By Victoria Lynn Hall
“Really? He seems like such a nice guy.”
“She’s always been lovely to me.”
We might hear these phrases from friends or acquaintances when we complain about someone who has wronged us or just isn’t good for us for some reason. Those people aren’t lying, they just have a different experience of that person than you do; one that benefits from a certain distance, whereas if they were that person’s spouse or employee or next door neighbor, they would likely have the same experience as you.
This applies to public figures as well. A celebrity’s maid may have a different opinion of her than her best friend as that celebrity is likely to treat each of those people differently. And a president may be seen as the next FDR to someone who benefits from one or two of his policies while millions of other people suffer because of other policies that don’t affect that person at all.
Of course it isn’t always this way. Sometimes that acquaintance that hears about your divorce has gone through one of their own and offers empathy and kindness. And perhaps that celebrity had worked as a maid before they hit the big time and goes out of their way to be appreciative and generous to theirs because she understands what hard work it is.
It may seem more difficult to relate to someone who is working at a job that doesn’t pay them enough to afford rent or a Venezuelan who is unable to feed their family or a child in Gaza while Israel launches nightly airstrikes upon their city. Yet do we really have to be homeless in America, or desperate for our next meal in a country that has been sanctioned by the U.S., or fearing for our lives while bombs that were manufactured by U.S. weapons contractors rain down on our city to know what it is like to suffer? I don’t.
I’m glad Joe Biden is doing some good things and I’m hopeful that some people who are currently struggling may benefit from that. However, my empathy for those who are in pain or despair won’t allow me to celebrate some good things that have yet to come to fruition when I have already seen the results of all of the destructive things Biden and the rest of our government has been doing (as well as their failure to do truly beneficial things) for my entire lifetime.
As long as we live in the unequal and unjust world he and those like him created, I am skeptical that Joe Biden will ever be anything more than a powerful man who makes executive decisions that are mostly for the benefit of powerful executives.
Here is the hyperbolic article from Politico I alluded to in this article: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/08/biden-assault-monopolies-498876
In this episode Jesse referred to the following article by Matt Taibbi: The S.E.C. Rule That Destroyed The Universe
I paraphrased a Brené Brown quote from her book Braving The Wilderness, the full quote is: “People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Hold hands. With strangers. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.”
Jesse mentioned in this episode and on Twitter that the rhetoric we are hearing now from the Biden administration is nothing new. He offers Bill Clinton’s 1992 Campaign Brochures as one example: http://www.4president.org/brochures/billclinton1992brochure.htm
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A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.