I was born poor on the southside of Chicago. My mother worked a full time job as a secretary. She walked four blocks to the bus stop every day. My dad worked nights as a bartender. My parents always stressed the value of work and a good education. I saw my dad work on ulcerated feet due to advanced diabetes. He died after double amputations. He never took welfare or unemployment compensation. We lived check to check, and we were happy when he got a few tips from customers. My mother worked until she was 68 years old.
In grammar school, I delivered newspapers, worked in a flower shop, and sold items door-to-door to finance my education at St. Rita H.S. in Chicago. My mother begged the principal, Father Crawford to lower my tuition, because we were so poor. He was a good man and accomodated her. I graduated in an academic program with honors and was accepted at the University of Notre Dame. I was proud, but couldn't afford the tuition, so I went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Illinois.
I graduated a Dean's List scholar, and was accepted into the Master's Program in Psychology at Central Michigan University. Back in 1971 if a young person didn't have the money to go to grad school, he would have to work to earn it, and delay his academic career. I worked as a warehouseman, clothing salesman, and finally landed a job as an apprentice in Local #150 as a Heavy Equipment Operator.
I never did make it back to college, because I fell in love with my new trade. I studied nights to become a certified crane operator, and did whatever it took to learn my trade. We worked long hours in the heat of the summer, and the snows and freezing rains in the winter. My lungs were decimated by asbestos, dust, benzene and all types of other noxious chemicals.
I worked 33 years at my trade, and was proud to make a good living for my wife and daughter. We doubled up on our mortgage payments and saved our money.
Now, I am 63 years old. I am disabled because of all the hard years of work. I've had cancer, bypass surgery, I suffer from arthritis and a variety of other ailments. I do well with my pension and social security disability. I know that both are endangered by this new Republican regime who calls me a victim and a whiner. Yeah, I'm a guy who built America, and never gave up because my folks didn't have the money to send me through. I managed to become a professional artist and to write four books. Yes, I am a part of the 47% who is the best part of America.
I have faith in my compatriots. I am glad that Governor Romney has been honest in regard to how he feels about me and my ilk. These patriots who hide behind God and the flag seem to show their true colors these days. A president is in charge of governing for ALL the people of the commonwealth. I never asked my dad for money to start a business, because he would have given me enough to sell popcorn on the street corner. I had a greater vision than that for me and my family.
All I ask is that when you vote this November, remember guys like me. We worked hard for you. When you needed a water heater replaced or a road put in, we were there for you. I think President Obama has us in mind, and all the people in the United States. He ain't perfect, but by God, he isn't going to denigrate my life's efforts, and take away what I worked for all my life. These are not entitlements. I paid into my pension, and paid social security taxes all my life.
True leaders understand humility and compassion. Never forget that.