My Billionaire Versus Your Billionaire

I know I am supposed to be grossed out by money and politics, and I am, I guess, but honestly right now this is the least important thing:

Pritzker seems an unlikely champion of working people. He is a venture capitalist himself, born to enormous wealth. His billions of dollars almost make Rauner, despite his half-dozen-plus homes, look middle class.

I hear a lot of ragging about this all the time: Oh, it’s just two billionaires fighting. Battle of the rich guys! It makes me insane every time because what a lazyass way to look at this.

J.B. Pritzker and Bruce Rauner are not equally terrible because they both have money. Bruce Rauner is not terrible because he’s a billionaire. He is terrible because he’s a Trump-humping jackwagon who, like many Republicans, ran on an anti-government platform and had no interest in governing. He spent two years getting chewed up by the state legislature, which anyone with a half a brain could have told him was going to happen if he tried to institute budget cuts on the backs of teachers and union members because Illinois saw what happened in Wisconsin and wasn’t gonna have any of it.

Pritzker wants to raise his own taxes and he’d rather my kid not die in a school shooting and he doesn’t seem terribly interested in obliterating higher education or women’s health care. These differences MATTER. Where candidates stand on policy MATTERS. We keep reducing politics to what you get on your cheesesteak and where you grocery-shop and that is stupid. Two people can have a similar amount of money, and thus a similar experience of how they move through the world, but that doesn’t mean they have a similar intent for the job of governing and that intent is what’s important.

The experience they both have of being rich is context for their on-the-job behavior, not a qualifier OR disqualifier. Not every rich person wants to use his wealth in ways that are unproductive or immoral. Not every poor person is some kind of noble savage.

I would like for us to have a governor who knew what it was like to be broke, or scared, but more than that I would like a governor who is going to help people who are broke or scared regardless of whether he’s been those things himself. When you’re in a position of authority you have power over all kinds of people you’re nothing like, and you’re supposed to be able to work with them regardless of whether you’ve been them or not.

You should be able to understand the importance of, say, public transportation not because you use it but because you can look at a report that shows how many people use it and why and what for, and glean from that the idea that it is something you should pay attention to. You should be able to contextualize things you don’t personally experience, as an adult, and have an understanding of what you can do to improve others’ lives.

That’s the job. Of being a person in the world, sure, but also of being a leader. You can’t possibly have personal knowledge or experience of every situation, but you can have policy positions for things you care about and those things can be helping people who are nothing like you.

It’s not as easy as just sitting back and saying, “Meh, two billionaires” but let’s put our backs into this, the world is literally on fire.

A.

2 thoughts on “My Billionaire Versus Your Billionaire

  1. Mark E Bye says:

    For whatever reason, Spotify runs Pritzker ads up here in Northern Wisconsin. And I don’t really mind the interruption because listening to a candidate speak civilly and talk about the kinds of things government is supposed to be doing for the citizenry is refreshing. I was so hoping that Illinois could have avoided electing Walker’s clone, Rauner, years ago. But now you’ve got an opportunity to bring some sanity back to your statehouse. As a retired state employee who participated in the Act 10 protests in Madison years ago, I hope that both Illinois and Wisconsin throw their current governors into the trash heap next month.

    Like

  2. Archy says:

    Thank you.
    One doesn’t always have to “live it” in order to “get it”. Of course it helps. But, given some level of intelligence and empathy (perhaps that’s just “humanity”), a rich guy can actually understand a poor guy.
    A man can understand societal pressures on a woman. An average person can understand concepts of science. And so on…
    Does money make this different? Again, of course! Sometimes it isolates one from the reality. But the important variable is the person.
    We all are prone to coming to bad conclusions. Stop being superficial. This shit is important.

    Apologies to all for this quickly keyed comment.

    Like

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