Dear Governor Romney,
Did you really think you'd be able to get away from this latest blunder without a letter from us?
Look, we are sorry. Tuesday was obviously a really bad day. In case you need a reminder, let's review the content of your not-so-finest hour:
There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what... 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what... These are people who pay no income tax.
Oh, boy. Might want to remove your foot from your mouth right about now. But if it makes you feel any better, on behalf of the Millennials, you should know we think you were right. We do feel entitled to some things and sometimes we do feel like victims.
We, the Millennials, are entitled. We are entitled to a quality education and to have the opportunity to attend college without digging ourselves into massive amounts of debt weighing us down like a ball and chain for the rest of our lives. We believe that in a mature civilization, we are entitled to reasonable health care, particularly since the youngest generation is the first in history to have a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents.
We are entitled to a government that regards its citizens not as leeches, but as human beings. We are entitled to inherit (and are responsible for passing along) a healthy and functioning planet. We are entitled to a president who will acknowledge there is a problem and admit that it is real and that it exists.
Lastly, we believe that as the next American generation, we are entitled to greatness.
Our apologies, dear Governor, if sometimes, we do feel like victims. But we happen to have graduated into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, just so a few of your buddies could profit off toxic securities at the expense of thousands of Americans. One might say that the Millennial generation, along with our brethren of the middle and lower class, got the short end of the stick in that deal. Not all of us can ask our parents to helicopter on in and come to our rescue (although we do appreciate you letting us move back in with you, Mom and Dad).
For the most part, our generation has picked ourselves up by our bootstraps. When there weren't jobs available in our intended field, we created jobs for ourselves or did the best we could and took whatever undesirable options we could get.
You were right, Governor Romney. We will vote for President Obama. We will vote for someone who believes in helping us out with college loans, who believes in a strong middle class, who believes that we need to transition to a new clean energy economy and who believes in American citizens, seeing us human beings who might need a hand up -- not a hand out -- once in awhile.
Speaking of taxes, with all due respect Governor, perhaps you should not be passing judgment on who is paying what for taxes, when someone has yet to disclose one's comprehensive tax returns. In 2010 -- the year you did release your return -- you paid 13.9% in taxes on the $21.7 million you took home. During that same year, the average American paid more than that -- 15.3% -- in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare alone. During the second quarter of that same year, our generation suffered record unemployment levels, reaching a staggering 19.5%. Sorry, not sorry, Governor. Call us crazy but something about this just doesn't seem fair.
It is not that we are "dependent on the government, even though food stamps are so incredibly easy to get (cue the sarcasm). Your comment reveals more about your basic view on America than any stump speech you have delivered thus far. You obviously believe in a society where every man looks out for himself. Your philosophy is based on the notion that - of course! - you'll need some help if you are already rich or a corporation turned person turned corporation. We, the Millennial generation, believe in helping out others who need it, as we're demonstrating record-breaking volunteer numbers, "showing strong interest in civic participation and reversing some of the declines observed among youth since the 1970s." You, dear Governor, were 23 years old in 1970. How much time did you spend volunteering and giving back to your community at that young and empathetic age?
Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University, has posited in his book, The Price of Civilization, that the economic crisis we are experiencing is due to a moral crisis in America where everyone is out for the betterment of themselves as individuals. Sachs notes,
At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite... America has developed the world's most competitive market society but has squandered its civic virtue along the way.
President Obama said it well when he stated,
We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only "what's in it for me," a freedom without commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.
Governor Romney, it's not your fault that you are out of touch. You were born with a comb-over and a bow tie and grew up in the lap of luxury. What is your fault, however, is your refusal to admit that you were part of the lucky-sperm-club and that you are in any way obliged to invest in your country and your fellow Americans, instead of investing in only yourself, your kin, and your beloved rich buddies. What is your fault is that you are selfish and outlandish in insinuating that 47% of Americans are freeloading -- how much did American taxpayers fork over for bank bailouts in the past four years, and how much did we spend on single, working mothers? -- and what is super uncool is you hating on hard-working Americans.
In times of trouble, we must turn to one another. We must rebuild our economy not through the maximization of individual wealth, but through a strong middle class and the critical government programs that help American citizens realize their individual potential. We are Americans, dear Governor, and for that reason alone we have a right to experience the greatness that each of us are, yes, "entitled to."
Follow Lucy Emerson-Bell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@lemersonbell