chance of a come back.
Moving forward is a good slogan, it’s a good rallying cry. It shouldn’t be followed by “but” though it should be followed by serious reform.