Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The tone-deaf Jeb

Jeb Bush doesn't think the term "Redskins" is offensive.

With regard to the controversy over the Washington Redskins' team name:

“I don’t think it should change it,” the Republican presidential hopeful said on the The Arena. “But again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.”
About that last assertion: Bush compared the "Redskins" brouhaha to one involving Florida State's team, the Seminoles, observing that the Seminole tribe came to FSU's defense when others demanded a name change.
But unlike the tribal name of Seminole, the term “redskin” is offensive to many. A 2014 poll found 83 percent of Americans said they would not use the term to a Native American’s face.
That Jeb could believe Native Americans don't find the term offensive is a sign that he doesn't give enough of a damn about the world to read the headlines outside of the conservative media bubble.

Also, something about the audacity it takes to run for President seems to invite muddy, delusional thinking. I'm reminded of Scott Walker asserting that facing down angry Wisconsin teachers qualified him to take on ISIS if he became President. Walker and Jeb not only betrayed the shallowness of their thought processes, but their not-credible belief they know what they're talking about. They can't see how badly their assertions measure up against reality.

You get a pass for not understanding everything (that's why you surround yourself with experts). You don't get a pass when you obviously don't care whether you understand.

Jeb doesn't grok minorities. He speaks Spanish and is married to a Mexican woman, but he nevertheless lacks the imagination to walk in the shoes of someone who has been marginalized. He can't envision a life other than his own, which has been very comfortable and very privileged because he's white, male, Christian, and wealthy.

But what's worse is that he seems genuinely blind to his own blindness. He, like his brother George, is temperamentally opposed to reflection.

We want a President who, when the circumstances call for it, can put aside his or her doubts to make a decision — but we can't afford one who isn't thoughtful enough to have doubts about his or her understanding of things. We can't afford one who sticks to his or her own "facts" and can't be bothered to find out the truth.

Jeb is tone-deaf about people who aren't like him because he's indifferent to them. He's not malicious, just incurious.

We can't all be intellectually curious and well-educated, just as we can't all be star athletes (or even mediocre ones). But just as we don't want the average high-school bench-warmer to play center on our favorite NBA team, we don't want (and can't afford) another incurious and uncomprehending scion of a wealthy family to hold the Presidency, a job that requires a willingness to learn about our ever more complex world.

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