In Idaho, nearly half of our families are just one car repair, failed water heater or medical emergency away from serious financial hardship, according to the latest Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed report. That is what we have to show for 30 years of Republican super-majority rule. That is the same type of Republican utopia that we would have on the national scale if they ever had the chance.
Idaho’s leaders are quick to point to our “surplus” as an indicator of fiscal responsibility. What good is a $1.5 billion “surplus” if the trade-off is that Idaho families suffer without access to affordable food, housing or health care? How does a $75 rebate check weigh against a lifetime of disadvantage due to an underfunded education system? And what’s the point of a low unemployment number if the jobs don’t pay enough to rent a cheap (if there is such a thing anymore) apartment?
Am I angry? Absolutely. And you should be too. Like many of you, I fall into that category of someone who has done everything I was supposed to do. I went to college, I work hard, I volunteer my time in my community, I help others, I go to church, I raise my kids and I try to be a good person. At the end of the day, when you have done all you were supposed to do, all that you could do and it is still not enough, it tells me that there is something wrong. It tells me that our system and our policies are stacked against you in favor of those same special interests Republican leaders have been bowing to for decades.
Nothing will change unless we take action. The people making the rules have never had to make the difficult choices that you and I make on a daily basis. They have no context. They have never had to choose between rent or medications. They have never had to try to balance filling the car with gas (probably why they all voted against lowering gas prices) with filling a grocery cart. And though they may have looked at their 11-year-old child and said, “No, Parker, you can’t go to the trampoline park with your friends,” for them it was because it was inconvenient or they did not want to “spoil” their child not because they simply could not afford to do it.
At the end of the day, when you have done all that you could and it is still two steps forward and three steps back, you begin to lose interest in even trying. You accept that this is as good as it gets, and you resolve to make the best of it. When that happens, they have won. When you give up the fight they win.
I won’t give up. Neither should you. What is the alternative? I will keep going because I believe you are worth it. We all are. We deserve better.
David Roth is a nonprofit director and the Democratic Party candidate for U.S. Senate.
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