When Politics Get Personal

My father got laid off today.  He worked for one of the world’s largest wind companies.  They build the massive wind turbines that you see out on the countryside or out at sea.  They are expensive but produce massive amounts of electricity.

You want to know what the strange thing is?  He was scheduled to be in my niece’s (his granddaughter’s) classroom today to talk about wind energy.  Even though it had been scheduled for weeks, he was told he couldn’t go because there was an important meeting at the same time. An important meeting to lay off half the factory.

I can’t tell you how difficult it is to watch my father do this.  He gives his all in everything he does.  Years ago, when he landed this job, he became the biggest advocate for wind energy.  So much so that he was willing to teach a 30-minute segment on wind energy to 5th graders.  But no.  That isn’t enough.  Somehow hard work is not always rewarded.

The strange thing is, I am not angry at the company.  They’ve made their mistakes here and there.  But, on the whole, they have been successful.  So, why the sudden change?  Well, this is how politics gets personal.  Sometimes the actions of people in Washington have direct effect on our lives.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a discount for the people who buy wind turbines.  The PTC has been around since 1992.  The idea is simple.  New energy alternatives take a while to become efficient enough that they provide a good bang for their buck.  The PTC simply gives them a leg up.

The PTC expires in less than three months.  Congress stalled time and time again.  Suddenly it looks like it may not make it.  News outlets are asking what will happen if it expires.  What they fail to realize is that the damage is already done.  Wind Turbines are such massive projects that people buy them months and years in advance.

Well…they did.  When they knew the PTC would give them the discount to make it profitable.  With the hold up, wind companies are withering away.  My father’s company included.  So, understand that I’m not overstating myself when I say that political maneuvering killed my father’s job.

Which brings me to the Presidential Debate yesterday.  One candidate supports the PTC.  The other has said he would let it expire.  This is common knowledge.  So, when I heard Mitt Romney say, “I support wind energy,” I did not feel like laughing.  I felt like screaming. I wanted to yell at him and point at my family.  I wanted to grab his attention and say:

“No. You don’t.  The only reason you even say that is because the line probably tested well.  If you truly support wind, you would be telling your party to pass the PTC.  But you don’t tell them, do you?  Of course not.  Because you don’t like wind energy.  Screw that.  I had to listen to you say that jobs are your number one priority probably a dozen times tonight.  What?  Is my father’s job not a priority?  Or do you feel like you deserve the power to pick and choose what jobs matter?  Guess what.  I’m not going to let that happen.”

When I tell you that I’m voting for Obama, I’m telling you that I understand his faults.  But I also understand the big picture.  Every time that Obama presents an idea that I love, the GOP picks it apart until it becomes a crummy, only-barely-worth-it, piece of legislation.  Then the GOP turns to the public and tells us that Obama isn’t doing enough.  This happened with Wind.  This happened with Healthcare.  This happened with Immigration.  This happened with Education.

When I tell you that I’m voting for Obama, I’m telling you that political bickering is killing jobs.

When I tell you that I’m voting for Obama, I’m telling you that I’m voting for my father.

2 thoughts on “When Politics Get Personal

  1. Pingback: A Week for the Record Books | Richard Thomas Reilly

  2. I’m sorry, man. It’s a shitty work climate, and I am so grateful that I work for a company that (at the moment) is spiraling upward. My wife, on the other hand, works at a state university, and is in constant fear of losing her position or her job. Governor Christie’s recent public health cuts means her insurance no longer covers a huge range of items, and she can’t even go to the hospital attached to her university.

    I’m voting for Obama. I probably wouldn’t (I stay out of politics – they’re usually all the same to me), but I have never in my life seen such an idiot capable of being president. Bush, the nutter, at least was honest; he never tried to hide the fact that we were going to bomb the hell our of the Middle East.

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