Somebody’s Gonna Get Your Stuff

This is basically it. This is their ideology. This is their appeal to the voters. This is their entire party summed up:

‘Wait a minute, aren’t you going to take my money, take my earnings and give it to somebody else who maybe hadn’t worked as hard as I have worked?”

Oliver sees this as evidence that Madam Sarah cannot talk, which is very true, but this is exactly, and I mean to the comma, what I hear when I talk to Republican and less progressive Democratic aquaintances. The fear that someone somewhere is getting away with something. Someone poor, probably, or black or Mexican and therefore de facto lazy and undeserving, depending on the party that I’m at, but mostly someone who just hasn’t worked as hard as the speaker has convinced himself he worked.

It’s not even a sign of selfishness so much as obliviousness. I do this all the time, convince myself I’m the only one busting my ass and everyone around me is a lazy shithead, and mercifully friends and a husband immune to my bullshit are there to say, “Oh, comeon, ho, like you know what everybody else is up to all the time.” We don’t know why our country seems to be full of fail these days, we feel vaguely responsible, we look to our leaders for answers, and they say it’s someone out there who we’ve never met sitting around huffing meth and having welfare babies and using our tax dollars to paper the walls in the solid-gold bathroom or something. And because some of us are lazy and stupid, and some others are just busy and susceptible to bullshit, we say, “Oh, that’s why” and come up with exactly what Sarah Palin came up with, up there.


18 thoughts on “Somebody’s Gonna Get Your Stuff

  1. My father in law, a very nice man, gets all his news from Fox, which from what I can tell is now a 24-hour-per-day McCain ad. He is terrified of the coming socialist state should Obama win. Apparently, socialism is described as any entitlement program that he doesn’t qualify for. The difference, he believes, is that he worked hard and put into these programs all these years. I think anything he put into medicare, plus any interest that amount would have generated, has probably already been swallowed up and then some by the several expensive procedures he has had over the years. He currently pays for his medications out of his own pocket because he’s in that wonderful prescription drug benefit donut that came about under the Republicans. He’s lost much of his retirement money because, like a good Republican, he invested way more than his middle class income should have warranted in the stock market, in the belief that he would be able to retire in comfort on the buckets of money he would make. But it’s not the Republicans’ fault, of course. It’s the thought that with a Dem in the office he might not even get what he’s getting now – he would have to SHARE. With people who don’t DESERVE it. I love this man and right now can’t spend a minute with him.

  2. This reminds me a bit of the first-vs.-second-generation-immigrants argument: I got here, worked like hell, carved out a piece for myself and now there are these dirty (fill in whatever group came directly after you who has not fully assimilated to your arbitrary standard) are going to come in and get for free what I worked for.
    I often find that arguments like this come from the delusion that some day, the person making the argument will be among the rich and thus doesn’t see why others can’t get there as well. We like to do upward social comparison, so to that end, we’d much rather say that we’ll take a screwing when the stock market crashes due to greed and malfeasance than to take a screwing from having to pony up to help the poor. Maybe the market will rebound when we’re getting in, some folks think. However, it’s hard to think, maybe the poor guy will get a good job and do something positive with the help we’ve all provided. In fact, that’s even scarier: that poor bastard my take my job at some point.
    Still, I’ve got to side a bit with Oliver on this one. I find it remarkably disturbing that the person who might be (as one of our friends said earlier this week) a glue-locked defibrillator case away from the presidency saying they were too weak to stand up to a speech writer who made her pine for Joe the Plumber. Try to imagine what happens with her running around the G-8 summit…

  3. Here’s the thing about the hard workers. What about all the people who have worked hard to STEAL YOUR MONEY?
    Those people doing the security vehicles worked really hard! They have screwed people more than any welfare gettting meth huffing kid.
    And what about the people who have been shipping pallets of chase to Iraq with no controls. Are they stealing your money too? Is it because it is for a good cause.
    You know this stuff about hard workers? I worked hard for decades. It f*cked me up. Because I believed the “work harder or we will send your job to India”. I worked hard and my jobs STILL went away!
    Other people, rich people, who I had no control over destroyed my industry. The dot com boom and the shipping of jobs overseas.
    So why can’t I get pissed off at them? Because there isn’t a group of people who are on TV 24/7 saying. “Hey these rich people are hurting you. Don’t let them.”
    Instead they say, “Those poor people are hurting you!”
    And people fall for it because they see the poor people and don’t see the rich people doing the damage.
    Violent crime vs. White Collar crime.
    Crime is crime, but only one gets you prison time.

