A Democratic family
They live on a quiet, tree-lined street where they know their neighbors and their neighbors know them.
“Luckily we have Don, Barbara and Jack,” says Donnie Works, a native Nevadan and Carson City ironworker in his mid-30s, proudly pointing out his neighbors, house by house. He’s been busy renovating the home he bought with his wife five months ago. It’s a big project, but the results are impressive.
His wife, Monica, a retired flight attendant in her late 20s, comes down the street pushing 17-month-old Lola in a running stroller. They’ve just come from a walk to the Governor’s Mansion, a favorite destination.
Shorty, a Jack Russell mix, wanders outside to greet them.
The house is full of the growing sounds of life, which at the moment means Cookie Monster and Lola are having a debate. But unlike the presidential debates, there are no blinking red lights and winning seems to be based entirely on sheer volume. Regardless, Cookie Monster holds steadfast in his views about cookies.
Donnie and Monica are a hardworking couple and strong supporters of John Kerry for president.
“I’m not usually a very political person,” Monica said. “But I just think we need to get someone in there with fresh ideas. We need to give our nation a fresh start after everything we’ve been through.”
Like many voters, the war on terror and Homeland Security top their list of issues.
“I think we were right about going into Afghanistan,” Donnie said. “We did a good job with the planning. And Saddam Hussein was a horrible man. He was a bad man who had to be taken care of. We had to go in there, but I do think we did rush to war.”
“Some of that $200 billion we’re spending we could use here at home,” Monica said.
“It’s out of control,” Donnie added. “They’ve got enough oil to pay to repair the country themselves. The only one who benefits is Halliburton.
“On a normal job like that, the government would be required to get three bids and go with the lowest.”
And he’s critical of the Republican campaign strategy.
“What bothers me is when anybody starts picking on the veterans. John Kerry was on a swift boat in the Mekong Delta. That’s a narrow river, taking machine gun fire from both sides. Where was Bush? Texas? Alabama? Playing ping-pong and drinking beer?”
Donnie suspects the war on terror is a being used by Bush as a smokescreen to hide his unpopular or weak stances on the other issues.
“They want to turn this election to a ‘you’re either with us, or against us’ kind of thing.”
He said that’s not how it should be.
“We need someone who’s going to put the betterment of this country above the betterment of himself and his friends,” he said. “Look at Kerry’s proposed tax plan. He’s going to take a bigger hit than the Bushes. He’s going to take a huge hit, and he’s ready for it – the sacrifice. That’s the difference between being a public servant and a self-servant. We need someone who will put their own self-benefit aside.”
So what about Kerry as “the great flip-flopper?”
“It’s unbelievable for somebody who lives in such a giant glass house to be throwing stones of any kind.”
And he advocates that more emphasis be placed on preventative measures at home to keep the country safe.
“We need to start inspecting every container, all airline baggage. We need to take some of the money that we’re spending over there and bring it back,” he said.
Donnie and Monica worry about Lola growing up in such a dangerous world, but they’re also practical. They also worry about her being able to do things like find a decent job. Outsourcing is a sore issue.
“There are just so many issues here,” Donnie said, “but they don’t want to talk about any of them. Even the environment, like Yucca Mountain.
“Bush wants to take our five electoral votes and give us tons of nuclear waste in return. Some trade-off.”
In addition to their complaints concerning the current administration’s policy, they also have personal complaints.
“Dick Cheney is a grumpy old man,” Monica said.
“I believe Cheney has had such a long career he’s kind if not with it,” said Donnie, citing the vice presidential debate, in which, at times, Cheney seemed to be talking into his hands and rather bored.
“Kerry and Edwards have new ideas,” he added. “They’re excited about the job.”
Monica, who comes from a family of Texas Republicans, sees this election as a complex set of issues.
“I don’t think it’s as black and white as the Republicans want to believe or want the voters to believe. They alienate so many people that way.”