Occidental College student’s vocal responses to the second Presidential Debate were few and far between. But when a vocal uproar was heard, it was in response to very particular type of remark made by Mitt Romney. Let’s take a quick look at the few comments that elicited responses from Oxy viewers on Tuesday night.
The question was this: “In what new ways do you plan to correct inequalities in the workplace, specifically women who earn 70 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” President Obama responded typically, referring to the women in his family and their undeserved lack of opportunity. Romney, on the other hand, responded with an anecdote about his experience as a governor attempting to pick his cabinet. He evidently was bewildered to find that all the applicants “seemed to be men.” So he “went out and found women that were qualified to be part of our cabinet.”
So what does this sound like to young, liberal voters? It sounds like white men on a rescue mission to save the women who weren’t competent enough to get their applications in themselves. It sounds like a charity event
Here are the comment that prompted the next boo:
When asked what he plans to do about illegal immigrants in the United States, Romney responded, “I would not give driver’s licenses to those coming here illegally.”
But the children of illegal immigrants, he said, could have “a pathway” to citizenship, which could include military service.
So why was Oxy unhappy about this? Well, similar to his remark about finding qualified women, Romney is once again speaking of “helping out” an otherwise helpless population. In both instances, Romney is speaking of intervening to help a marginalized population to rise to the occasion. In this case, Romney is speaking of encouraging the children of illegal immigrants to place themselves in dangerous situations to defend a country of which their parents cannot be a legal part.
Oxy students made their final uproar of the debate in response to Romney’s comment on gun violence, which he linked to single parenting.
“A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea. Because if there’s a two parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically.”
So Romeny essentially blamed gun violence and poverty on a failure to adhere to the Christian value of marriage before birthing children. At whom are his criticisms targeted? Single parents in poverty. Once again…a disadvantaged group. Let’s recap… whenever Romney spoke of women, immigrants or poor single parents, a negative response was elicited from the extremely liberal audience of Occidental College students. What does this tell us? That even when Romney tries his damndest to talk these groups up, he can’t gain their approval. In fact, he seems to inadvertently insult them in the process. As his “47%” comment indicated, Romney views these groups as helpless dependents, and he just can’t keep this negative conception of them from seeping out.