Gordon Brown has a problem.
In an effort to show that he’s just a regular bloke and a man of the people, the British Prime Minister, who just happens to be up for re-election this year, went to a carefully staged photo-op with an average British voter, a woman who proudly proclaimed that she, her father, and her grandfather had voted for Brown’s Labor Party all their lives. When the woman had the temerity to make a comment about Eastern European immigrants to Britain, Brown was all smiles and gave her a carefully neutral politician’s answer in public, but in private, unaware that his TV mic was still on, gave a completely different opinion of her and her views:
Brown was immediately called out on his remarks and issued a personal apology with lots of backing and filling, but you have to wonder what the long term consequences for his political career will be. You also have to wonder, if this is what he thinks of his supporters and the people who are likely to vote for him, what does he think of his political opponents?
Unfortunately, this kind of contempt for the people one claims to represent is not an exclusively British phenomenon. Remember candidate Obama’s famous remark about bitter voters clinging to guns and religion?
Or this, from Indiana congressman Baron Hill during a “Town Hall Meeting” on the health care reform bill:
The arrogance of this guy is breathtaking:
“This is my town hall meeting, and I set the rules.”
In other words, O measly and pathetic voter who elected me and might vote for me again if I don’t act like a jerk, I have graciously deigned to descend from my Olympian heights and speak with you, but only on my terms.
“Usually, the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position.”
In other words, if I allow people to film this, they might see what a jackass I really am.
Are you beginning to sense a pattern here? Are you beginning to suspect that maybe, just maybe, the people who run things don’t care about you as much as they say they do? Gosh darn it, it’s enough to make one skeptical about politics, politicians, and “change we can believe in,” isn’t it?
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, in my life I will praise the Lord: I will sing to my God as long as I shall be. Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.” (Ps.145:2-3, Douay-Rheims Version; Ps. 146, other versions).