It is the day after Thanksgiving, and Black Friday sales have lured shoppers into stores. Some people finished dinner yesterday and then went shopping. It is an American tradition – this Black Friday thing, and it is the love of almost everyone – to shop.
After President Obama was re-elected, Bill O’Reilly, apparently disappointed about the outcome of the election, said ” “It’s not a traditional America anymore, and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.”
Is that accurate, about the percentage of Americans wanting “stuff?” Doesn’t everyone want “stuff?” Don’t wealthy people want “stuff,” too, and the more “stuff” they are able to purchase, the more they want to purchase? Isn’t the knowledge that people want “stuff,” stuff they do not need, the driver behind capitalism? Isn’t the desire for stuff the reason wealthy people buy the most expensive clothes, buy as many homes as they want, and engage in collecting art and jewelry. and cars. Stuff. And the more they can get, the more stuff they want to get.
O’Reilly was criticizing the president’s base, that “50 percent” which, he says, is the proof that we don’t have a “traditional” America anymore. These people, he says, feel entitled to “stuff” from the government, things like health care, mortgage assistance, provision to make it easier to go to college. Said O’Reilly: “The voters, many of them, feel this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You’re gonna see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things — and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”
Everybody wants stuff. When it comes to some of the entitlements that are so expensive, the government helping “the least of these” is making fiscal conservatives worried and angry. I understand the worry…but if the government did not help those who are suffering unduly because they are poor, what kind of government would we be? While we are engaging in wars all over the world to help people attain “freedom,” what does our “freedom” here look like? I heard yesterday that there ought to be a distinction made between those who are “rich” and those who are “wealthy.” This economist said that the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us is getting larger and larger, making us look like the oligarchies of Third World countries that we criticize.
I don’t do Black Friday. I like “stuff” too, but I don’t have a need or desire to buy “stuff” just for “stuff’s” sake. We capitalistic system teaches us to want stuff; we are manipulated by skillful marketing to look at “stuff” so that we keep making the rich richer. Our spending is what keeps capitalism rolling along. And that spending and desire for “stuff” is not limited to 50 percent of the populace who voted for President O’Bama.
I hate it when the masses of people are criticized for wanting what the elite want. We all see the same commercials, and yearn for “more and more.” Elite as well as commoners are deeply in debt. The majority of people want to live beyond their needs.
It’s the desire for “stuff” that keeps everyone spending, and keeps the rich, or perhaps the wealthy, as comfortable as they are.
O’Reilly wants America to stop giving what he thinks are hand-outs to people in need. There is nothing wrong with wanting health care, or wanting a college education to be more affordable, with wanting to be able to make it in America. It’s the American way. The people out shopping now are going to be using credit cards, keeping credit card companies in the black. Retailers are salivating, hoping more and more people will come out for “stuff.” The purpose of being in business is to make money, make a profit. Companies don’t care where people spending money got their money. They just want the money. They want us to want …stuff.
Mr. O’Reilly, your comment was one of the most ignorant I have heard in a long time.
A candid observation…