I have held off saying anything for as long as I could. I have been …meditating …on how to talk about …Newt.
You know, as in Gingrich. The now-leading GOP presidential candidate hopeful.
I nearly ran off the road when I heard his comments on the radio – something to the effect that poor kids have no work ethic because they don’t see anyone who works, and that they should become janitors in their schools, or maybe junior janitors.
My first thought was, “How arrogant! Has he been in a poor neighborhood, where parents often work 2-3 jobs, usually minimum wage with no benefits – and still can’t make ends meet? Has he been in poor neighborhoods dominated by slum landlords who charge exorbitant rent for habitats that are one step removed from shanties? Has he been in neighborhoods where there is no local supermarket and where many people cannot afford cars, so children are forced to eat horrible food gotten from the local corner store …which also charges too much?
I would bet not.
But then, I thought along a different line. If the children in poor neighborhoods became the janitors, where would the current janitors work – people who are trying to make a living and provide for their families?
Did he think of that? Would he even think to think of that?
The fact is, Gingrich, like so many white and privileged people, relies on stereotypes and generalizations. He, and others like him, speak on what they assume to be true. The “poor people” of whom he speaks (he and people like Limbaugh, Hannity, Bachmann, Coulter and others) are not even worthy of a personal investigation of why they are where they are, and how difficult it has been to get out and move up in a society which spurns them.
The fact is, many kids seldom see their parents because those parents do have a work ethic and they work their fingers to the bones, at the expense of their families. How many poor kids have come up saying that their parents worked two and three jobs, that their mothers were so tired after working that they would sit at the kitchen table and fall asleep? No, everyone doesn’t have the same work ethic, but some of them do not because they have given up. They have tried and tried to get good employment, to no avail and have stopped trying.
All kinds of people these days, who would not call themselves “poor,” or wouldn’t have called themselves “poor” before now, know what it feels like to try to work and get rejected, over and over. After a while, people stop trying.
Gingrich might be an intellectual, but he’s an insensitive and calloused and prejudiced intellectual who has no business wanting to be president of a country where there are more and more people who do not have work. A president is supposed to care for everyone, including “the least of these.” Donald Trump defended Gingrich’s statements, and said Barack Obama had not done anything for “people in the ghetto.”
Oh, how the cries of “socialist” would have been even louder had the president put his focus there!
Michelle Bachmann says that “the American people” are gravitating to the views of Hannity, Limbaugh, and people who, I suppose, think like Gingrich. Clearly, “the American people” of whom she speaks are white, privileged Americans who think the poor – primarily black and brown people – are not worthy of time or respect.
Gingrich was out of line. His arrogance is repugnant …and surely, “the American people” would not want such a divisive character to lead this country, the so-called, “land of the free and home of the brave,” poor people included.
A candid observation …
Gingrich a Grinch © 2011 Candid Observations