It’s not often that I agree with Bill O’Reilly, and I’ve definitely never been moved to write about it. But on the eve of the election, as votes were being counted, O’Reilly, the FOX News personality, was on FOX giving his opinion on why it appeared that President Obama was poised to win. The anchors on FOX seemed genuinely perplexed about how despite the network’s four-year campaign to defeat President Obama, he was going to win reelection. “How did we get to this point,” the anchor asked O’Reilly.
O’Reilly’s response was that there are non-traditional people (code for people of color, women and LGBT) who want things, stuff, and these people voted for President Obama.
He’s right. I voted for President Obama and I do want things, stuff. And if only people who want things voted for President Obama, I’m surprised he didn’t get 100 percent of the vote. We should all want things from our government.
I know I do want stuff.
I want bridges that don’t collapse and roads without potholes that adequately accommodate traffic. I want modern, high performing schools in every neighborhood, regardless of the income of the people who live there. I want safe, affordable housing available to everyone.
I want corporations that don’t rack up record profits but pay little to no taxes. I want a regulated Wall Street that doesn’t gamble recklessly knowing that if they lose, we’ll pick up the pieces, but if they win, they get to buy another vacation home, another boat.
I want good, secure jobs for my neighbors that allow them to live comfortably, without worrying about not having enough to feed and shelter their families. I want them to also be able to visit a doctor whenever they to and be able to obtain the medicines they need to stay in good health.
I want clean air and renewable energy. I want equality. I want immigration reform that respects the hard work and dignity of the undocumented.
So O’Reilly was right. I do want things. But it’s not enough to want. And it’s not enough to vote. We have to constantly remind our elected officials of the things we want, the things we need.
It’s the only way we’re going to achieve what I hope both red and blue America wants: a healthy country where everyone has an equal opportunity at making it, at realizing their own American dream.
Mary Moreno lives in the Rio Grande Valley and is a freelance writer.
[Photo courtesy Fox News]