Wonderful fights between narcissism and worthlessness

Mitt Romney’s Smart. He Also Has No Heart

on September 13, 2012

While facts are still being clarified and confusion cleared in the wake of the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, what is clear is that American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed in the attack. Mitt Romney almost immediately responded, condemning Obama for apologizing to America’s enemies, even though Mitt was responding to a statement made by a not-Obama Cairo embassy member before the attack in Libya even occurred (more information here). In further statements this morning, Romney doubled down on the position, smirking in the middle of comments and leaving the podium smiling (photo posted above).

But this is Mitt Romney. Him leaving a podium grinning after discussing the deaths of Americans who are not millionaires is as representative an image as any of his presidential run. You don’t need to do anymore than set up jokes about Mitt Romney gaffes anymore. “Mitt Romney went to 7/11 today” and you’re good. We’ll all laugh. But this has never quite squared for me. Because Mitt Romney seems…. well, dumb. It’s that plain. It boggles the mind to try to comprehend how he couldn’t see how he comes across to anyone without a trust fund, who isn’t white, Mormon, staunchly Republican. So, something finally clicked today about Mitt Romney and why he seems incapable of making it through the day without showing all us plebes where his place is in the world (thereby alienating anyone not living on a diet of Fox News and Eastwood westerns).

His privilege.

SHOCKER, I know. But it’s almost 100% accurate to say that Mitt Romney could not be more privileged in America. And that almost? The one thing holding him back? Mormonism. Mitt Romney is a Christian by definition, and that holds some hefty privilege as a class. But there’s a reason he is played as a Christian and not a Mormon. The LDS is aware of how we perceive some of their more unorthodox practices. They’re aware of why those practices qualify as unorthodox. They know they need to shape their narrative as one of the least priviliged Christian groups. Catholics can (hopefully not for long) come out and advocate abstinence-only education in Africa and that condoms cause AIDs. Mormons have to deflect when it’s brought to light that they’re baptizing the dead of other religions. And that’s a protective tool, a valuable perspective.

Privileged people often make offensive statements because they don’t see these statements as offensive. That may seem rather DUH, but I think it’s important to realize what that means and what it says about privilege. Privilege is a powerful blind spot that can make you ignorant to a lot of lived experiences of others dissimilar from you. But for the privileged? Their lives probably occur to the same narrative as everyone else’s. We all have problems; that’s just life, right? And it likely seems such a fact of life when they say a statement that is inflammatory by ignoring the experiences of the less privileged, or dripping with the advantages that they are afforded. When a politician running for senate gives his views on how the female body can shut out the semen of rapists, he is likely giving a full account of his scientific knowledge that has been safely coddled away from reality by his privileges. When people react negatively, its likely legitimately confusing, because the statement now being analyzed by the world seemed like such a non-statement. That’s how it works for everyone, right?

When Mitt Romney says he loves firing people, well, of course. How would he begin to interface with the day to day struggles of middle to lower class workers? How would he understand what it’s like to lose a job to them? He understands losing employment, but he will never understand having limited savings, or having to job hunt with few credentials that still fit into a modern economy, with no friends waiting with job opportunities. He was most likely literally surprised to learn gay people have families. Like, actually surprised. It’s literally not part of his world.

For the longest time, I believed George W. Bush to literally be unintelligent. Now, in retrospect and with some personal growth, I view him to most likely be a political opportunist who seized on the persona of a “beer buddy.” But Mitt’s different. Mitt is so steeped in privilege I think he can’t help but keep making gaffes. I believe he’s likely trying his best to get elected president. To appeal to as many voters as he can, despite their race, their gender, or their political views. He’s likely trying his best to make himself the best candidate Romney he can (which I cannot underline enough is still vastly shitty because it’s playing the game of politics).

But. He so truly believes in these privileged narratives that it may be impossible for him to relate to most of the country. He will garner a number of Republican votes from people who hate him but hate Obama more. At the same time, he’ll lose a number of moderate and independent votes form people disillusioned or against Obama, but who can’t help but see that he only serves his upper upper class social strata, because he doesn’t understand well enough to interface with them and make it appear as though he cares about sub-millionaires. I continue to be baffled by how much support polls show for him, but today, I understand a great deal more about Mitt Romney himself, and why I feel such revulsion as he plays politics with the deaths of human beings that belong to the country he hopes to run. He is smart enough to know how to spin this into an attack against Obama but not empathetic enough to realize human beings who care for the lives of people who they don’t personally know will be turned off by rhetoric in the wake of a tragedy. In the land of Oz, Romney’s got the brain. He just doesn’t have the heart.

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One response to “Mitt Romney’s Smart. He Also Has No Heart

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