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A convention bursting with white guys and jock talk // The plight of the GOP's aging millionaire males

My friend Bill, who is a middle-aged white guy, was pounding on the bar and glaring at the TV set.

"Media vermin," he shouted. "All media types should be banned from the media."

What have we done now?

"Oh, those talking media heads at the GOP convention. They're taking another cheap shot at guys like me."

In what way?

"They've got a survey of Republican delegates that the New York Times took, and it shows that the majority of the delegates are middle-aged white guys."

Well, facts are facts. If the majority of the delegates are middle-aged white guys, what's wrong with saying so?

"I'll tell you what's wrong. They make it sound like a form of social injustice. It maintains the stereotype of the Republican Party being dominated by middle-aged suburban white guys from the country club bar."

Yes, but there's a certain amount of truth in it.

"Oh, but there's more to it than that. The New York Times survey says that one out of every four Republican delegates is a millionaire."

Then you must admit that these delegates are not your typical, average working-class Americans.

"Of course they aren't. But so what?"

So, it might be difficult for the average working-class American to identify.

"See? Typical media blather. And typical media discrimination against middle-class white guys who have had some measure of financial success."

Not so. If America has a privileged class, it is made up of middle-aged, financially successful white guys.

"Well, why not? Who pays the biggest share of the taxes the government collects and squanders?"

I'll concede that point _ they're paid by financially successful, middle-aged white guys.

"Then why are we always presented as insensitive, uncaring, selfish villains?"

But aren't you?

"More media blather. Tell me this _ who leads the nation in stomach ulcers?"

Middle-aged white guys?

"You got it. You ever go over to Union Station in the morning and look at the grim faces of the thousands of commuters? Or at the stress-racked faces of the people behind the wheels of the cars on the expressways in the morning rush hour? What do you see?"

I guess I see a lot of faces of middle-aged white guys.

"Exactly. Do you know how millions of middle-aged white guys spend their mornings?"

Counting their money?

"No, they are taking their own pulse at their cardio-rehab session. All over America, in every hospital, you find middle-aged white guys on treadmills and stationary bikes, and pumping their skinny legs to keep the old heart going so they can make a living for their loved ones and the Internal Revenue Service."

You make being a middle-aged white guy sound like living hell. What about the part of the New York Times that says one out of four GOP delegates is a millionaire?

"In this age, being a millionaire is overrated. Especially if you are a middle-aged white guy."

How can such wealth be overrated?

"Because a million bucks isn't what it used to be. There are hard-working farmers whose acreage has a net worth of $1-million, and they qualify as millionaires. But they have to climb on the tractor every morning."

Are you saying there is no easy wealth among those Republican delegates?

"Well, are you aware that 90 percent of all professional basketball players are millionaires? And some of them are barely out of high school."


"So nobody thinks that the wealth of some young guy who plays bouncy-ball for a living is a big deal. But the average middle-aged white guy who has a net worth of $1-million has to do more than slam-dunk to make it. He has to spend years lying, cheating and stealing. And by the time he's made it, he's too old to enjoy it."

That may be true, but don't you agree that the Republicans would be better off if their delegations were more diverse? Wouldn't they have more of a grass-roots flavor if some of the delegates were poor?

"But they do."

They have poor delegates?

"Give them time. Didn't you ever hear of alimony?"

Chicago Tribune