by Mia McKenzie
The interwebs are all abuzz over a secret video that shows Mitt Romney talking smack about 47 percent of the US voting public. In it, Mr. Romney waxes unpoetic to a millionaire supporter about Obama voters. He says:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
When I read this, my first thought was, “What planet does this guy live on?” And then I was like, “Oh, yeah, Rich People Earth.” On Rich People Earth the air is made of champagne bubbles and the roads aren’t roads at all, just poor people lying face-down. It’s uber luxurious/horrifying.
Romney goes on to say:
“[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Daaaaamn. It’s like that?
What is remarkable about these statements is…aw, hell. Y’all already know what’s remarkable about them. The idea that every Obama voter is some kind of government leech is problematic for so many reasons, and is also just blatantly untrue in any and every possible way. First, because many Obama voters aren’t poor and don’t look to their government for help with things like healthcare and food. Second, because people who are poor and do look to their government for help with things like healthcare and food are not in any way out of line for doing so. That’s what government is for. That’s why we pay taxes, so that our government is there to take care of our needs when we have them. (Or, that should be why we pay taxes, anyway. Unfortunately, a ton of our taxes go into dropping bombs in foreign countries.)
Mitt Romney (not surprisingly) has a very strange idea of what “entitlement” is.
But you know what? This is not news.
Did anyone read about this latest nonsense and think, “Oh my God! I can’t believe Mitt Romney doesn’t respect Democrats! Or the working class! Or the poor! Well! He is certainly not the man I thought he was!”
I doubt it.
None of this is an important revelation about Mitt Romney. Honestly, I don’t think it even makes sense to believe that this is what Mitt Romney really thinks about Obama voters. Mitt Romney doesn’t actually think anything. His thoughts/beliefs/opinions change according to who he is talking to in the moment. He’s given contradictory opinions on everything from abortion rights to gun control to health care reform and climate change. Speaking in “secret” to a millionaire Republican, he will say what that guy wants to hear—anything that guy wants to hear. And then turn around ten minutes later and say the opposite to someone else if that’s what it takes to appease them. He has shown this time and time again. (For some great examples, go here: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/mitt-romneys-biggest-flip-flops-20120801)
So, why is the media behaving as though this is a really big deal? Most Romney voters don’t care if Romney appears to have no respect for Obama voters, because most Romney voters don’t have any respect for Obama voters, either. So, why all the fuss?
Because the game of Democrats vs. Republicans is always a good distraction from the actual important things happening in the world. The “who’s worse” game keeps the masses from realizing just how bad both candidates are, just how much evil is being perpetrated behind the scenes, and just how similar both parties really are.
Gore Vidal said:“It makes no difference who you vote for – the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people.”
If the powers that be are going to maintain the illusion that there are two distinct political parties then it’s necessary to latch on to things like this. If we spend our morning reading about how Mitt Romney doesn’t love Obama voters, then we won’t spend that time reading about the incredible amounts of money being made from war all over the world, or the prisoners held for a decade without charge in Guantanamo: just two evils on a really long list of evils brought to you by Democrats and Republicans alike.
This is how the media—which is owned by the rich—keeps us stupid.
So, yes. Mitt Romney is a rich asshole. For sure. But I already knew that. And so did you.
Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She has a novel debuting in the fall and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. Her work has been published at Jezebel.com, and recommended by The Root, Colorlines, Feministing, Angry Asian Man, and Crunk Feminist Collective. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.
Philadelphians! Register for the Black Girl Dangerous Writing Workshop!
LIKE us on Facebook