  4. Somewhat related–it seems as if a lot of people think of United States currency as “their money,” without realizing how little control they really have over it. Spending it on petty commodities is, in aggregate, a significant part of the economy (i.e., consumer spending), but individual purchases are the epitome of chump change. Real property or stock is measured in dollars for purposes of standards and/or convenience–in other words, Bill Gates’s net worth wouldn’t be nearly as much if he tried to liquidate his Microsoft shares (IIRC, Warren Buffet held quite a bit of cash for several recent quarters, but even he’s advocating stock purchases…and besides, Berkshire Hathaway is in no small part an insurance business, which has its own imperatives.)
    But I digress–my point simply being that a lot of people really haven’t given much thought to what money is beyond “it’s what you use to pay for stuff at Wal-Sam’s-Big-Box-Discount-Food-‘n-Furniture-Outlet-Mart.” Little thought is given to why a US dollar actually HAS a certain accepted global value, as opposed to, for example, Brazilian or Argentinian currency.
    Basic financial/economic information like this, if you ask me, should be taught in schools…though I won’t hold my breath. But…if it was, then maybe folks would begin to understand why a higher marginal tax rate for higher incomes isn’t a case of robbing the rich, given that the rich owe the value of at least their currency to the government that printed it up (and takes steps, sometimes prudent, sometimes ruthless, to maintain the currency’s value…or, at least they did till Dick ‘n Dubya took over.)

  5. And Shrub worked hard for his money compared to someone waiting tables for less than minimum wage.
    And could I stretch spocko to say that robbing banks is hard work and has very large risks?

  6. I was wondering when someone was going to write about this again. It is the basis for the entire Republican party and some Democrats. We can’t help anyone because someone somewhere might get something they didn’t deserve. But when a CEO gets a multi million dollar golden parachute for pushing a company into bakruptcy there is never a whimper about how they might have gotten somehting they didn’t deserve.
    One of my best friends is into this all the way. He will never vote for a democrat because of it. If someone didn’t have all the advantages he had then they can damn well go screw themselves.

  7. These people don’t seem to be aware that they too are reaping the benefits of other taxpayers’ contributions. We all do. It’s not like you pay 2 grand of taxes and then you can only access 2 grand of the supported infrastructure and programs. “Sorry, you can’t use the library anymore or go to Yellowstone on vacation or visit the Smithsonian, or more importantly, get your social security. Or, for that matter, vote. Sorry, no more of any of that for you this year, you’ve already used up that 2 grand you put in.”
    I definitely understand the mindset- my older sibling fits it to the T. As I’ve written before, she’s openly resentful of the benefits I get as a state employee. It’s as if she wrote a personal check for my insurance coverage or something. And I’m her family – you can imagine how she feels about those brown people!
    I just finished Sarah Vowell’s “The Wordy Shipmates”– the Puritans (for all their many faults) believed in the members of the community as parts of a body. The same theme ran through Deadwood. We’ve forgotten that this is the way it works. You don’t get to live in America and be your own little island. Like it or not, you are connected to every other American, and we have a shared responsibility.
    To those who are given much, much is expected.

  8. Every time I hear McCain warn about Obama “spreading the wealth around”, or Repugnant talking heads snickering because Biden said it was patriotic to pay taxes, or Palin above, I want to take out a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read them the final sentence:
    “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, ***OUR FORTUNES*** and our sacred Honor.”
    Or isn’t the Declaration of Independence good enough for these “patriots”?

  9. “All for me and none for you.”
    Who needs these f-s?
    I look forward to the 60 Minutes piece in about 5 years, “Whatever Happened to Grover Norquist?” The highlight (for me) will be his stint as assistant manager of a DQ in Texas, where he was working to organize “Con-Con 2014.”

