So by now, everyone has seen the hidden camera “gotcha media” tape of Mitt Romney. For the last 48 hours, I’ve heard and seen people divide 47 in just about every way imaginable (imagination being the only place you can actually divide 47 - math jokes!).
Oh, to be one of the lucky people from the bless-ed 47% cruising blissfully along on the government’s dime! The luxury of making forty, or thirty, or twenty thousand dollars a year for a family of five! Or a family on welfare, who must be feeding the family pets truffles and the finest cuts of fillet mignon with their food stamps. If only we could all be as lucky as those ‘irresponsible’ soldiers in combat zones, trying to protect themselves from shrapnel over there, stop-loss over here. Or college students, facing crippling debt from education costs that are rising like campaign ad sales… What a charmed, charmed life.
But to be honest, I’m not even that interested in his factually ambivalent 47% claim. That was the kind of white lie you tell your friends when you’re in a room, and you don’t think anybody else is going to hear it. Locker room talk, like “Yeah, I slept with her…” and “No, I wasn’t humming ‘Creed.’” Because I think we can all agree that campaign dinners are basically the locker rooms for rich people. You get some inside dirt, you’re hanging with people from your team, and you feel cool because you’re around the real players.
He thought he was amongst friends, and he cropped the truth a little. No big deal. Who hasn’t? It was either Freudian, prophetic, or pandering - or hell, all three. And sometimes, when you’re in a room of people that all think a certain way… you try to fit in. You play to them a little bit. I get it. And, despite my residence in that 47% for a few years… I can afford him that.
However, the portion of that tape that I actually find more offensive - the utterance and up-Yukking that I can absolutely not forgive is the idea that he’d be having an easier time - if only his father was born to Mexican parents.
Because nobody has it easier than immigrants in this country, right? Especially those from Mexico! Man, how much easier would everything be for Mitt Romney if - instead of a rich white guy - his father had been raised by people that very likely hadn’t spoken English! You know what just sweeps you to the front of the class in America? Language barriers. Man, it sure would be easier to carry those southern red states with a last name like Garcia, or Chavez. Ahh, the many advantages of being born the son of immigrant parents. The Latino community has it so easy!
“But it sure would be helpful to be Latino” says Mitt Romney, and no other white person, ever. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t make sense. If Mitt was an immigrant - as his hypothetical suggests - you know what he would be? Very possibly living under the poverty line, because according to a 2011 Pew poll, that’s where nearly a third of immigrants in this country reside. Which would mean… there’s a 33% chance he’d be in need some government assistance.
And, even if he somehow overcame the Ninja Warrior-like obstacle course of pratfalls and baseline disadvantages, and somehow rose to the position he’s in now. His party would be trying to keep his Mexican-born father from voting for him, with voter ID laws. Oh, to live the dream!
There is nothing easier in this country, than being a white male. Period. And in statements like his, there is a tone-deafness that is unmistakable, and to me - unforgivable. Seriously, who’s running your campaign messaging, Jimmy the Greek?
The real problem here is: there are people who gobble this stuff up. There are conservative voices - powerful, influential conservative forces - that are seeing this as a potential “Come to Jesus” moment for Romney. People think he should embrace these ideas of government dependency and 47%-disownership, dig in his Welfare Queen heels, and use them to drive out his base.
A very different Viva La Raza.