Ask any child what he or she wants to be when they grow up and you will undoubtedly hear things like "doctor," "fireman" or "policeman." Rarely, if ever will the answer be "hedge fund manager" or "corporate raider" or "CEO." The same goes for most adults. If you ask them what they really want out of life, I don't think you will hear things like "I want to be a billionaire" or "I want five houses, each with its own car elevator."
But for some reason, Mitt Romney believes that we all want to be just like him. That we desire to wear thousand-dollar suits, drive sports cars and sail away on a yacht every weekend. If you listen to his words carefully, you get a sense that this is the overarching theme of his campaign. Mitt Romney believes he is speaking to a nation of wannabe billionaires, to an America that wants to buy and sell companies as if they were trading baseball cards. In short, he thinks he is speaking to an America that wants to be just like Mitt Romney. The only problem is, he's wrong.
I can understand why Mitt Romney feels this way. How could he know what working Americans really want or need? His entire life he has been surrounded by tycoons, oligarchs and plutocrats who all share his philosophy about life -- accumulate as much wealth as possible. Seldom will you hear the cries of the public as you are teeing off on the first hole at Bushwood Country Club.
Of course, we all have those "if I were a millionaire" moments, but they are just that, moments. They don't consume our lives. More than anything, Americans and probably most people in the world want peace of mind. We want security, safety and a life free of economic turmoil. No one is really asking to own five waterfront houses in exotic locations, we just aren't that selfish. Mitt Romney wrongly believes that this is exactly what we desire -- that we strive to be just like him. He holds himself up as the shining example of what you can achieve if you become "successful." But it's the wrong example.
We want economic justice. We want to be able to feed our families healthy food. We want to provide our children with a quality education so that they can go a bit further in life. We don't need corporate jets, we would be plenty happy to take a family vacation once a year on a Delta 757. And by the way, flying coach is fine by us. We want to know that when we report to work on Monday morning that our jobs will still be there -- that a guy like Mitt Romney hasn't shipped them off to some far away land so he can bank an extra million or two for himself and his partners. We are more than happy to be members of the middle class.
So when you talk to us, Mitt, remember that most of us don't really want to be just like you, we just want to claim that part of the American dream that is rightfully ours. For us, being a fireman, policeman or doctor suits us just fine.
Follow Paolo Romanacci on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MiddleClassHell