If Donald Trump had a nickel for every time he said something idiotic, he'd be a very rich man.
Though, in fairness, we all say stupid things. For example, one time I asked a woman when her baby was due, and it turned out she wasn't even pregnant. That was 2009, and I haven't spoken to Queen Elizabeth since. But the difference is that when Donald Trump says something, it's news. Why do we care what rich people say? Because they're better than us.
I'm more interested, though, in why Trump keeps making such moronic statements. I have a theory.
On his HBO show, Bill Maher called out liberals for not standing up to the intolerance of militant Islam. Maher got into a heated debate with Ben Affleck. The clip went viral. Rosie O'Donnell tweeted "Ben Affleck for President." But putting the content of the debate aside, I'm more interested in Rosie O'Donnell's tweet. The President of the United States is a job that requires one to tackle delicate global issues, to grasp complex economic theory, to lead the country. Does Rosie O'Donnell seriously think that Ben Affleck's appearance on the panel, to plug his new movie, qualifies him to be President? Yes, she absolutely does. Why? I have a theory.
Gwyneth Paltrow, who stars as Pepper Potts in those blockbuster Pepper Potts movies, was criticized for comparing her struggles to that of a "regular" working mom. Though in fairness, I think that she was referring to Angelina Jolie. But don't be angry with Gwyneth Paltrow. I doubt she meant to be condescending.
Frankie Muniz, the kid from Malcolm in the Middle, did mean to be condescending when he responded to an anonymous Internet heckler by bragging about his multi-million dollar net worth, and then Muniz insinuated that the guy who wrote the insulting tweet was poor. Oh, Muniz could've just ignored the tweet. But rich people must be heard. And in America today, the way to prove that you're better than someone is to point out that you have more money. After the tweeter criticized Malcolm's acting, Muniz wrote back, "Yeah, but being retired with $40,000,000.00 at 19 has not been awful. Good luck moving out of your moms house before youre 35." Theoretically, this same tweet could be used to taunt our disabled Middle East war veterans. Nevertheless, with forty-million bucks and a lot of free time on his hands, you'd think Muniz would learn how to use an apostrophe.
But Gwyneth Paltrow seems like a kind person, even writing a cookbook to help parents determine the best organic oats, butterscotch-scented margarine beans, and aqua blue alfalfa sprouts (handpicked in Nepal by their personal sherpas) when preparing their kids' after-school snacks. And Frankie Muniz is harmless. And Rosie O'Donnell is probably a nice person. But this essay is not just about famous actors who are nominating each other for the Presidency. ("It's an honor just to be nominated.") Rather, what these folks have in common is money. They're rich. And rich people say and write and believe stupid things because they're out of touch. This is my theory; excessive wealth makes one delusional. Rich people can't help it. Once you hit a certain monetary peak, all sense of rationality is lost. Oprah really does believe that homeless people should just "get in touch with their spirit."
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens, Chairman of BP Capital Management and owner of the popular "T. Boone Pickens Fried Chicken" restaurant chain, has challenged President Obama to a one-hour physical workout in an effort to bring attention to Pickens' natural gas-based energy plan. Yes, I understand that T. Boone Pickens declared this "challenge" in good fun. But only a billionaire would think he is entitled to sixty minutes with the President of the United States to do sit-ups. Because he can't help it. Rich people are out of touch. There must be something about holding a five-hundred-thousand-dollar bill; maybe the ink gets into your blood stream causing some sort of glitch in the part of your brain that deciphers stuff like what is and is not relatable to actual real people.
You're thinking, "But how rich do you have to be before you start losing touch with reality?" Well, let's start with the top five percent of Americans, who control sixty percent of the nation's wealth. At that point, it seems completely reasonable to tell the Vanity Fair magazine interviewer that the FBI should be spending more manpower on solving celebrity nude picture hacking scandals. Heck, the wealthiest one percent of Americans own nearly forty percent of the nation's wealth. Though in fairness, the poorest one percent has a monopoly on the nation's cardboard box homes.
