Recently Mr. Romney, again, insulted school bus drivers. In his mind, the world is full of bus drivers and honor roll students and the two are independent of each other, which is why he can characterize President Obama’s desire to help those less fortunate as creating a “culture of dependence.” What rubs so many people the wrong way is Romney’s inability to see that society is interdependent.
I come from a low-income neighborhood on the edge of the Saint Louis’ Central West End neighborhood. Everyday I rode a bus to school with a lot of kids who, because of their families and environments, sadly, didn’t care much about their education. A few of us on that bus did and when we received stellar report cards the bus driver, Mr. Moore, would give us 5 bucks.
Mr. Moore was an older man who told us how proud he was of us, “smart, young, driven black men”, doing well despite society’s odds.
Now I was lucky because my home life was more stable and supportive. A friend of mine, however, wasn’t as lucky; thus the encouragement he received from Mr. Moore was vital to his academic success as he plainly told me. Yet in Mr. Romney’s world that bus driver doesn’t deserve ANY recognition because the bus driver isn’t even a part of Romney’s world, which is evidence of the widespread disdain that Romney and many conservatives have for working class people. Mr. Moore and others like him are just cogs in the capitalist machine from Romney’s perspective. Cogs to be discarded and ignored, like cheap whores, after rendering services. But what Mr. Romney and his cohorts fail to understand, is that a bus driver-like Mr. Moore, can make a world of difference in someone’s life. A word of encouragement, a pat on the back or a stern talk can go a long way when there’s no one in your life otherwise.
The sheltered Romney has never had to struggle for anything. Everything’s been given to him sometimes at the expense of working people. He doesn’t know what it’s like to struggle to pay the mortgage, or what to do when the food stamps run out, or how you’re going to meet next semester’s tuition bill. The man leads an incredibly charmed life; but most of us, however, haven’t had that sort of privilege and never will. He doesn’t comprehend this and,worse, he doesn’t seem to want to.
Everyday across this country the middle class and working poor people-those Romney routinely ridicules-are getting up and going to work, or looking for work and giving life all they’ve got. People don’t have fanciful dreams about getting wealthy like Mitt Romney. But nor do we envy him as he so arrogantly assumes. All we want is the chance to keep what we have and to maybe earn a little more while being shepherds of compassion and brother/sisterhood. For that they deserve our graceful support. Because life isn’t some Ayn Rand novel. Life is real, it’s hard and it often hurts. And when it does hurt we should be there for each other, encouraging one another, sacrificing for the greater good and supporting our brothers and sisters like the interdependent system humanity is and always will be.