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Robert #Resist Sandy @frodofied
, 47 tweets, 13 min read Read on Twitter
I got chills just now as I read a tweet from @brianefallon in which he points out the double standard being applied to @staceyabrams in regards to the fevered attention her student loan debt is garnering vs. Kavanaugh's debts of luxury.

Are we really surprised?

I was just outside with the dogs and thinking about my own student loan crisis and cursing the lost promise of a @HillaryClinton presidency.

Student loan debt is something she talked about frequently, because she had heard so many stories.

@staceyabrams and I are not alone.
My mind is full today, there will be many threads, but this might be the most important one I write. Outside with the dogs I had wondered whether I should write it. I will take @brianefallon's and @staceyabrams' story as a sign.

But there is more to this than student loans.

Just under the surface here sits a steaming pile of waste comprised of racism, sexism, class warfare, and hypocrisy.

The fact that anyone would attempt to engage in any level of moral grandstanding with @staceyabrams financial history with @realDonaldTrump presiding is rich.

Donald Trump ran for President of the United States having declared bankruptcy about as many times as many pre-schoolars can count with their fingers. And his history is littered with lawsuits filed by individuals and small companies who Trump had employed and not paid.

In fact, if we examine the publicly available evidence it would appear that @realDonaldTrump reneges and cheats and walks away from his financial responsibilities more often than he fulfills them. But where are the stories about this, and where were they in 2016?

But we are such a broken, upside down nation that the everyday debt of hard working Americans trying to survive paycheck to paycheck is given more scrutiny and less empathy than the enormous debts accrued and defaulted on by billionaire crooks like @realDonaldTrump.

The student loan debt crisis is a monster that continues to consume & grow uncontrollably. There are millions of @staceyabrams
and @frodofied's out there and the @GOP not only does not care they literally block all attempts to find a solution that benefits everyday Americans.
It was a relief to watch @HillaryClinton on the campaign trail in 2015/16 as she listened to Americans tell her their student loan debt stories.

Whereever she went the stories followed. Stories of crushing debt levels, institutional malpractice, and rising interests rates.

The impact of this debt on poor & minority communities was particularly great. And everyone was ignoring it.

Yet another reason Clinton mattered.

She came to understand that loan debt, opioid addiction rates, and rising healthcare costs were the real American story.

While her opponents were selling fear, racism, free stuff, and revolution @HillaryClinton was hunting down workable solutions to the problems that Americans were telling her were most important.

In the broadest possible sense the student loan program is a net positive.

But too often the program is mismanaged and exploited by financial aide offices who provide little to no counselling to students and families who are overwhelmed by the enormous costs and lack of options.

And it's getting worse. @staceyabrams' story is evidence of that.

In our information, service, and technology driven economy, where specialization is becoming key, higher education is essential. But tuition rates at state & private colleges are rising at rates far exceeding normal inflation.

Stagnant wage growth and rising overall personal debt mean that if students and parents hope to give themselves or their children better lives they are going to be forced to take on substantial additional debt no one can be sure will be able to pay back in the future.

My story is both unique & common, but should not exist. Following a diagnosis of colon cancer when I was fourteen, and no longer able to survive the psychological & physical torment I received for being a shy, clumsy gay kid in small town America I decided to leave school.

My doctors and therapist all sought out outside options, but every one of them signed off on the necessary paperwork to get me out. I left home 2 1/2 years later & landed in Chicago where I began the struggle to survive as an independent teenager almost alone in the world.

It was hard. I was usually working one full-time and two part-time jobs to make ends meet. But I had been an advanced learner in primary school and thanks to the kindness of a local librarian who saw my potential I was engaged in a systematic self-education program.

Despite not having a diploma I advanced into management with almost every full-time job I accepted. Although these were mostly retail jobs I was proud of my trajectory given my history.

The work I did on the 1992 Clinton campaign changed everything.

The people I worked with and for seemed to know everything and I very much felt the limitations of my background. They were always shocked after hearing my story, however, and a few became kind advocates.

It was after being encouraged by Hillary Clinton while on the steering committee for her and Tipper Gore's largest public fundraising event in Chicago that year that I decided to do whatever it took to go back to school.

I took the GED w/o studying at the first opportunity following Clinton's victory. I scored in the 99th percentile. And a few months later I took the ACT and received a composite score of 27 putting me in the 88th percentile.

Not bad for a kid who never went to high school.

I am sharing this to provide context for what happened later. Too often we look at certain facts about people's lives without considering how they got there. We make moral and ethical judgements without context. It's an ethical model I reject out of hand.

Applying to college terrified me. Paralyzed me really. I had no money so moving far afield was not an option, and, if I wanted to start classes in the fall of 1993 my choices were further limited by application and enrollment deadlines.

