Owen Hill’s Birther Joke

Today I read this article:  http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=363324    Hill is playing the “everyone is oversensitive” card here, which is annoying, but bothers me in another way.

I’m not a fan of Obama.  I had high hopes for him that fell through.  And I certainly understand that politics is a cesspool of mudslinging, and when you don’t have anything useful to contribute, you make nasty jokes.  It’s how the game is played, like it or not.  But I do expect some essence of decorum, some sign that the people running my country are somewhat levelheaded and hopefully smarter than me.

Hill’s comment reminded me very much of Romney’s “47%” remarks.  For those of you that have forgotten: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”  I originally was going to vote for Romney, but then a) he picked Paul Ryan, who, like Palin, I couldn’t risk being president and b) said the above, which clinched it.  It was insulting, sure.  I was currently in that 47%, working my ass off teaching while my husband waited tables to put himself through school.  No, we didn’t pay income tax, and I squirmed uncomfortably when people around me, people who sometimes had more than one house, lamented the cost of their taxes.  I knew that what they paid in taxes went into our bank accounts.  Sometimes I even thanked them for it.   We lived off that tax return for months.  It was still humiliating to hear people talk about me like I was a welfare queen, even if they didn’t realize it.  Now, we’re no longer in that group, but I was furious.  “Never convince them to take personal responsibility?”  How much more responsible could we get, working multiple jobs, going to school, living in a tiny basement apartment and getting food from churches to drag along until we could pay our share?

That insult lost my vote, but for a more important reason.  Anyone who considers representing our country needs to be aware that he or she is always under the public eye.  There will always be a hidden camera, a sly reporter, an angry blogger, someone to get the word out.  Romney’s spluttering defense was that other people weren’t supposed to hear that.  I get that he was buttering up his benefactors.  However, to have the audacity to claim well sure, I said it, but no one was supposed to hear it?  No one was supposed to hear that you seem to disdain half the populace you wish to lead?  I decided then that this man would not be my choice to deal with Iran or North Korea.  This man did not have the sense to keep his mouth shut, and might run the risk of really pissing off international powers with things that they just weren’t supposed to hear.  Okay, he insulted me, but I don’t have missiles.  And if you don’t have the common sense to understand that those 47% were waiting on your tables and getting pissed off, you don’t have the common sense to run a country.

I hear an echo of that in Hill’s comment.  Okay, so it’s a joke.  It’s a stupid joke.  And now, Hill is carrying on about how everyone took it wrong.  If you’re in the position to represent your people, you need to understand that jokes like these are going to hurt you.  You need to learn to keep your trap shut and your thoughts to yourself. And if you can’t, how in the world could I trust you to represent me?

You know when you were a kid, and there was always some other kid who would say something nasty, and then say, “Oh come on, it’s just a joke! Get a sense of humor!”  No one liked that kid, Mr. Hill.  They were obnoxious then and your behavior is obnoxious now.  This isn’t about the other political team out to get you, this about you being a jerk.  Own up to it, and stop.

Everyone makes a statement that they regret.  But if you’re in a position of power, learn that you don’t get to be the obnoxious guy, and if you are, people are going to call you on it.  Maybe, if people in the government would quit making “jokes” and just focus, they could actually get something done.

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