A Tale Of Two Senators Who Grew Up Poor And Went Opposite Directions

I Got Mine, Screw You!

The GOP attempted to relate to the poor and working class when Joni Ernst, during her State of the Union rebuttal, painted herself as a poor Iowan girl who had to stuff bread bags over her shoes to keep them from being ruined by the rain. She wasn’t ruined, because apparently many of her Iowan school friends were just as poor and had to do the same thing. It was certainly a tender moment for the GOP. Ernst really showed people how one can overcome poverty to be something great.

Except she forgot to mention one tiny thing: her family received over $460,000 in federal subsidies (the very ones Ernst’s party wants to get rid of).

According to The District Sentinel:

Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government – with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington — again, mostly corn subsidies — between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003.”

And there’s nothing quite like helping the family business out when it comes to the government. Ernst’s father, who also owned a construction company, was given $215,665 in contracts from the Montgomery County government while Ernst was an auditor.

Ernst is an individual who is “philosophically opposed” to the very subsidies that kept her family afloat. A perfect example of the “I got mine, screw you” that we constantly see from the right. After the federal and local government has dished out hundreds of thousands to Ernst and her family, she doesn’t want it anymore, and now that she is a big shot senator, she doesn’t care anymore. She doesn’t want Obamacare, she doesn’t want to raise the minimum wage, she doesn’t want paid sick leave, she certainly isn’t a supporter of the American worker, and she doesn’t want subsidies, of any kind, that helps people get a leg up in our economy. It’s very mind boggling that someone who received so much help from our federal government doesn’t want anyone else to get it.

As Democrats, we shouldn’t care that Ernst and her family received subsidies. What we should care about is the disgusting hypocrisy and lack of compassion for other people Ernst has displayed.

I Didn’t Get Anything, So I Want To Help You!

Then you have someone like Elizabeth Warren, who does want to give that same opportunity to the people. Warren isn’t from Iowa, and she’s certainly much older than Joni Ernst is (Ernst was born in 1970, Warren in 1949). But like her Republican colleague, she grew up relatively poor, but in Oklahoma. Warren’s foundation of working-class parents was rocked to its core when her father, Donald, suffered a heart attack and lost his job. Their house, which was already run down, was an inch away from being taken from them. They had to move. So Warren, at the age of 12, got a job as a waitress and her mother worked at Sears.

Warren, as a child, never went to a museum, never rode in a taxi, and had never had been to a ballet. And guess what? She never received the copious amounts of subsidies that Ernst had. In fact, Warren never received any government assistance. The only reason she was able to afford college was because she received a scholarship for being an amazing student (Ernst received federal aid to go to college, and she now wants to do away with such aid).

Warren, as everyone knows, has become the face and the champion for the working middle class and the poor in the Senate. She supports Obamacare, she supports raising the minimum wage, she supports paid sick leave, she supports unions, and she supports closing loopholes that have allowed the richest to avoid their fair share in taxes (which have burdened the middle class).

Elizabeth Warren exemplifies the “I didn’t get anything, but I don’t want you to ever feel the same way I did” mentality that is the Democratic, Progressive, Liberal way.

How can two Senators, with very similar backgrounds, be so polar opposite in how they view the world? Simple. One got a lot of money and feels entitled (there’s the real entitlement, GOP) and the other is humbled. One is threatened by people rising above their means and succeeding, the other champions it. One wants to keep the class of people poor, stupid, and desperate to win re-election while the other wants them to have a seat at the table.

This is the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. Who will you vote for in 2016?