Baby, be real
That's all I ask of you
Baby, be real.
An Officer and a Gentleman is a terrific movie about a couple who mistrust each other. Zack Mayo, played by Richard Gere, is an officer candidate at a Navy training facility. To put it mildly, Mayo grew up in a dysfunctional family and wants a better life.
Paula Pokrifki, played by Debra Winger, is an ethnic factory worker in a dead-end job. She too wants a better life. She can leave her blue-collar world behind if she marries a handsome, up-and-coming naval officer.
Zack and Paula fall in love but are wary. Paula wonders if Zack is just looking for a casual relationship to help him get through basic training. Zack wonders whether Paula is trying to trap him into a marriage that will spring her out of the loser's bracket.
Their complicated relationship is encapsulated in the movie's soundtrack, especially the song "Be Real," sung by the Sir Douglas Quintet. "Be real. Baby, be real. That's all I ask of you. Baby, be real."
An Officer and a Gentleman and "Be Real" are metaphors for the American people who just want to know what the fuck is going on with the federal student loan program.
We know that about 45 million Americans have federal student loans. And we know that the total outstanding debt is about $1.7 trillion. We also know that millions of college borrowers are not paying back their student loans.
Will President Biden's debt forgiveness plan do anything to clean up this colossal mess?
Will the plan rein in the spiraling cost of a college education? Will it help make a college degree something that will get student borrowers into real jobs?
Or is Biden's student-debt forgiveness plan just a gimmick rolled out by the cynical hucksters in the Department of Education to help the Democrats win the midterm elections?
Be honest with us, President Biden. Be real. That's all we're asking: baby, be real.