The French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” or “let them eat cake” most likely was never spoken by Marie-Antoinette, yet the connotation it creates in our mind remains universally understood. It is the idea that the leaders and wealthy of our world are indifferent, detached, insensitive or at best simply unable to comprehend the lives of those who don’t live in monetary bliss. No matter the reason it is wrong and excuses should not be received well.
Today in the United States, we may not have a bread crisis and citizens with pitchforks standing outside a palace to arrest the monarchy, but we do have a recognizable group of politicians who are out of touch with the struggles average US Americans are experiencing. Politicians from the Republican party even went as far to label those earning an income of $450,000 as middle class, while the median citizens income is only $59,039. The social implications of these out of touch politicians is a trend leading to policies that simply don’t work, and we as voters need to pay closer attention to what they believe about “us” the average US American.
For example, currently a person running for congress needs 1.7million dollars to be raised in order to “win” a seat. Think about that and ask yourself how many of you would be able to “afford” to run? “Afford” meaning how many of you either have 1.7million dollars in general or have the connections with unions, corporations, and other special interests to form a super PAC? Some of you may have that income or connections and that is wonderful, but the average citizen who votes would struggle with the current campaign financial set-up. So whom are we electing to hold those seats? Democrats and Republicans alike who are far from the lives of those they are meant to advocate for while in office, and people are growing wiser to this.
In large part this growing understanding of corporations, special interest groups and other sub categories of big donors
having influential sway in our fate has led to a growing number of “let them eat cake” moments within the last 1.5 years. The latest being the perfect reaction from Parkland, FL high school students who were tired of the same “we are praying for you” and “our thoughts and prayers are with you” twitter responses from their elected officials. And although I am a believer in deep spiritual condolences, I also believe like many of those leading the March For Our Lives movement that prayers and thoughts without actions to protect is the failure of politicians to remember who they were elected to represent.
However, the most important message of all is not the statements made by our at times out of touch politicians to their constituent, but that there is absolute power in the sheer number of average US citizens who are advocating for change. For pitchforks may not be allowed in modern times, nor rulers to hold up a rally poster, but our voices and physical presence in the advocacy for all US Americans is here to stay and positive change has begun.