Millions of children dream of one day becoming the President of the United States and/or getting signed to Diddy's label. But once they're adults, things change. Poor people don't run for President. Only rich people do. Rich people are delusional enough to think they know what's best for the American people. That's why rich people fight to maintain our insane economic system. They think the system is working. They think it's best for society that they own their own helicopter.
In fact, the richer you are, the more seriously people will take your Presidential candidacy. Billionaire Warren Buffett need only suggest the thought of running for office and I promise he will instantly become a top contender for the job. The "Warren Buffett For President of the United States" Facebook page has close to 3000 likes. Yet Buffet has no political accomplishments... though I do like his recording of Margaritaville.
It's understandable that rich people would get a swelled head. In the early 1990s, billionaire Ross Perot was at one point leading in the Presidential election polls, fueled by the public's confidence that extremely wealthy people must know how to help the middle class because, well, after all, they're extremely wealthy.
Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln was one of history's poorest Presidents, and he was pretty good at his job. Lincoln freed the slaves, fought to keep the nation whole, and helped pass laws preventing the paparazzi from taking pictures of celebrities' kids.
Multimillionaire Mitt Romney got into political hot water for saying that "47 percent" of Americans feel "entitled" to, among other things, food. I'm not sure if Romney included babies among that group. From my observation, pretty much all babies feel entitled to food. Instead of crying and screaming when they're hungry, have they ever thought to get off their lazy asses and get a job?! But don't be mad at Mitt Romney. Rich people have trouble understanding that they are the entitled ones, just as rich people don't understand that for poor people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps is a physical impossibility. I tried to pull myself up by my bootstraps once. I broke my toe.
It is said that the best things in life are free. But, no, I have to pay for my pelvic massages. Meanwhile, the worst things in life are figuring out how to get around while your only car is in the shop and worrying about how to pay for a new water heater and all the other stuff that doesn't exist in the world of the wealthy. Of course rich people are out of touch. Why would you expect otherwise? Oh, and I'd also add the ESPY Awards to the "worst things in life" list.
Look, I'm not hating on rich people. I like rich people. They support the caviar industry. They donate their Brooks Brothers pants to the Goodwill with only minimal wear. Rich people are often very friendly and gracious. But once you hit that twenty or thirty-million dollar mark, you are no longer living in reality. And you simply can't understand what life is like for regular, normal, simple, toothless people like us. And that's fine. But the problem is when you get involved in our problems, especially when that involvement means legal political authority.
More than half of all United States Congressmen are millionaires. And these are the people making decisions about our lives. There's something wrong with that. More than half of all Americans are not millionaires. Congressmen are public servants. Servants are not supposed to make a lot of money... well, except for those ladies who'll clean your house topless. Congressmen should be making less than us.
That means that about half of all United States Congressmen are completely irrational, out of touch, and disconnected from the day-to-day issues that affect their constituency. And the other half are the millionaires.
We all want to be rich. Personally, I'd be a benevolent billionaire. I'd treat my butler with respect. I'd donate a lot of money to Kickstarter to fund TV actors' indie film projects. My limo would be a hybrid. But in the same way that when you go blind it's time to turn in your car keys, I accept that once I become disgustingly wealthy I will no longer remember how real life works. I will forget that women living in poverty are much more likely to the victims of violent sexual assault. I will forget that most poor people are employed and productive, but that a fast food restaurant salary isn't always enough to pay the bills. I will forget that my fellow wealthy friends achieved their richness through a combination of hard work -- yes -- but also luck and circumstance and inheritance and opportunity and sometimes just from being born good-looking, and being a loquacious talk show guest doesn't qualify you to make important decisions about the lives of millions of Americans.
One day we'll all be dead. And in heaven, everyone has a shitload of money. But for now, it's important that rich people acknowledge their mental deficiency. It will make the rest of our lives much easier. Or maybe Donald Trump is just naturally dumb?