Today a horde of journalists descends on Hempstead, NY, to cover the third and final presidential debate. But ANP left the pack to hear from people outside of the media spotlight, people hit hard by our nation’s crises at home and abroad.
No Debate: Hempstead is Struggling
By Steven Greenstreet and Konrad Aderer
VOICEOVER: For the third and final presidential debate, a horde of journalists and pundits will descend on Hempstead, New York, and focus their attention on what happens on this stage at Hofstra University. But just down the road on Main Street, ANP focused on the faces and voices of those who will not share the limelight Wednesday night.
HEMPSTEAD RESIDENT: You know, we have to just survive. We just have to deal with the problem for now, until, God’s will, it will get better. We’ve just got to get some hope, you know?
HEMPSTEAD RESIDENT: Well, there’s a lot of people, you know, they’re just struggling to keep a peace of mind, you know, because they don’t have money to support their families.
HEMPSTEAD RESIDENT: And it’s just like, you know, everybody’s just, like, wow, you know, what’s going on? Like, nobody really knows what’s going on. You know what I’m saying? God forbid if something really does happen and all the banks shut down. They can assure us that our money’s going to be okay in the banks.
VOICEOVER: Further down the road, we found a mechanic who suffered a huge drop in business over the last month. He now barely scrapes by.
MECHANIC: Usually I work real hard all day long; there’s a lot of work to be done. There hasn’t been so much in the last month. It’s been real rough. I’m wondering how long my job is going to last, ’cause I see the boss is having a hard time making his ends meet. Putting away the wrenches. I probably won’t need them anymore today. I’ve got, like, three hours left and no more work. I get paid on a Friday night. By the time I go home, I set aside the money for the bills, I put a little gas in the car, I’m lucky if I’ve got $25, $30 to get through the week. Now, how long can a little guy go on like this? Nice for the government to bail them out, but what about us? Do they really need to be bailed out? They took all of our money. They have it. You know, they have no problem selling you a home, and they probably know that somewhere along the line you’re not going to be able to afford it, but they don’t care. They keep on taking their money, keep on taking their cuts. The only people who are bleeding are us. You know, I’m a middle-aged man. My dream is to own a home, maybe get ahead somewhere, maybe retire. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford a home; there’s never any money left to save; how could I retire?
VOICEOVER: Just a few miles from where the debates will be held, we visited Queen’s Village and the home of Joceline Voltaire. Her family moved to America from Haiti 45 years ago. She worked three jobs to put herself through college, and in 1987 was able to put $55,000 down on a house. For her it was the American dream, raising her three children in her own home.
JOCELINE VOLTAIRE: This is my dream. The house is my dream. I’ve been living here for more than 20 years.
VOICEOVER: Now that dream is about to be shattered. Joceline has fallen victim to a predatory lending scam, the kind of scam that’s been crippling the economy in recent weeks.
VOLTAIRE: Now they tried to take my welfare away. I cannot able to eat; I cannot able to feed my family. My house has been in jeopardy. Now they say to me, “You are selling [inaudible] to put your house on auction.”
VOICEOVER: On October 17, her house will be auctioned off.
VOLTAIRE: About 11 o’clock, they said to me, “Are you Joceline Voltaire?” I said, “Yes.” I said, “What happened?” “Well, we have bad news for you.”
VOICEOVER: Just weeks after she received news of her foreclosure, Joceline was struck by another costly event facing our nation, the war in Iraq. She was informed that her oldest son, a soldier in the Navy, was killed in the line of duty.
VOLTAIRE: This is hurt inside. This is very hurt. Nobody else help me. No place to spit it out what [inaudible] inside. I cannot eat. I cannot sleep. I’m living with the pain every day, every day, because that was my first son, because I thought he was the one who going to bury me. We kill him alive. Now I can cry and cry and cry and scream. Sometime the neighbor say to me, “Don’t scream, don’t cry.” I cannot help it. My son’s birthday was October 7. Mine going to be October 22. We always celebrate together. I don’t have no more card coming; I don’t have no flowers coming; I don’t have no happy Mother’s Day no more. I don’t have no—. My son used to come and bring flowers. Where are they? I lost all.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I know many of you are frustrated with the situation. You make sacrifices every day to meet your mortgage payments and keep up with your bills. When the government asks you to pay for mistakes on Wall Street, it does not seem fair, and I understand that.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The stakes couldn’t be higher. We need to get the American economy back on the path of recovery and growth and job creation.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are all going to need to sacrifice, we’re all going to need to pull our weight, because now more than ever, we are all in this together.
VOLTAIRE: I cannot even express myself to explain to you my feeling. Even I explain to you, you will never know; no one never going to know.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.