In the end I applied to four well known colleges and univesities in Chicago and was accepted to all of them. I chose a small Liberal Arts college in Lake Forest that had been very aggressive in their recruitment efforts.

But I was secretly terrified.

The cost of tuition was a joke. At one of the universities, Loyola, the total cost for tuition, fees, books, and housing far exceeded my annual income, even while working two jobs.

The school I chose was the least expensive and smallest of the lot. It was the perfect fit.

But I came with nothing. When I saw the total bill for my first year I threw up. It triggered a particularly nasty flare-up that stuck around for a bit. The women in the financial aid office were kind but business like and offered nothing in the way of advice.

In the end they handed me my financial aid award letter and told me to sign, which I did.

The package was a mishmash of grants & scholarships but was comprised mostly of the various types of federal loans I qualified for, all of which were for the maximum allowed amounts.

On the advice of my admissions counselor I only registered for four classes that first semester. I had no idea what to expect. I was moving on campus, attending my work-study job at the library, working my part-time side job and trying to meet the expectations of professors.
These stories might seem irrelevant, but they are not, trust me. I'm sharing them because student loan debt can get out of control very quickly & young students from poverty backgrounds have so few options. Many will lecture that they worked themselves through school.


Most of those who did so did it when annual tuition costs at most private schools didn't exceed the cost of many luxury automobiles as they did when I attended college and which are far greater today.

My father died on October 17th 1993. In the middle of my first semester.

The classtime I lost following made it necessary to drop a class or risk failing since there were components I would be unable to make up before the term ended.

So, I ended my first semester with 9 credit hours but having borrowed for 18 credit hours worth.

Being someone who left home young and who had only ever dreamt of having such opportunities, I was passive and compliant. I just assumed that the people in the business and financial aid offices had my best interest at heart, but I was wrong.

Education is a business & financial & enrollment pressures have meant that many smaller Liberal Arts colleges have begun to see students as dollar signs. Their interest lies in patchworking financial aid packages to get it paid for while passing on maximum debt to students.

College was the best thing I ever did, but it was also the worst thing I ever did. Circumstances meant I was an undergrad for five years, two of which were abroad, adding a new loan type and an additional $40,000 to the bottom line.

At the time I didn't consider the debt.

When you come from poverty and people around you start throwing around the kinds of figures you encounter it all feels more than theoretical, it's downright farcical

I was encouraged to follow my bliss, experiment to find what interested me then study, study, study.

That's the worst advice I was ever given. Fine if you come from wealth. Fine if your parents are there to get you through those first few years after. But if you come from nothing, have nothing, and had to borrow everything for the privilege you don't have that luxury.

My bliss, so happens, was Art History, History and Women's Studies. That paper is basically a dartboard. A very, very expensive dartboard.

A, now, $160,000 dart board.

For undergrad.

Almost half of that is accrued interest at this point.

Everything was basically fine until 2013 when I returned to MI to care for my mother. The savings I had put together to throw at the debt we're gone in months, used for any number of medical costs and needs. I quickly lost the ability to pay any bills but our rent, etc

Since her death I have been, well, many of you know the story because you have been a part of it and have gotten me through. Needless to say, I have not been able to pay or even consider my student loans, which have recently defaulted.

They continue to grow in size.

If there is solution I'd like to know it. It's ruined my credit, your can't clear the debt through bankruptcy, which I find interesting. Trump, who would have never had to take out education loans, is free to continually discharge his debts and move on.

Unless some amazing thing happens soon such as my next or a future book becoming greatly successful, or I win the lottery, that debt is going to be hanging around my neck until the day I die.

I wasn't even able to go to grad school because an error made by the financial aid office pushed my maximum allowable debt value over the limit for undergrad and has to be paid down to below the threshold before I can even file a FAFSA.

If Georgia voters want someone who understands real struggle, who has been there, and who will be able to empathize with them about the real issues they are facing then they should support @staceyabrams for Governor.

Freedom from debt is something mainly wealthy are privileged enough to experience. The rest of us just aren't as lucky. @staceyabrams' debt is the kind that most of us understand. It's the kind of debt that comes from trying to improve yourself and your chances.

It's the kind of debt that comes from trying to make ends meet.

If we demand debt free candidates we will be giving total power to the haves and leaving nothing for the have nots.

Donald Trump is the most cotrrupt man imaginable, and carries enormous debt

But somehow that debt, white collar, white man debt, is more acceptable than the debts accrued by the rest of us when trying to make something from you i

@HillaryClinton wanted to find solutions to this problem and had plans that would have helped people like me.
The system has got to change. Stories like mine are less rare than you would imagine.

When @staceyabrams becomes the next Governor of Georgia I hope she will remember this moment and work to force a national conversation about student loan debt.

Hillary tried, but...

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