"I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
These are the words of Mitt Romney, in specific reference to the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay federal income tax. In his words, he considers these citizens to hold a victim mentality with a sense of entitlement.
In fact, the vast majority of the 47 percent, so cynically dismissed by Mr. Romney, are the working poor and elderly. While I cannot speak for those who toil for a minimal wages, I am well familiar with the distinguished contributions of the now elderly. These individuals are of the greatest generation, most of whom served our nation with great sacrifice and dedication.
My father volunteered for military service and spent three years overseas. He returned from WWII combat with injuries and illnesses that resulted in the loss of his hearing and, ultimately, the surgical removal of his lower stomach.
Despite these disabilities, he worked full-time his entire life. He volunteered decades to community youth development programs.
In the WWII absence of my father, my mother drove truck for the Army. A trained teacher, she spent decades as a public school business office manager. She, too, volunteered her service to scouting programs and youth sports. Their combined contributions to our nation were stunning and magnificent -- representing the very best of the American spirit.
Both of my parents worked extremely hard to raise their family within a caring and supportive middle-class household. Between the two, nearly a century of tax-paying employment.
Furthermore, they raised three successful sons who continue to pay tens of thousands annually in federal taxes. My parents now live in modest comfort by means of equally modest pensions, Social Security payments, and veterans benefits.
They have earned everything they now receive. No sense of entitlement or victimization. Just good and decent people receiving small compensation for significant sacrifices, contributions and investments previously made.
My parents took responsiblity and care not just for themselves, but also for their family and community. Such condescending and contemptuous insensitivities are patently offensive.
Mr. Romney emphasized the need to reach those independents not part of the derided 47 percent. Well, I am an independent and he certainly caught my attention. Indeed, there are quality leaders within the Republican Party who hold demonstrable regard for the less fortunate, working poor and elderly. Perhap they will come forward in 2016.