'Round the Kitchen Table

Are you sitting 'round your kitchen table, contemplating how you’re going to pay those family bills?

Are you sitting 'round your kitchen table, concerned about rising health care costs?

Are you just sitting 'round your kitchen table, being American and all?

Erg. And are you annoyed as Hell by the overuse of “`round the kitchen table” by politicians who use it to show they are “in touch” with the American people?

As reported by the Associated Press, the phrase has been getting a ton of mention lately, given the politician season and the economic crisis:

"Republican mismanagement has really hit home around the kitchen table," Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias said.

"At kitchen tables across Ohio and the heartland, mothers and fathers are worried," Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill: "Tonight, families are balancing checkbooks at kitchen tables, trying to stay on budget."

When Joe Biden accepted the VP nomination: "I take the train home to Wilmington, sometimes very late. As I look out the window at the homes we pass, I can almost hear what they're talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed."

Guess what Mr. Pop Rocks and I do `round the kitchen table? Sorry, nothing dirty. Nothing. We do nothing around the kitchen table because we eat in the family room in front of the television, just like good Americans should. In fact, I know very few Americans who actually sit at their kitchen table, just like I know very few Americans who gather “around the water cooler” at their jobs.

Right now, our kitchen table has a bowl of rotting bananas, the workout schedule from the YMCA, ten books, and three pencils. No bills, no healthcare forms, no nothing that would make a politician feel our pain.

I’m not saying that Mr. Pop and I don’t stress about rising deductibles and bank statements. Trust me, we do. We just don’t do it around the kitchen table. We do it in the car, in front of the computer, and in bed staring at the ceiling.

Do politicians think that by mentioning this folksy kitchen table scene over and over again, suddenly we’ll see them as real people and not as the overpaid liars that so many of them are? (Not all of them, I grant you, but a lot of them.) Do they think the kitchen table reference gives them relevance and authority even though I am willing to bet their kitchen tables are ten feet long and come with a complementary maid?

They should start talking to Americans and reference how we really live today.

“As Americans shove the empty can of MGD out of the way, they sit and think about the bottom line in their checkbooks.”

“While Americans wonder how they will continue to afford to buy pot in this tight economy, we are trying to figure out how we can afford not to cut taxes.”

“All over this great land of ours tonight, Americans are throwing out sealed utility bills in the hopes that maybe, if they don’t open them, they’ll go away.”

I think we could all relate to that a little more, don’t you think? Seriously, someone should just hire me to run their campaign. – Jennifer Mathieu


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