Confessions of a Bitter American

I'm bitter. I am not from a small town; I am a suburbanite. Instead of guns, I cling to my words. Still, I am bitter.

And Barack Obama's right. I know I'm not the only one who's bitter. I'm bitter about a whole lot of things, and with the latest nonsense criticisms of Obama for speaking the truth, I feel it's time I got this off my chest.

I want to share a little bit of my background so you can have an idea of why it is I am bitter.

My dad worked for ten years at an auto-glass company, becoming warehouse manager for a few years before losing that job almost five years ago. On weekends he would tend bar at the local Knights of Columbus hall. My mom had a part-time job at a paint store.

We weren't wealthy back then, but we got by. We could afford the occasional luxury, including a few memorable vacations. In 1998 we went to Arizona for my brother's college orientation. We stopped by the Grand Canyon. (Side note: A little while after we left the Canyon, I threw up in the car!) After Grandma died in 2001, we went to West Virginia and DC to visit a good friend of hers. Five years ago next month we went to Mackinac Island for the state convention for a well-known religious organization.

Ten summers ago Mom got so sick they had to put her in the hospital for a week and a half. Doctors said her heartbeat was nearly 300 beats per minute and that they'd never seen anyone survive anything like that. I have often wondered since then what life would be like without her. We were fortunate to have had insurance to cover it. God help us if that happens again.

Insurance was also there to cover my two surgeries to lengthen my Achilles tendons the following fall and winter (actually, they decided to pay for one operation the day before it actually took place).

But since then, my dad lost his jobs, and my mom lost hers. Dad got another job thanks to a friend, but this job pays quite a bit less and our health insurance covers very little.

I don't even have my own computer in my dorm room anymore; I have to use the library or computer lab to write my papers. About the most high-tech gadgets I have are my cell phone and my digital camera (neither of which have more than the basic features). I don't even have my own car at school; thank God my dad is willing to take the four-hour round trip to drive me to and from school every few weeks.)

Why? Because we can't afford any of that. And if not for grants, loans, and scholarships, even college - an experience to which I owe most of my happier memories, friendships, and interests, including blogging (thanks Pete for showing me Michigan Liberal!) - would a figment of my imagination.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm bitter that the Republicans have slashed student financial aid? Instead they seem to believe that the money would be better spent in Iraq. And as we all know, paying for every student's education is one of countless things that could happen with the half a trillion dollars that's been wasted in Iraq.

I am bitter because, while fat cat cronies act like pigs at the trough, my family and I are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I am bitter because while so many other countries' governments have found it necessary to see to it that everyone has adequate healthcare, ours hasn't. (I got news for advocates of the status quo: Our private-sector health system hasn't worked!)

I am bitter because here I am, 20 years old, yet in all my life I have only been able to obtain ONE job - working in the dining commons at school. (And even that isn't great because, unlike some people, I get fatigued rather easily after several hours of standing.) No summer jobs, no any of that. Nothing.

I am bitter because George W. Bush, John McCain, and other conservatives have made it Job One to ensure that government doesn't do what it's supposed to do - protect the people of the United States of America. Instead, because of these conservative ideologues, our tax dollars are being used to destroy life, not protect it.

So to all who criticize Obama for saying people are bitter, I say:

Yeah, you better believe we're bitter.

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