During the primaries, I thought Mitt Romney the obvious choice for GOP candidate. He seemed to have a history as a fairly moderate conservative. As the economy was my primary concern, I figured, “Hey, even if this isn’t the person I want, if he should win at least we will have someone capable in office.”
Over the past few weeks, my feelings have changed decidedly, though not completely due to the candidate. Rather, I am now hoping for an all-out Obama victory because of the actions of the GOP as a whole. America remains (for now) one of the most prosperous countries in the world, because it was largely built for free. There is all this talk from the GOP about loving our country, remembering the values it was founded upon, and, of course, “the shining city on a hill.” But there is another, scarier trend in America’s history, one that makes me stand firmly against a Republican victory this fall — and that is the sense of American entitlement.
We would believe the U.S. to be a meritocracy but there seems to be an increasingly implicit caste system in America. While social mobility still remains the foundation of the American dream, a look back at the history of this nation —without the hue of rose-colored glasses — reveals that more often than not, when those in power feel an equal playing field yields unfavorable results, they lash out. Discover a new continent full of natural resources and land is occupied? Kill the inhabitants and claim it for yourself. Want to develop that newfound land without, you know, paying laborers? Enslave a race of people. Those people want freedom? Fight a war. Lose that war? Don’t give them rights. Now they want to vote? Invent laws that make voting difficult. And so on…
Long story short: when those in power feel like they are going to lose, they change the rules.
It is by no means the noble course of action, but it is an understandable one. If the status quo for centuries has been one of socioeconomic advantage, then the thought of change, even if that change is justified, would be met with hostility. Privilege breeds entitlement, and more dangerously, a lack of understanding for those who aren’t privileged.
One of the most frightening aspects of Mitt Romney’s persona during this election has been his claim of being self-made (or more so, that fact that he actually believes he is). The implication of his claims is that he truly has no clue what that term self-made actually means. Consequently, he has no understanding of people who aren’t like him.
I don’t blame the man for thinking 47% of Americans have a victim mentality (though I certainly disagree with him), because the circumstances of his upbringing didn’t allow any meaningful interaction with people of different ideologies or backgrounds. Maybe no advantages were physically handed to him, but he had immeasurable advantages due to his wealthy family. I do not begrudge his success due to these advantages, but to pretend that they didn't exist of the sake of some (false) narrative that makes him more appealing as a leader is not only ridiculous but reprehensible, particularly for a potential leader of this country.