There’s Going to Be Trouble When You Live in a Bubble

Keeping an eye on politics this week  has been as compelling as anything the best Hollywood writers could make up. Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, actually said that he cares about Americans but that he isn’t concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net.

That’s precisely what he said.  In that exact order.  What happened next, while predictable, was still extremely entertaining.

Some political pundits latched onto the concept that Romney didn’t care about the poor and (gasp) he didn’t even consider them Americans.

Others suggested that he was supporting the notion that government should help the poor indefinitely without encouraging them improve their situations.

And others, particularly those in the Republican party, despaired that Romney is a bad politician who blunders when he doesn’t have a teleprompter.

I have to agree with the latter.  When Romney opens his mouth without a script, his comments seem unsympathetic to the average American.  His latest remarks about the poor just add to the growing concern.

The  doubts have been building with every questionable statement:  his spontaneous offer to bet Rick Perry $10,000 (a very sizable amount of money to the average American);  his remark that he is also unemployed (not funny to the millions without a job or a daily income like he has) and his insensitive language about liking to fire people.  All of these feed into the perception that Romney has no clue about the daily struggles many Americans face.

And there may be something to that. He has, after all, lived in a bubble his entire life.

He grew up in a bubble and doesn’t appear to have left it. That bubble has protected him from worrying about which bills he could afford to pay or whether his children would be able to go to college.  I’m pretty sure that there’s never been any coupon clipping, layaways  or bargain hunting in the Romney bubble.

But apparently the barrier between Romney’s bubble and the rest of the world isn’t impenetrable. Rumblings of discontent about the disparity between the very rich and the rest of the country actually seem to be reaching Romney’s ears. But the layers of film between us are distorting the message, and he just isn’t hearing it correctly.

But Romney’s not alone.

Because of  religion, socio-economic status and even our appearances, many of us live in a bubble and generally associate with, relate to and hear the opinions of people who are very similar to us. And while some people step outside of their bubbles, others never do.

The problem with staying in your own bubble is that you generally don’t hear or understand the plight of those outside the bubble.  I’ve bumped into a lot of those people as they float through life. It’s not that people who stay in their own bubbles are bad people. Bubbles simply distort how they see things, so their view of the world just isn’t accurate.

But who can blame them? Living in a bubble can be deceptively comfortable.

Unfortunately, people who are floating around in their own bubbles are still part of the real world: a world where poverty is not a moral issue, where people still face discrimination and where money is a driving force in determining who has power.

If you are floating around in a bubble,  your hands may never get dirty, your heart may never fully empathize and your head may never understand.

And that’s the problem with Mitt Romney.  It’s hard to understand something you’ve never felt or experienced.  And it’s even worse if you don’t recognize the fact that you’re living in a bubble.

On the bright side, most everyone likes watching bubbles float away and eventually pop.  Even as a child, I found the sight highly entertaining. I’m pretty sure I still do.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on February 4, 2012, in perspective, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Trina! A very intelligent & insightful blog. I enjoyed it very much.

      • Mitt only said that he was not concerned about the very poor because they already have a safety net. In other words, the poor are being taken care of, the middle class or if you have an income of a $1 over what is considered the poor there is no safety net. People just like to take things and make something else out of what he really meant. I was a single mom for many years. I was low middle class and if it were not for my church giving me food for many years, we would have gone hungry. If I had, had just a little less money, I would have been able to get a lot of assistance. I think that is what Mitt Romney was talking about. So the very poor get taken care of and if we have just a little above their figure, the lower middle class is hurting. I am voting for Mitt Romney. Kay

      • Kay, I agree with you. The very poor have much greater access to services, or a safety net, than the working poor. It is one of my greatest frustrations – I hear from people every day who are working hard, doing their very best and simply don’t make enough money to cover their basic needs. Unfortunately, even when people are just barely over the financial guidelines for government assistance, they can’t get assistance from nonprofit organizations either. That’s because most nonprofits have very limited funds or also receive government dollars with restrictions. Therefore, they also generally have strict guidelines. That’s why faith based organizations are so important!
        My point in this blog is a lot of people aren’t even aware of what others are going through because they have never been “on the ground” to experience it.

        As for voting for Romney.. that’s your right, and I am glad you are exercising it. There is nothing worse than people who complain about politicians but don’t participate in the election process.

  2. OMG. I love to burst those bubbles also. The BIGGER the Better.

    You have got to get on the TV circuit. I still say you are our version of Andy Rooney. AND, that is a GOOD thing.

    Love your blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: