Wednesday, October 01, 2008

No Main Street there...

There is no "Main Street" in Oakland. Why does this matter? Because this phrase is being beat to death in an attempt for our candidates to appear to understand what "regular" Americans want and need.

I am not a "regular" American. I know this. As a pagan, queer, poly-leaning, therapist who also happens to be a fat activist, I know that there are many places that I don't fit into anything "regular" in America.

And, yet, I am deeply in touch with these "regular" folks in a way that politics cannot allow most candidates. I hear their stories. I work with them to get their medications or find money to pay the soaring food and gas prices on a fixed income. I talk to them about insurance, and childcare, and relationships, and travel.

Some of these people are deeply conservative and religious. Some are more liberal. Some don't believe that their vote means anything, and may never have voted.

And none of these people live on "Main Street." Most of Americans don't. The idea of a "Main Street" as a place to gather or do business was lost in the '90s for most towns. And what "Main Streets" still thrive often depend on tourism to keep them alive. Most of the people in rural America will speak to you quite unromantically about the realities of rural life: the poverty and lack of jobs, the lack of resources in terms of healthcare, education, entertainment. (Never underestimate the value of entertainment resources on the health of a community.)

"Main Street" doesn't exist in any way that our candidates are using it. And I just wish that they would stop...and focus more on the specifics of what they will do to bring about a solution to our economic woes.

No comments: