Anyone out there watch last Saturday’s GOP “debate?” You know, the one that was basically a bunch of overgrown children shouting “Nyah, nyah” and “I know you are but what am I?” As a lifelong political junky, I found those two hours to be simultaneously high comedy and darkest tragedy.
There was one line that came out of that whine-fest that has stuck with me all week, making me cringe, shake my head, and burn with fury. Especially because I have not seen this line called out by anyone in the media for the assinine idiocy it was.
It was a moment when Jeb Bush, trying to show his deep concern and empathy for hardworking middle class Americans, uttered heartfelt, sorrow-filled words to this effect:
“There are people out there who can’t make a $500 car payment.”
(FYI, I just about broke my keyboard pounding in the above abbreviation.)
Not too long ago I read about a study that concluded that people who live with privilege tend to be completely oblivious to the struggles of those who do not share that privilege. Jeb Bush’s comment was a perfect illustration of that conclusion.
I am 51 years old. It was only last year that our family finances allowed us to get a loan for a car that came with a $200/month loan payment. And that wasn’t a no-brainer decision. It was an absolute necessity, after having driven ancient vehicles that requred no loan, but constant repair (with free labor and expertise from The Husband) for pretty much my entire adult life. It’s not easy for us to make that $200 payment every month. There are months when we have to check our account balance before any purchase, to avoid an overdraft.
I dream of a day when I can aspire to a $500/month car payment, Asshat.
My intent here is not to specifically pick on Jeb Bush, though as an example of privilege he’s absolutely classic.
My point is that this is the thinking of most people who hold power, and especially conservatives who hold power. Completely clueless. Sometimes that cluelessness is simply being oblivious due to lack of experience and inability to imagine what others might deal with. Very often it comes with contempt for those who can’t “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” and who are “responsible for their own situations.”
I call bullshit on that worldview.
When the socialist revolution begins, I’m in, baby.