This blog received an email in the past week from a social worker in Des Moines. We have reproduced it here in its original form.
Mr. George Ritacco
October 12, 2016
Dear Mr. Ritacco,
I am a social worker who has enjoyed working in the Foster Care System in Des Moines, Iowa for these last 20 years. I read your blog because I like to keep up with the issues that affect all of us who work in social services. I am not a political person, in particular, but consider myself a concerned citizen who cares about this wonderful country we all live in, and I never fail to vote.
The current presidential election antics have me upset, to put it mildly, and I am not alone. Everyone here in our agency, men and women alike, are shocked, you can be sure. But what is even more disturbing is that they are gradually becoming disheartened. I can feel it.
My fellow workers go home at night and watch the election reporting. In the beginning, when they returned to work the next morning, they would take sides and could even get a little heated debate going. But gradually I noticed everyone's mood shift. Now they seem to abandon any point-of-view and be given, rather, to short bursts of outrage followed by longer periods of disbelief. No one seems to know what is going on. They are disgruntled with both candidates and feel the entire system has somehow sunk into chaos and found a new low.
Social workers are caring people. That’s why they become social workers. However, the current presidential race has succeeded in turning this entire office of caring people into a bunch who just don’t care anymore. That’s right - I can tell they just don’t care anymore. Oh, they still care about their clients and they still care about our country. That’s who they are. They just don’t care what Donald says about Hillary or what Hillary says about Donald. They have turned their faces away from an election they find embarrassing. Can you imagine? We’re all embarrassed. We’re not angry. We’re not passionate. We’re not partisan. We’re embarrassed.
Our leaders have succeeded in reducing presidential politics to the intellectual level of a reality T.V. show. We may as well cast a ballot for Kim Kardashian and be done with it. What should have been a public exchange of ideas for us all to consider, has descended to a childish fistfight on an elementary school playground. Calling one another “liar” and “sexual predator” and “criminal” and “fraud” and implying that the whole election is rigged anyway is exactly the form of bullying we in Foster Care try to discourage when we see it pop up among the children.
George, I am sure you can see, as well as I do, what a threat to our democracy apathy is. When the most caring segment of our society just doesn’t care anymore, we are heading for trouble. The collective reaction of my colleagues troubles me more than anything. The buffoons involved in this election have done more to damage this country than Russia, China, and Iran combined. History will not treat our generation well no matter who is elected president.
I hope you see my point,