We (should) Take Care of Our Own

19 Sep

At the end of his Charlotte speech Thursday night, President Obama told several moving stories about Americans who give him hope. And when he ended his address, the hall filled with the sound of Bruce Springsteen’s song, “We Take Care of Our Own.”

One can’t imagine Romney or Ryan embracing those words. That idea — “We Take Care of Our Own” — is what distinguishes the Democrats’ view of the world from the Republicans’ philosophy: “You’re On Your Own.”

“At the very essence of our democracy,” Obama said, is “the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.”

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.
We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States, and it’s in our power to give her that chance.

 

In his speech in Tampa last week, Paul Ryan told a story about how, after his father’s death, his mother “got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business.It wasn’t just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my Mom is my role model.”

Ryan meant this as a celebration of his mother’s lift-herself-by-her-own-bootstraps spirit.

But shouldn’t someone remind Ryan that the bus was a public service, that the road was built and maintained by government, and that the University of Wisconsin in Madison is a public institution?

 

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