It’s been clear for months that Mitt Romney has trouble relating to the general public (y’know, everyone who isn’t a wealthy, Christian, white male.) Throughout his campaign, there has been much speculation as to whether or not this man has the capacity to truly empathize with another human being (or if he might not be some kind of robot instead.)
Empathy is not just “compassion”; without empathy, one cannot feel compassion. Empathy it is the basic ability to recognize and relate to the feelings being experienced by another person. The inability to empathize with another person is not exactly uncommon; I’ve met several people in the last year who lacked this basic skill. What is uncommon is having a person with this inability so close to President of the United States.
Whether Romney is mistaking faceless corporations for people, disenfranchising elderly (gay) veterans, deriding a lesbian mother and her child, bonding with NASCAR dads, telling a local bakery owner her cookies are from the 7-11, or just telling everyone how much he loves firing people - it’s clear that the world Mitt Romney lives in is not the same world most Americans live in. Mitt Romney lives in a world void of genuine human understanding.
By now we’ve all seen the video released on Monday by Mother Jones in which, among many things, Romney expresses his complete contempt for 47 percent of American voters:
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.
He continued, “[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
We know that Romney’s assessment of 47 percent of Americans freeloading is false. That while nearly half of Americans don’t actually pay federal income taxes, they do pay other taxes in the form of the payroll tax, sales tax, state and local taxes, as well as various other government fees. As Ezra Klein explains it, “…once you’ve added together the standard features of the tax code and the tax expenditures for the elderly, poor and young, you’ve explained almost everyone who doesn’t pay taxes.”
What should concern you most about this video that has surfaced is not what Romney said about half of all Americans, it’s why he said it. When you carry out the Republican nominee’s statements to their only logical conclusion you realize that Mitt Romney thinks poverty and struggling to make ends meet is a moral failing.
Of course, when you start equating poverty with moral failing, by necessity wealth is the reward of virtue.
We all know, deep down, that Kim Kardashian is not wealthy because of some moral virtue, but this is the world Mitt Romney lives in; this is the moral filter he uses when deciding who deserves help and who doesn’t.
Is this really the man we want in office come November?