Much ado has been made of Mitt Romney’s remarks concerning the President’s “gifts” to the poor, minorities, old and young being the reason he was re-elected. So many of my friends on the left hold those statements as symptomatic of the GOP in general and Romney in particular being tone-deaf to the changing demographics and values of our country. In way my friends are right, though I think they miss a larger point.
Romney and his friends in the top 1/10 % are tone-deaf. They are not, however, alone in their contempt for the young, the old, minorities, poor and women. So many people blame all of those groups for our (relatively minor) woes in this country. Too many believe women should not have control of their bodies. Too many believe that youth are all lazy and entitled. Too many believe the same of minorities. Too many speak of how they care for our elderly, but then treat them like a burden.
We are an angry country. The really sick, sad part, though, is the fact that most of that anger comes from the people who have the least to be angry about. It comes from those to whom life has been the most kind. It comes from those that really are entitled. It comes from people who think they should pay almost no taxes, despite the fact that they most enjoy the benefits of living in this country. It comes from people who do not automatically have the label “criminal” pasted on them simply for being. It comes from people who have never been blamed for their own rape. It comes from people who do not want to take the energy to really appreciate those different from them.
That last part, I think, is the most important. So much of this anger seems to stem not so much from fear of those different from them as much as outright offense that anyone, anywhere, might have different wants, needs and loves than them. They are outraged, men and women both, at the idea that any woman might not want to have as many children as they do. They are puzzled by, and derisive toward, people whose ideas of a career are not shaped simply by the material gains that career provides. Finally, yes, thought they do not want to admit it, they are completely flustered by someone whose culture or race is different from theirs.
This disdain for the other lessens them and they cannot see it. No one expects them to give up their loves. By all means, go to your church, have a bunch of kids, hang out with people just like you. It is your life, but as you do so remember that the rest of us are not necessarily like you and our wants, needs and loves are no less important than yours. If you can do that, maybe we can make a community of this country yet.