You Lie, I’m going to Argentina with my Confederate Flag

Recently I had the extreme displeasure of driving through South Carolina. No it wasn’t the Huddle House, The Southern Inn or South of the Border. At this time it seems that the state reflects our common attitudes about the treatment of those in privilege and why we seem so stuck in our collective past.

As you all know the State of South Carolina did not impeach Gov. Sanford for his misdeeds. Hell if I took a week off work, flew to a foreign country, told my associates to lie for me and charged it off to the company the least I would have gotten was fired. This guy gets to keep his job – amazing. There is at least one felony fraud charge in there for stealing the travel funds, at least for regular people like myself there would have been.

But this is how we worship the rich and powerful in this country. What would happen if we started thinking of the rich and powerful in different terms?

Here’s a scenario. Why we should now think and treat the rich and powerful as we think of and treat Wal-Mart associates.  (I don’t go to Wal-Mart anymore so this is completely fictional). We now will question them about their work, and reject them if they are incompetent to facilitate our ultimate saving experience as promised in the television ads.

When a minimum wage Wal-Mart associate incorrectly rings up your $3.55 Gleades candle and charges you $3.72 you are incensed.  You are watching each item ring very carefully and you know that the price sign on the shelf said it was $3.55  Time comes to a standstill and you state in the most indignant tone possible “WRONG PRICE”. Wal-Mart associate looks at you, she’s tired and has a Supercuts hairdo, but agrees to call back to the section to find out how this happened. All the while you think to yourself how on earth could this happen? I would never pay $3.72 for a Gleades candle. Time moving ever so slowly as the section associate checks the price and finally after what seems hours – you get the news. The item is actually $3.72 and the associate looks at you. You refuse the item based on its ridiculous cost and tell her to – re shelve it!

Oh it was painful living through that Wal-Mart scenario but I did it to remind us of how we worship the rich and powerful. We think nothing of demanding to know where a few cents of our money is going to a cashier, but we refuse to appropriately punish a person who steals from the public! Sanford is going to have to pay something back, but he gets to keep on being governor until the end of his term. What a sweet deal!

Here’s how we’ve institutionalized privilege in this case. Sanfords peers certainly wouldn’t want to take away all of the delicious privileges that he deserves. That means that someone, someday might try to take away their power, privilege and stuff if they get caught in a compromising situation.  There is an underlying unsubstantiated belief that privilege itself is somehow deserved. As a culture it is ingrained, and most of us loathe to question how or why another gets privilege while we suffer with our transactional culture – paying for everything.

Perhaps his peers think it is enough that Sanford’s wife is divorcing him, but really that’s just icing on the cake of a man who didn’t want to be with her anyway. She leaves, he still gets to be the Governor of South Carolina and have the state pay his bills and live in the fancy house  for a few more years. Where is the downside?

But wait there’s more, more, more about South Carolina. What about the “You Lie” guy – he didn’t get in much trouble either. Even though he yelled at the President during a speech in the House of Representatives Chamber. Again, if I yelled at the President in that moment they would have at least arrested me. And don’t get me started on the Confederate Flag flying above the State Capitol of South Carolina. Its like having poison ivy, mosquito bites and extra dry skin. You feel all itchy and miserable but don’t know where to scratch first. Calamine lotion will make it better for a little while but you know it just takes time to get over the whole mess. Time may heal all wounds, and rashes and we hope South Carolina will get better soon too!

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2 Comments to “You Lie, I’m going to Argentina with my Confederate Flag”

  1. Okay. First of all “Amen” to that. Second of all I had this very argument with my sister-in-law who lives in our state capital, Sacramento, and has worked with lawmakers. And she argued that “they are only human.” To which I responded, who gives a #$%^! We entrust them with our lives. To represent US. WE gave them their job. They need to remember that and behave accordingly. But why should they? When there are no repercussions for their poor behavior? When their constituents don’t vote them out at the first sign of being ineffectual or crooked. California voted for Arnold TWICE because why? He was a movie star? Gimme a break! Third, I’ve had a Supercuts in the past. ‘Nuff said.

    • Hey sister it is all good. I enjoy giving them crap and I’m close enough to see too much.
      No one is saying they aren’t human but they are held to a different standard than regular folk.
      Supercuts just to give the proper image of a Wal-Mart associate.

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