To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, July 18, 2024


You The People



It’s as much the words as the tone. Now we know what Mitt Romney means by “you people.” “You” are the ones not born with silver spoons in your mouths. If you haven’t made it in the land of limited opportunity then you must be pathetic, slothful and not worth a hoot.

You expect to have health care, food on the table and education in the richest country on earth? Scrounger! How dare you work hard, pay your taxes and play by the rules and expect a reward for your effort?

That’s the message and its tone being delivered daily by the Republican candidate for President, the privately educated school prankster who never had to clean dirt from under his nails.

Romney speaking to “his people” about “you people” in the tone of sneering elitism is one I’ve heard all my life from those who have a sense of gross entitlement obtained from having life handed to them on a silver platter.

His recent speech was not off the cuff. The words are engrained in every fiber of his person, and you can hear them at every society dinner or country club, or parroted by so-called conservatives who just want to believe that his society is the same as theirs.

It isn’t.

He believes sincerely that the rich indeed built America by themselves. I wonder how many in Romney’s class have trade journeyman’s cards.

The idea that LBJ’s Great Society is a plot to take money away from the “builders” is how they think in their Ayn Rand bubble. To think otherwise demeans their own sense of self worth: without them we would be nothing.

Romney’s class certainly doesn’t want anyone looking too closely at the reasons for the Great Depression and the Great Recession and how “they” saved the nation’s collective bacon.

Gosh, wasn’t it Free Market Enterprise left to its own devices without any of those cumbersome regulations that allowed greed to go forth and multiply in the 1920s and the 2000s?

Unregulated capitalism is not the enemy, it is what it is. It is a one-trick pony and the trick is profit. Nothing else matters.

But when capitalism is left to the primitive instincts of humans [greed, hoarding and tribalism] it becomes a self-immolating monster. Smart people know this and put regulations in place to stem the tide of self-destruction.

How many times do we have to tickle this dragon’s tail to understand that history?

Great nations rarely fall from without, it is corruption within that brings them crashing down. When the wealth of a nation is sucked into the gaping maws of excess and self-centered aggrandizement the destructive rot begins. When a handful of plutocrats believe that they not only can buy an election but have the inalienable right to do so, the rot becomes fatal.

Great nations are built by personal sacrifice and effort when all participate and believe that participation enriches theirs as well as their neighbors’ lives, not by the accumulation of power by the few.

Offhandedly dismissing whole swathes of the population [the poor, immigrants, people of color and women], as Republicans have been doing, the very foundations of the country erode. Working people laid the bricks and the pipes for his mansions, not Mitt Romney.

If anyone really wanted to trumpet our success as a nation, he would say this:

 Look at America where no one goes hungry.

 Look at America where everyone’s health care is a priority.

 Look at America where everyone has equal access to education.

 Look at America where equality really matters, and is not based on race, gender or creed.

 Look at America, we built it together.

Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through


Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.