“Let them eat cake.”
That is what Queen Marie Antoinette supposedly said; when she learned the poor of France had no bread to eat. She meant to illustrate just how out of touch with the poor she was. Actually, most historians agree that she never said it. First off, there was no real food shortage in the country during her rein, so no one would have brought up the subject to her. Second, Marie Antoinette the queen was sympathetic to the plight of her people; quite rare for rulers of her day. She would not have been so dismissive of their troubles. Yet, the words stuck and have become part of the lexicon of famous sayings never said. There are others:
“Play it again, Sam.”
“You dirty rat.”
“Judy, Judy, Judy.”
“Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.”
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”
“Just the facts, Ma’am.”
“Beam me up, Scotty.”
“Houston, we have a problem.”
“Elementary, my dear Watson.”
“What’s that, Lassie? Timmy fell down a well!”
As a side note, Timmy got into a lot of trouble over the course of several seasons of the show, but he never fell down a well. Interesting that something he didn’t get into should yield such a memorable line, but I digress.
Recently, a major political figure has spoken on two different subjects that both indicated just how out of touch he is with the common folks. When asked by a young woman where women would go to get mammograms, pap smears and other important medical tests, if Planned Parenthood was gone, Romney said they could just go somewhere else. When asked how teens and young adults could afford college, if cuts to student loans and other such financial aid became policy, Romney suggested they go borrow the money from their parents.
The man has made a huge number of what my father used to call “fox passes,” his humorous way of saying the French expression “faux pas.” Always the comedian, my dad, yet, I focus on these two instances because they specifically highlight how out of touch Romney is with common people. While he and other wealthy folks can easily get healthcare anywhere they want, the poor, and even the middle class, are not so fortunate. While he can easily afford to lend his children all the money they need to go to college, even right through to graduate school, most people cannot. My wife and I lucked out; our kid was smart enough to get a full scholarship, and even work part-time jobs. If not for that, she would have been unable to afford the outstanding education she is now getting. Romney is out of touch, no question, and I shudder to think what sort of president he would make.
Someone said that one in five children in this country goes hungry. I have to wonder, if someone asks Romney about that, what would be his reply?
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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