The question “Are you better off than you were four years ago” has been bandied about with regularity this year with the presidential campaign in full swing. ALL the major news outlets are doing it! And therefore their grave concerns should be all the scarier. ARE you better off than we were four years ago? SEE? They have me doing it.
With GOP nominee Mitt Romney campaigning largely on an economic attack that charges President Obama’s administration for not doing enough to improve the American economy, it is easy to assume that the rhetoric about the country’s direction is a collective one, with all citizens being encapsulated. This country was founded, built and strengthened on the backs of citizens of all nationalities, colors and creeds, and their inclusion in the American Dream includes the highs and lows, past and present. Right?
Well YOU ARE WRONG.
Re-read that question: “Are we better off than we were four years ago?”
Who often asks this? White people.
Which white people? White political pundits.
Which white political pundits? Rich white ones.
Essentially, the question is “Are Rich White Political Pundits Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago.” And the answer is a short “yes” and a long “JOB CREATORS! REAL AMERICANS! WE BUILT THAT! FUCKING OBAMA!”
Think about some of the things that have happened in the last four years (because of or inspired by the presidency, or coincidental):
- The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
- The introduction of a universal healthcare system (often dubbed Obamacare)
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
- Several states making gay marriage legal
- The killing of Osama bin Laden and several high-ranking members of Al Qaeda
- Passing of the Dream Act, keeping illegal immigrants in the US through conditional permanent residency if they were minors when arriving in the country, having lived here for five years and graduating high school
- Increased calls for ending Bush-era tax cuts on those earning $250,000 annually, increasing tax rates on the wealthiest earners and businesses
Here’s how Rich White Political Pundits would react to these developments:
- AHH! GAYS!
- NOT THE GAYS!
- Eh, we’ll give him that one.
- AHH! MEXICANS!
- SOCIALISM! COMMUNISM! SOCIALCOMMUNISM!
But why such outlandish, hypothetical reactions? Probably ratings. If you were to turn on a news program, you wouldn’t be able to go five minutes without seeing a Rich White Political Pundit. And they’re probably going off half-cocked about the economy and political system like their golf tee-time was given away.
There’s also cynicism coloring this sarcastic rant, as the Rich White Political Pundit has financial motivation to appear to be having a verbal stroke. They’re paid to deliver these thoughts, and the most outlandish blurts are more entertaining than calm, rational soliloquies. It’s a part of the message they’re sending to their constituents–and vice-versa. Coming across as a ranting, blustery asshole shows that they’re angry and they’re not going to take it anymore! They want their country back from the collision course it’s embarked on toward the Sun, Black Hole, or the coded racial equivalent of South Central China. Of COURSE that will play to the base.
Oh, and remember racism? Yeah, minorities are taking over this joint. Also, “the gays” and Jesus.
That said, they might actually be pretty damn pissed about the current political climate. Combined with their interests not being met, they might be nucking futs. Thinking that their economic, racial and religious advantages are at risk, the events of the past four years being filtered through their “but WHAT ABOUT ME” cheesecloth brains and exerted through their spittle-spewing mouths sound like more coherent conspiracy theories from homeless vagabonds. (And they’ve concocted many a conspiracy theory in the past few weeks.)
You would be remiss to think of my sarcastic rants as the ramblings of a mad man–not the same as the lavish ’60s-inspired television show. I often traffic in humor (or so I think), but the human condition is a sober subject because it is universal and fraught with trouble. And history shows humanity as one that, while able to overcome their base instincts of greed, lust and violence to do great things, succumbs to selfishness.
So back to that question: “Are Rich White Political Pundits Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago”? Sure, if only because the progress the country has made in that time frame has given them more to complain about. Or to put it in their terms, “SOCIALISM! 47%! THE GOOD OL’ DAYS! GUNS! JESUS! ”
But don’t be fooled; things are better. Just don’t depend on a pundit to tell you.