Boy, I would not want to be in Romney’s shoes right now. It seems every time he opens his mouth, what comes out is better campaign material for Obama than anything his own people could ever come up with (no offense to the fine people working for Obama 2012, but seriously – you can’t make this stuff up). The Obama campaign should consider hiring Romney, since he seems to be doing a mighty fine job with making sure the sitting president will hold the White House for one more term. Here’s to hoping.
In all seriousness though, Romney’s latest.. indiscretion, should we say – is yet another testament to the very sad and troubling state of affairs in the United States when it comes to people living in poverty, which, according to recent statistics, is around 15% of the country’s population, totaling over 46 million people. 46 million children, women, men, mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, grandmothers, grandfathers, living with less than what has been deemed the absolute necessary minimum for a decent – note, not good – standard of living. According to this recently released US Census Bureau Report, while unemployment has slightly declined, the income gap between rich and poor in America is still increasing. The GINI index measures income inequality in countries, with the value of zero meaning total equality, and 1 meaning total inequality. According to the Census Bureau, the GINI of the US has increased to 0.477 in 2011 – and, as this article and visual map nicely demonstrate, this is similar to the GINI indexes of countries such as Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda and Sri Lanka. In the United States, those who have been doing well for quite some time are doing even better, and those who have been less fortunate are worse off than ever before. It pays to be rich in the US, in more ways than one.
Mitt Romney has previously said that the GOP is not a “party of the rich”, but a party “for those who want to become rich”. What Romney, and many Republicans, just cannot seem to understand is that 1) not everyone can be rich, and 2) not everyone necessarily wants to be rich. Making as many people as possible “rich” should not be, and cannot be, the end goal of any political party, politician, and certainly not the goal of the President of the United States. Why? Because it is just simply not possible, sustainable, realistic, or.. sane. Also, unlike Mitt seems to believe, human well-being, happiness, healthiness and general human satisfaction cannot be measured solely on the basis of income. Being rich does not equal being happy or doing well – and, as Romney so vividly demonstrates, being rich most certainly does not equal being smart. Just like being poor, or needing some help, does not equal being lazy or stupid.
“The Poor” are not lazy. “The Poor” do not evade taxes, or rely on government charities to be able to live a wonderful life of leisure. “The Poor” are not stupid, useless, uneducated, nor are they victims or people who believe they are entitled to all these luxurious things (such as food and basic health care to.. well, stay alive) that should be provided to them for free by the government. “The Poor” are all of us. Today’s poor people are educated people, workers, academics, teachers and laborers, business people, lawyers, geeks, in addition to the people who have been poor for generations, because breaking that inter-generational cycle of deprivation is almost impossible in a country like the United States, where the starting point for those who have a lot and those who have nothing is anything but equal. Anyone of us could be poor in today’s America. Anyone of us could suddenly not be able to afford health care, decent education for our children, rent, proper food. If I lost my job in America today, and needed help to get by until I could pull myself up again, would that suddenly make me a victim, a helpless person dependent on the government? Would that make me lazy, incapable, stupid? I would be just as highly educated as I am today, I would be just as resourceful, as smart, as capable, as independent – but just unemployed. This could happen to me, or to you, or to your mother or father, sister or brother. “The Poor” are us – there’s no one who is too big, or too rich, to fall, and to need help to get back up again.
I have a message for Mr. Mitt Romney. You are right, health care, decent work, education, the ability to purchase food for your family, having some social security around you, having access to decent, affordable housing – these are not entitlements. These are Rights. Very basic, minimal Rights that All human beings, independent of their race, their gender, their age, or their socio-economic class, should be able to access. These are rights that guarantee all human beings the ability to live a somewhat decent life, without having to go hungry, die of treatable diseases, or face a life without a home or a shelter. These are rights that protect children’s education, that enable parents to send their kids to school so that they can, you know, learn stuff, eventually find a job and provide for their families and themselves. These are rights that give people a goddamn fighting chance in this dog-eat-dog world where those who stand tall are lifted even higher by discriminatory policies and laws, and those who fall are kicked even deeper into the ground. You know, Mr. Romney, what we call those countries that allow people to die of preventable diseases, that do not provide housing for their people, that don’t make education accessible and affordable to all, that allow people to go hungry? We call them developing countries, and last I checked, the United States of America, the Land of the Free, was not on that list of countries. I personally would rather not see it go there either.
Mr. Romney – if, god forbid, you were to become the President of the United States, taking care of “those people” would absolutely be your job. The job of the president is to take care of ALL people – not just those who can pad your campaign funds with six figure donations. That is what presidents do – they run a country of equal citizens, of human beings who have rights and who stand on equal ground in terms of basic, necessary services, such as health care, education, shelter. You do not pick and choose who you care for, Mr. Romney – as a human being, you should care for everybody. Obviously, this is not something you would plan to do, should you win the election – and for all of Americans, I deeply, deeply hope you don’t. Because as a woman, as a student, as a Master’s graduate, as a worker, as an immigrant wife of an American, I believe in the inherent value of all human beings – and I would expect my president to believe in it as well.
Money can buy a lot of thins, but You, Mr. Romney, are a great example of some things money cannot buy – such respect towards other people, compassion, and a heart.
You could buy a muzzle though.