Saturday, October 13, 2012

Advising Mitt

I sort of feel sorry for Mitt Romney. He did what most of us have done, or I have anyway, and wished almost immediately we hadn't. Opened our mouths and watched as the unspeakable came out seemingly of its own accord. Maybe we were angry or afraid or eager to be viewed as acceptable and be embraced by others. At the time, it might have seemed innocent enough -- we thought we were in a protected environment -- and of course, we weren't, as demonstrated by the fallout we're unable to duck no matter how deep we dive into the shelter. Now, we're left, picking up the scattered remnants of our self-esteem, detritus from stepping on one of our own land mines.

Have you ever noticed how easily, on such occasions, a person  says, "But that wasn't me"? Well, if it wasn't, then who was it? It sure looked like me, it sounded like me, people say it was me. I haven't been cloned lately, so far as I know. It sure wasn't Robin Williams doing his best Beggar imitation. I "inhaled" in high school but my sensibilities have long since moved in other directions. I can't blame alcohol -- with my limited tolerance, slurred words are far more likely than misspoken ones. True, at least this way I'll never have to explain how "what made Milwaukee famous, made a loser out of me." (Thanks, Jerry Lee Lewis -- wish I'd written that line.)

So, basically, it was me, or you, or in this case, Mitt. Now, in retrospect, I'm sure he wishes he'd never said anything about the 47%, but it was caught on tape and splattered onto the news, so there's no denying it. The problem is, he's attempting to do what anyone would under similar circumstances, i.e. try to dissociate himself from the image he just created. That's normal -- we don't want people to think of us in terms of what we say or do when we wish we'd said or done something else -- and would if, please God, just this once, is it okay if we turn back the clock?

On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if a better strategy might be to simply own up and admit the truth. Instead of trying to convince us that he really is empathetic, state for the record, "Yes, I'm an elitist. I have a strong preference for associating with wealth, I don't relate well to the working class, I disapprove of welfare and those who depend on it, I'm opposed to government restrictions on business and given the opportunity, I'll lower taxes on people like me and if you want to see my tax returns, watch how fast hell freezes over."

You don't think that's going to get him elected. Well, you're probably right, I suppose it is asking a bit much. But trying to pretend he's someone he's not is even worse. The unconscious has a nasty way of making itself known and frequently does when least expected or welcomed. We all have an inner trickster who absolutely delights in making us appear foolish and the harder we try to keep her/him locked in the closet, the more determined s/he becomes to make us regret it. So, Mitt, if you still aspire to the presidency and you don't mind my unsolicited advice, admit you need to change. Trust me, it won't hurt. Okay, it will, but only your pride and most of us can use a little bit of that now and then.  

(Creative commons image, "Trickster Tales Sketch" by Amanda Schutz via Flickr)

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