News for the 350 million

Why we need a Rachel Maddow Bobble Head

Personally, I listen to Ms. Maddow regularly, when commuting to work, eating breakfast, even taking a bath. On some days, the latest news really does appear to make her head spin. I listen to her because I get more than other news channels, and I like her voice, as does my cat. Of the many outlets that talk only about what the latest news about the administration, I think she’s tops.

But we are a country of 325 million people. 60% of us live in the South or Midwest, and the remainder in the North and West. This is roughly the divide between ‘Coastal Elites’ and the rest of us.

Yet, people living in Louisiana and New York are united by threats to their coasts from rising tides and dramatic weather in spite of their differences. These are threats that have already ended lives and livelihoods for thousands of residents.

Our families are even more diverse, with 16% having no wage earners at all, while another 51% have two or more. Of those of us over 25, 36% of us have a bachelor’s degree or more, but an equal number have only a high school diploma or less. Spread around the country, those two groups would have more in common with each other than possibly with their neighbors in the next town.

Add to this, 42% of our population is between 35 and 54 years old.  This is the cohort most likely to be raising children, with concerns about their future that dominate their day-to-day thinking.

  • How will automation affect my future and the prospects for my children?
  • Is a college degree still a path to security, or should we be investing in workforce training? If the latter, then what workforce?
  • If college is critical, how can I protect my kids from the weight of debt that will limit where and how they live for years into the future?
  • How can I keep going if I or someone in my family faces a major illness? If I get laid off, how can I keep going?
  • Let alone, will the world be habitable for my grandkids?

With 33% of families relying on a single wage earner, worries about layoffs and health can become as debilitating as the events themselves.  43% of married mothers work and another 19% are single parents. How do these women manage to care for their families in a country where early child care is limited, paid family leave almost non-existent, and pre-kindergarten generally prohibitively expensive?

And finally, how do we all feel about living in a country where large sections of our population are demonized as the reason for the pain of others? How do we understand the very real concerns that unite us before we look for the divisions that separate us?

This is what the persistent debate about Donald Trump is costing us.

Solutions that ‘real’ people – as if some of us are cyborgs – need and deserve.  The constant chatter about his tweets, lawyers, family and corruptions is drowning us all out. Whenever there is a break so that we can start talking to each other again, something happens – and that something is all too often serious. Iran, North Korea, trade wars are genuinely frightening.  The decimation of our foreign service, denigration of women and others, expenditures of our hard earned tax dollars on private phone booths and travel are all enraging. The possibility that Russia is more in charge of our electoral process than we are is terrifying. So there is a lot to worry about.

That is why we all need a Rachel Maddow bubble head doll is so we can jiggle it, knowing that she will keep us informed about these real exigencies, while the rest of us can start fighting for common ground, solve our mutual problems, remember that, in fact, we are all ‘real’ people who can be hurt, can be proud, can wound and can heal.