The other day, maybe a month or so ago, Donald Trump called in and spoke to Chris Cuomo, one of the hosts of New Day on CNN. He does that a lot and gets buttloads of free publicity.
*During his conversation with Cuomo The Donald talked about how he understands the working class and how he, himself, had received a small loan from his father when he started out in the real estate business. When pressed about the amount of the loan Trump said it was a million dollars*.
He later explained that the size of the loan was relative meaning that in his world a million dollars is small.
Now, pardon me for saying so but Trump was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s likely never rolled pennies to buy a gallon of milk. I’m quite certain he’s never, not ever, wondered where his next meal was going to come from and I highly doubt that he has ever a day in his life worried that if he didn’t receive his next check his lights would be cut off.
Donald Trump is the one percent.
So when he starts talking to the working-class, also known as the working poor, my eyes glaze over. No matter how much he shouts from the rooftops that he’s on my side and he can make it better and that, believe him, I have no greater ally than him when it comes to getting ahead my eyes glaze over. When he says things like, I got a “small loan” from my father of a million freaking dollars, I roll my eyes so hard it’s a wonder they don’t fall out of my head.
When he tries to tell the American public that he understands their plight and that, believe him, he’s got problems, too, it really is laughable. He lambastes anyone who dares criticize him in any way whatsoever. But truly, he’s got my best interest at heart.
He’s boycotted networks because they weren’t “fair” to him. Fair? I suppose that’s relative, too.
The difference here is I don’t begrudge him his wealth. He was born into it. He didn’t ask to be born to those parents, though I dare say he wouldn’t wish to born to a poor family. I don’t wish he were poor.
I’d like to share in the wealth. I’d like to think that the system that keeps the one percent rich as hell isn’t also the same system that keeps me living paycheck to paycheck without a hell of a lot of luck. If only I could wish it weren’t so.
So it isn’t Donald Trump, personally, that I have a beef with. And he might be an ally to the working class. But what isn’t helpful is for him to try to tell me that he’s got problems, or that something isn’t fair to him or that, or that me pointing out the disparity between our situations is somehow classist. Or when the working class tells him that they need help and that the wealth should be a little more evenly divided that his answer wasn’t, “Believe me, I’m going to make America great again. But you’re not getting any of my wealth. That’s socialism.”
What would be helpful is if he sat down with a group of the working class and asked them how he might help make it better. If he asked what it’s like to be poor or working-class, listened to the answer, and then acted upon that to the best of his ability that would be helpful.
When Trump makes the working-class’ problems all about how it affects him it tells me he might be listening to the working class but he surely doesn’t hear them.
Now, apply that same logic, that same disgust, that most of us feel when Trump speaks to the middle and low income class of people to every other class imbalance.
We don’t want to hear about Trump’s problems. We don’t want to hear how life has been unfair to him. Because it pales in comparison to the problems and unfairness that the rest of us experience on a regular basis. It seems kind of pointless and idiotic for him to compare himself on any level with us commoners. Sure, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like us, but he puts his leg into an Armani suit, not a cheap polyester one.
Stay with me here. That’s the way women feel when men talk about how feminism bugs them. That’s the way women feel when men talk over them and past them. I’d venture to guess that’s how black people or people of any minority feel when the classes above them in the echelon try to tell them how hard life is for them.
It isn’t an attempt to make men or white people feel worthless or meaningless. It is an attempt to make ourselves worthy and meaningful. No, we don’t want to silence you. We want to be heard – not just listened to. Is that so much to ask?
*Edited because somehow in publishing WordPress ate a whole paragraph.