Here are two things anyone that knows me will corroborate. First, I’m a prick, self-centered nearly to the point of narcissism. I don’t care about your situation. Well, I do—I hope things are going well for you. That’s a handsome shirt—but I don’t care when I step into the voting booth. This is about me. Second, I don’t talk about politics.
So, let’s talk about the election.
In 2008, I had a Good Job™ doing website development at a prominent retail company headquartered in Fort Worth. I was still in school, finishing up my Computer Information Technology degree at TCU, but had already parlayed my internship into a full-time position. Things were going pretty well. Within a couple years, I could probably have climbed up to some management position making three or four times the salary that anyone in my family has or will ever make and with pretty good benefits.
Then, I went to a conference for independent developers where I met a Russian guy from some company in Canada. He said they were looking to expand their team. It seemed like an opportunity, so I emailed him the next week to see if he was serious. (My current company’s stock had just dipped below $1 per share.) Just a few weeks before a presidential election and with the worst economic collapse of my lifetime beginning, I jumped ship from my first grown up job at a “real company” to do contract work with some company doing—what now? Something with Macs and iPhones? Where’s the office? What do you mean on the Internet? Most people I talked to seemed to think I had conjured the whole thing up in a fugue state that would make John Nash proud.
It’s four years later, and I have been a silent basketcase about how this election would turn out. Romney’s promise to repeal Obamacare, his tax plan, and his stance on education finance would combine to mean that I would have to work harder to keep the status quo. It would mean that my kind and talented wife wouldn’t be able to pursue her dreams in the medical field, which would be a huge loss for the medical community and thousands of patients for whom she’ll provide excellent care. Romney is simply out of touch with people like me.2
Between the interest rate relief that was just renewed in July and will be back up for renewal before the next presidential election, costs of insuring our health, and provisions of the tax code such as mortgage interest deductions, our bottom line stood to take a monthly hit approaching $500. Maybe that’s what Mitt Romney drops on brie and wine at dinner, but for me and my family, it is significant. It’s the difference between renting a small apartment and owning our home. It’s the difference between our dog living and dying every month. For us, it’s the difference between forward and fucked.
The good news in all of this is that—even though I don’t care about your situation half as much as I care about my own—from what I can tell, this applies to a lot of people. If there’s 47% looking for a handout, and 1% trying hard to keep control of most of the wealth, that’s 52% of people in this country who are in my circumstances or similar, and what’s good for me turns out to also be good for them. And what’s good for us turns out to be good for everyone.3
So, I’m happy with the election results. If you’re not—if you think we’re going to be standing in bread lines and should all emigrate to Costa Rica before “they” take away our guns—that doesn’t mean I hate you. We’ll still be friends. Disagreements don’t drive me away from people so easily. For my part, I’m looking forward to four more years of progress for us all, no matter which way you voted.
- 2008 was the beginning of a really awful time for a lot of people in this country. I totally get that. It didn’t hit me personally, but who knows what would have happened had I stayed at that Good Job™? I made some really tough decisions at a time of great uncertainty both here and abroad, but I realize that a lot of people didn’t even get to make a choice. They were stuck. I get that, and I don’t want to minimize the tough time that a lot of folks had and are still having. I hope things get better for them. Truly. ↩
- If you can’t afford to go to college or start a business, borrow money from your parents. Really? What if your parents are poor—not broke because they overextended themselves buying houses and cars they couldn’t afford, but barely-getting-by-even-though-they-work-their-asses-off-at-two-or-more-jobs poor? Fuck you. ↩
- No one tell Paul Ryan, but Ayn Rand would concur. What’s truly best for the individual’s long-term self-interest is ultimately best for the self-interest of all. ↩