Thursday, March 13, 2008

Poor Michelle Obama??

Although I am Canadian, I find American politics fascinating and am an avid news hound. I am finding the current run for the Democratic party leadership particularly interesting. The politics surrounding a female candidate with a wayward husband and a semi-black young man with a terrifically opinionated wife is a study in political correctness and an illustration of how completely stupid it can be.

For example, I keep hearing of how Michelle Obama grew up in poverty. Now, she did live with her brother and parents in a one-bedroom apartment but other than that I am having trouble with the poverty part. Her father worked for the city and she is quoted as saying "The only amazing thing about my life is that a man like my father could raise a family of four on a single city worker's salary."

I am older than Mrs. Obama but, unlike her, I never thought of myself as growing up poor. My father spent five years overseas in the army, never even once getting home for a visit. When he returned in 1945, I was five years old, having been born after he left. We were fortunate to be able to have a "wartime house" since my father was a veteran - not fancy and very small but we liked it. My father brought back from the war a very serious and painful ulcer which would now be considered a disability but that was not even considered after that war. For many years he was only able to work sporadically and spent a lot of time in the hospital recovering from hemorrhaging. During this time, we lived on my mother's salary as a secretary, a very low paying position then compared to administrative assistants now. From her meager salary, it was necessary to pay the medical bills incurred by my father's illness as well as all the other household financial requirements yet strangely, I didn't consider myself particularly poor. We had good quality food, not fancy but good. We had clothes to wear and we had fun. When we were in our early teens we all had part time jobs out of which we were required to pay board.

I know many people who grew up in similar circumstances but I don't believe I have ever heard even one talk about growing up poor and I don't know anyone who was amazed that their parents could manage on one salary.

I guess it reads well in a political bio to say that she grew up poor and I guess if you are someone like Anderson Cooper her background sounds poor but to millions of Americans and lots of Canadians, her upbringing and education is something to be envious of and the "poor" label is really something of an insult.

1 comment:

solo said...

you didnt grow up on the soutshide of Chicago either.

Police stupidity