Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Morning Joe
by James Glaser
March 6, 2010

Call me strange, but I like to watch my sitcoms in the morning, and Morning Joe is the one I watch the most. I know there are a lot of morning wake-up shows out there, like Good Morning America or Fox and Friends, but Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski have put together the most entertaining one. Maybe the most fanciful one, too.

Now here is the set up. Joe is the Republican/Southern country boy, while Mika is the Democrat/sophisticated Washington insider—daughter of former National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the only person to ever enter the White House with three Z's in his name.

Friday morning they had on the actor Tom Hanks, newscaster Tom Brokaw, and a semi-regular columnists Mike Barnicle. All three of these gentlemen are entertaining and interesting, but then they should be, because entertainment is the profession each has chosen for a career.

Like I said, I enjoy the show, but let me tell you where I find the show gets a bit too fanciful. Here we have Joe, Mika, Tom, Tom, and Mike sitting around a table having a discussion about how the American economy is for the "Average Joe".

These people, by the standards of my community, Madison, Florida, are all fabulously wealthy. No doubt, both Toms are millionaires, and the rest of the table all have high-paying media jobs, so if they haven't hit a million a year, they are so far above the average American, they would have a hard time relating.

Here they are all talking about how things are turning around and things are looking good and the President is doing a good job and how some room full of Fortune 500 CEOs were telling Brokaw how they are all hiring workers now, and the only shot of realism to jump out is when Mika asks about the millions of Americans still out of work.

So, here we have a bunch of rich Americans telling the millions of people in TV Land what is going on in their lives. These people may have started out in the average American home, but they have not lived the American working man and woman's reality for a long time, and certainly not during this recession.

This week Wanda and I had to have gravel put down on our driveway. We didn't want fixing the driveway to be at the top of the list of things that we need to do to our new home, but we were digging ditches to drain the water from a little lake that would form right in the middle of the driveway every time it rained. Sure we thought about how nice it would be to have asphalt or concrete, but the price was just not affordable for us.

Now, we know we are blessed in the fact that, painful though it was, we can afford to pay someone to come in and spread a new layer of what they call Crush and Run on our driveway. It looks good and has packed down, just like the contractor said it would, but we found out that you are stepping up to the next level of expense when you decide to permanently resurface with asphalt or concrete.

That is the wealth level we are at, and we aren't complaining, for we know there are millions of Americans who are deciding today whether to spend their money on either electricity or food. Further down the economic ladder there are millions more Americans whose only needs are food and shelter, because they have lost everything, and they don't have an electric outlet to plug into anymore.

We know, and we can understand what it is like to rob Peter to pay Paul on bills, because we are not that far from it, but we have no understanding of what it is like to live on the streets. The streets are too far away from where we are.

That brings me back to the Morning Joe crew of this past Friday Morning. The people at that table are too far removed from the average American worker to talk about how things are turning around in America.

Ok Joe, Mika, Tom, Tom, and Mike, yes, maybe things are turning around for the average TV personality like you or the average Wall Street broker, but please don't insult me or the rest of America by pretending that you know what it is like down here.

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