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A really, really long blog post

Al Franken

With just 7 days left in the campaign, I thought that, just for today, I’d ditch all the obnoxious tricks and just tell you why this is all so important to me — and why I hope it’s important to you. I promise, we’ll get back to your regularly scheduled programming.

(If you don’t feel like reading a long blog post today, you can, of course, just click below and donate $5 and then maybe forward this to someone else.)

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Last year, Franni and I became grandparents for the first time. Little Joe — named after my dad — is seventeen months old. He’s adorable. And lucky. He’s got two parents who love him so much, and who have been pretty lucky themselves — they have good jobs, and they don’t go to bed at night worrying about what kind of future they’ll be able to provide.

So, when I go over to my daughter’s house to put my grandson to bed, and I watch him sleeping in his crib, all I think about are the possibilities for his future.

But that’s how it’s supposed to be for every kid.

When my brother and I were growing up in St. Louis Park, it didn’t matter that neither one of our parents ever went to college. It didn’t matter that our dad’s quilting factory had failed. It didn’t matter that we weren’t rich.

I was growing up middle-class in America, at the height of the middle class in America — in Minnesota. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world — because I was!

My wife, Franni, wasn’t so lucky. When she was 17 months old, her dad — a World War II veteran — died in a car accident, leaving my future mother-in-law widowed at age 29 with five kids.

That family made it because of Social Security survivors’ benefits. But they didn’t just make it. They thrived.

Franni and each of her three sisters all went to college, thanks to Pell Grants and other scholarships. My brother-in-law, Neil, went into the Coast Guard, where he became an electrical engineer. My mother-in-law got a $300 GI loan to fix her roof and used the money instead to go to the University of Maine — and then she became a grade school teacher and taught poor kids, so all her loans were forgiven.

She and all five of those kids became productive members of society. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps — but first, they had to have the boots. And the government gave Franni’s family the boots.

That’s what this is about. That’s what all this — every rally, every phone bank, and, yes, every email — is really about. Bringing back that sense of security for the middle class. And making it easier for families like Franni’s to work their way up into it.

Think about all the work I’ve been able to do thanks to your support (by which I mean support): taking on the Wall Street credit rating scam to help prevent another economic crash. . . working to increase Pell Grants so more kids can afford college. . . helping to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill so our rural communities can have some peace of mind.

Think about all the issues that we’ve talked about in this campaign, all the issues that differentiate me from my Republican opponent: making it possible for people to refinance their student loans so they can get out from under a mountain of debt. . . making sure women can get equal pay for equal work. . . protecting Social Security from being sold out to Wall Street.

And think about what drives you — what made you sign up to get all these ridiculous emails in the first place. I’m willing to bet it comes down to the same basic idea: We ought to be a country where anybody can work their way into the middle class and enjoy some real economic security, the kind where, when you put your grandkid to bed at night, all you can think about are the possibilities.

So, with that: Will you click here and contribute to my campaign so we can win this thing?