By Mark David Blum, Esq.
When I heard those off-the-cuff throw away words, it was the moment I connected with the President-elect. Mr. O’Bama stood there giving an acceptance speech; having just been recognized as winner of the Presidential election. He had a few throw away lines – the one about Nancy Reagan and séances went nowhere. But when he said, “mutts like me”, I saw in his eyes and heard in his words a feeling I experience on many occasions. My first response was to tear up. How does a person like me, who comes from where I did and lived the life I lived, end up in such a situation? People like me are not supposed to end up in lofty positions. Personally, I never have. But when President-elect O’Bama said it, I knew exactly what he meant. It was a clear indicator of how in his heart, he too was stunned and surprised at his sudden ascendency to the Presidency.
Now that I too have been touched by the Great One, I want to use the chance to send him a message back. Barak O’Bama should never forget his roots or that he carries in his hands the hopes and dreams of tens of millions of people. He is not the Messiah and the insult to him notwithstanding, nobody expects anything from him but his best efforts and judgment. Yet, we want him to remember the line famously penned on this website, “it should be just a little bit easier.” That is all we ask of our management. Make our lives easier.
A mutt like Barak O’Bama is a welcome guest in the White House. Born of a broken home and of a-typical upbringing, the President-elect made his own way to the top of the educational and professional ladders. His being Black, it was good to see, was not a hindrance in this election. His ascendency certainly raises the issue whether Affirmative Action is still necessary in the country. But a mutt like the President-elect brings with him the feelings and impressions of life amongst the working classes and the struggles faced in trying to pull yourself out of the gutter. Mutts don’t usually have the chance to mingle and mix with pure breeds and blue bloods.
The day I was sworn in as a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court and thus legally entitled to argue cases before that Bench is a subtle reminder of a mutt like me. Not being familiar with the traditions of the Court, I was the only gray suit amongst a sea of black ones. Being out of place in such situations is normal for a mutt like me. Whenever I find myself giving saged advice and proffering solutions to those in power at times makes me wonder what a mutt like me did to end up being taken seriously. When I find myself at annual swanky Hollywood parties rubbing body parts with the rich and famous, I turn my dogtag backwards so my roots don't show. Mutts like me don't often find ourselves out of our kennels and certainly not on the Boards.
A mutt like me coming from the places I did normally ends up in prison or worse. We do not end up as lawyers and “social activists”. Mutts like me are washed away with the rest of society’s trash. But a mutt like me who finds his way out and reaches the pinnacles of our social order is to be respected. Even moreso, mutts bring with them an education you cannot buy at the best universities; the lesson of survival. Until you have faced survival issues, you are not in a position to understand the efforts that go into doing so day in and day out. Trust fund babies and those born of wealth have great freedom to experience life. Still the singular life event about which they will never understand is how the overwhelming vast majority of Americans live; paycheck to paycheck in a dwindling economy and worried about food and shelter and medical care. These are the concerns of mutts. Lofty ideals about freedom and democracy mean nothing when the plate is empty and the rain is falling on your head.
Yes a mutt for President is exactly what the nation needs. Our #1 threat and danger is our six trillion dollar debt. We spend almost 70 percent of gross annual income just on interest on the debt. That translates to hundreds of billions of dollars. The crushing weight of the debt and interest is felt in our tax burden. Change education. Give hope to soldiers who want to come home. But a mutt knows that with so much debt, you cannot move forward.
My hope is that change comes in the form of first stopping the hemorrhaging. End the war in Iraq and on Drugs. Save the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars just doing those two things. At the same time, I would suggest we put Alaska on the market. It should fetch a nice price with all that oil and we could zero out the national debt. Or we can summarily refuse to honor the debt. Until the debt is gone, the power of our tax dollars will never be able to be felt where it is needed most. So many tariffs and taxes are part of our daily meal, that we have less than 10% of our actual income to spend on our day to day expenses. No mutt can survive on such scraps. Trust fund babies can live through all financial disarray.
So to the President-elect, I say that I understand what you meant and know how you feel. Please take that energy and fire and uncertainty into the White House and use it to fuel a complete overhaul of our financial structure. Until we deal with the bills, our house is always at risk, our next meals are iffy, and we will never be able to save and move forward.