Conservatives, Melissa Harris-Perry has had it with your bullshit.
A discussion on the racialized political rhetoric surrounding welfare took a turn close to home for Melissa Harris-Perry on her show Saturday morning, as she offered author and BusinessWeek columnist Monica Mehta a glimpse at the kind of places in which people who need of social-assistance programs often live.
Harris-Perry’s animated remarks were a response to Mehta’s opinion that President Barack Obama’s much-twisted “You didn’t build that” speech missed an emphasis on risk-taking, something she suggested enabled class mobility in America.
“What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously!,” she said, slamming her hand on her desk. “What in the world is riskier than being a poor person in America? I live in a neighborhood where people are shot on my street corner. I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it will be a good school and maybe it won’t. I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No. There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness”
Harris-Perry later apologized for getting hot under the collar — but not, thankfully, for her argument. This is 100%, inarguably, absolutely true — which is why the conservatives on the panel barely even tried to dispute it. Instead, they went straight to clarification mode.
Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy over and over, yet he remains ungodly rich. The fact of the matter is that it’s very, very difficult to stop being rich in America. The idea that a business venture can fall through and leave you penniless seems as antiquated as handlebar mustaches and bicycles with giant front wheels.
But consider the logic; even if it were absolutely true that the rich took real risks, what would they be in risk of? Death? No, poverty. By conservative arguments, being poor is such an unimaginably horrible circumstance that the wealthy have to be protected from that possibility at every turn — even if their own decisions (i.e., “risk-taking”) are what brings them there. But those who are already poor — well, that’s their own damned fault for making bad decisions. Sink or swim buddy; this is the Land of Opportunity, not the Free Ride Terminal.
To be a conservative means to be unfettered by the bonds of logic and to be free from the chore of thinking things all the freakin’ way through.
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