  10. Matt Yglesias linked to a study awhile back that said both white and black Americans estimate the number of black Americans to be 30%, which is off by about 250% on the high side. Add in another 13-15% brown people and it’s still not some scary horde. It’s a melting pot, it’s a quilt, it’s a tapestry, whatever. It’s not the end of the freaking world.
    I’d like to see politicians that think tolerance is worth the effort take some time pointing out the facts — that living in a homogenous area is unique in America circa 2008, not the other way around. That being a good neighbor doesn’t carry a rider on it that says “only if my neighbor looks like me”.
    My nephew from rural Maine, a kid who is about the most decent, caring, aware wonderful person I know, once asked me what was wrong with people in the city (I lived in NYC at the time) that they left so much trash in the streets and the buildings were so run down. I explained some of the side effects of having so many people living close together, good and bad, and he figured out real quick that some of the “city problems” had zero moral component and were purely logistics. This good kid literally had never thought about the effects that population density would have on living.
    If leaders talked about city and rural and suburban living as it is without mythologizing ‘Main Street’ which scarely exists any more we’d all be better off.
    More Americans play World of Warcraft than farm. Let’s talk about the way things are, not the way people imagined them to be in 1950.

  11. The thing that saddens me the most is that many of these people consider themselves to be good Christians in all respects. Some of them even claim that the United States is founded on Christianity, and that we need to have the Ten Commandments in all public buildings and creches in every public square at Christmas time.
    But the thing that real religion — Christianity, Judaism, Islaam, you name it — is really all about is charity, a sense that we are responsible for each other, that it is wrong for some people to have it all and other people to go hungry. It seems to me that you cannot call yourself a good Christian (at the least) if you have this terror of sharing anything of yours with anyone who’s less fortunate.
    “Sharing the wealth” doesn’t strike me as a scary idea; it strikes me as the basis for a just society

  12. But..but…George Carlin said our stuff is shit and everybody else’s shit is stuff…If we simply call the wealthy’s stuff shit…and that sticks in regular discourse…then what’s the real problem?

  13. Posted by: Nora | October 17, 2008 at 20:48
    Exactly. I sometimes want to ask that of the people who call in and say, “Turn the Middle East into a glass parking lot!”
    Q. You say you want to kill millions. Are you a Christian? How do you justify that?
    The ability of these “Christians” to believe that it is fine to fund death and war and at the same time believe that we shouldn’t take care of the sick is astounding.
    What did Jesus do? He healed the sick.
    Some people wanted Jesus to take on the Romans and fight back. He submitted and allowed himself to be killed.
    He talked about the poor. A lot. He hung out with them. He suggested to one man to give up his possessions and join him, but he couldn’t.
    Jesus actually had a very radical view of the world, both then and now.
    People like to ask the question, “What would Jesus do”? but they base their answer oh really tenuous information.
    I especially find Old Testament Christians tiresome. They are happy to go back to the Old Testament when it gives them an excuse to hate.
    I have a hard time loving my enemies.
    I even have a hard time loving my neighbors. (Hey, Sarah Palin’s a Christian and Russia is her neighbor, right? Does she love them? What comes first for you Sarah? God or Country? If you say Jesus and God how can you kill your enemy? Jesus said you are supposed to love them. Are you saying that you won’t follow the words of Jesus? But didn’t you just say that God was first. (Or if she said Country comes first then you need to hate and kill your enemy, how can you be Christian and hate and kill? Should you get to still call your self a Christian after you have been killing enemies that Jesus told you to love?”

  14. I wrote off people like this, including the ones in my own family, long ago. I have a sister who I will never speak to again and cousins who are lucky if they get cards at the holidays. I have neither the time nor the energy nor the patience for any of them.

  15. And WHAT IF someone who didn’t work as many years in some non-union shit-hole of a job wanted to get HEALTH CARE? HOLY FUCK! Sum-bitches are trying to rip us off!
    I’ll tell ya what I think: America has gotten to be a tight-wad, cheap-ass place. Someone please buy our nice outfit here at the beach so we can be gone to New Zealand!

  16. My answer?
    Stop whining.
    Oh, so you worked hard? And that 4-year-old hasn’t, so it’s unfair to help her?
    You worked hard. And you got your reward: more money.
    What you don’t get is an exemption from taxes.
    Stop whining.
    Hard work isn’t all that special. Millions upon millions of people work just as hard as you, and lots and lots of them don’t make as much money as you. And the taxes they pay hit them harder than they do you.
    But you’re special because you worked hard.
    Sure, hard work is a virtue.
    You know what else is a virtue?
    Doing your part to help society and NOT WHINING ABOUT IT.

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