I know there have been several posts already at MOMocrats about the fact that John Edwards is really the only presidential candidate who is focusing on poverty as a campaign issue. But I need to talk about it, too, as one of the main reasons I support his candidacy.
As a girl who grew up on a small family farm, I never thought that we were poor. In my mind, our family was middle class — whatever that meant several decades ago. In retrospect, though, I see that we were far from that vision. Our family of five was clearly on the lower end of the economic spectrum. And struggled to keep things going.
My mom and dad scraped together every penny they could to buy the farm they live on. But they both knew that being small family farmers wouldn’t be enough to pay the bills and feed their three kids. So my dad worked the third shift at the local carpet factory after he toiled all day in the fields and my mom took another factory job to help make ends meet. Which meant that I, as the oldest, had responsibilities at the age of 13 that I know my own daughter will never have to face — cleaning the house and cooking the dinners on top of doing homework and keeping a grade point average that would place me at the top of my high school graduating class.
But I know those are things that John Edwards can relate to.
Edwards came from similarly humble beginnings and worked his way up, eventually to law school. After spending eight years working my way through college to get an undergraduate degree that my parents could not help pay for, I went to law school, too.
I worked hard for it — as did John Edwards. And because of that, I know he understands that people like my parents worked their tail ends off so I wouldn’t have to. And it’s time to lend them a hand so they can live the rest of their lives without having to work several jobs just to put food on the table and cover their health insurance premiums and co-pays.
My parents paid a price, and they continue to pay that price. They still are not anywhere near being middle class. And as a result, their political voices don’t get heard.
Sure, there have been promises that politicians would remember them. But those promises don’t usually get fulfilled.
I believe that John (and Elizabeth) Edwards won’t forget people like my parents if they get to live in the White House because they understand the types of lives that my parents, John and Nancy, have had to live to eke out a way in the world and make sure that their children would do better.
I’ve supported a lot of Democratic candidates in my lifetime, but none are as important to me as John Edwards. Because so far, in my many decades, he is the only one who has embraced the idea of wanting to support the poor in this country and make things better for them.
If there had been a candidate like Edwards when I was still a girl living on my parents’ farm, things could have been a bit easier for all of us. If he can do that for any families now by helping to lift them out of poverty one or two steps closer to the middle class, then that would truly be an electoral miracle.
Cross-posted from MOMocrats.
Believe it or not, I’m weighing in today on the new Bill O’Reilly book for kids over at PunditMom Reviews. Hang on to your hats!