Like so many American families, we had house guests for the Thanksgiving holiday. I love them dearly and apologize up front if this comes off poorly, but I cannot resist sharing the lesson learned.
X and I have known each other for thirty years. We grew up together, grew apart, and then reconnected. Our childhoods spent in NY, X wound up in New Hampshire while I moved out to the West coast.
During the visit I was horrified to learn – although I had suspected it already – that X had voted for Romney. I’ve had trouble understanding how anyone could be snowed by him, but there X was, someone I respect, hating on Obama. Sure, X had voted for him the last time but had seen things go from bad to worse in New Hampshire since then. I asked why Obama was to blame.
Me: So what does Obama have to do with what’s going in in New Hampshire?
X: It’s the kids. They’re all very upset about what he’s done with education.
Me: What’s he done?
X: The student loans are incredible. It’s so expensive, it’s unbelievable. You can’t even afford to think about it.
Me: What does that have to do with him?
X: He cut the funding, didn’t he?
Me: No. The federal government doesn’t fund colleges; they help provide student loans. Almost all of the funding for education comes from the states. That’s the Constitution; education is left totally to the states. The federal government had almost nothing to do with it until Bush gave us No Child Left Behind. Colleges are funded privately or by the state.
X: So why is there no money?
Me: It’s your state. It’s got nothing to do with Obama. Do you pay state taxes in New Hampshire?
X: My property taxes are off the wall.
Me: Granted. But you pay no state income or sales taxes, right?
Me: So where is the money going to come from? How is the state going to fund education if they have no income?
X: Then where does all that tax money go?
Me: Infrastructure. Administration. Roads and bridges. The DMV.
X: Well, I don’t pay attention to politics anyway.
Me: I get that now.
And I love you anyway.