Credit: Susan Demas/Michigan Advance
It seems that having money, plenty of money, must somehow bestow a certain sense of omniscience upon the very wealthiest in society, making some of them feel that they are uniquely qualified to hold political office.
It would appear, unfortunately, that there are many voters and media outlets who feel those who possess great wealth, regardless of how they came by their fortune, are indeed qualified to hold elected office — even if their wealth is their only claim to fame.
Clearly that happened in the 2016 presidential contest when the winner was seen as a “businessman” who would run America like a business. Well, whether a government should be run like a private business is up for debate, but by any stretch, few would feel it should be run like a business that has declared bankruptcy six times, and during a nine year period, lost over $1 billion. Any wonder that running the government as that kind of business has stuck the taxpayers with $3 trillion in debt over the past three years?
We are getting hints from the past as to what some aspects of how a Michael Bloomberg presidency might look. Based on his years as mayor of New York City, can we expect more racial and religious profiling, increasing rates of homelessness, crackdowns on the right of citizens to peacefully assemble or protest? Some would say, other than more dedicated bike lanes, he will mostly be remembered as a mayor who governed as if he were a king. Not a good quality in a president either, –- as we have seen.
While the current president has a long history of disparaging anyone he deems to be somehow deficient in comparison to his apparent skills and self-proclaimed genius, Michael Bloomberg is no second-stringer. His mentioned record of profiling should put up a huge red flag for everyone, there is absolutely no excuse.
But his penchant for insult and belittling, as it turns out, are more widespread than we knew. In 2016 during an appearance at Oxford University, Bloomberg categorically belittled the knowledge and expertise of farmers and factory workers.
“I could teach anybody, even the people in this room (to farm). You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.” Factory workers as well, at least in his opinion, seemed to lack brainpower: “You put the piece of metal in the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow, and you can have a job.”
Jobs like his, that apparently require “gray matter” — or brain cells — are those “built around replacing people with technology.”
“That is a whole degree level different,” he said. “You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”
Again, we’ve heard similar sentiment coming out of the White House.
Much as Bloomberg’s contempt for minorities was on display as a mayor, his contempt for and denigration of those he deems as lesser than himself is showing, it is not pretty and like Sonny Perdue, it will not play well in rural America.
During his time in the New York State Assembly, Theodore Roosevelt was critical of the courts he was trying to reform. He felt they lacked both the knowledge of and concern for, the needs and the social wellbeing of the average citizen. Roosevelt stated that, “they knew nothing whatever of the needs, or of the life and labor, of three-fourths of their fellow-citizens in great cities.”
So, here we are again, nearly 150 years later and we see that same contempt from those in power for their fellow citizens, that same power that Roosevelt fought against, coming from a sitting president and an even richer “businessman” who wants to replace him.
These two do have a lot in common. Money (at least Bloomberg earned his), a sense of privilege, racism, arrogance, sexual harassment allegations, no desire to raise the minimum wage, a longstanding desire to cut Social Security and Medicare and a fair amount of disdain for farmers (although they’ll deny it).
So, what’s the deal with Bloomberg’s campaign saying, “Bernie’s New Bro … Donald Trump.” Seriously? What fantasy world are they living in?
The reality is that Bloomberg and the President Trump are little more than two peas in a pod.
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