OH, FUCK YOU, BEN SASSE! Are you really what passes for intellectualism in today’s GOP? The same horseshit about kids these days being lazy and having everything handed to them? Give me a break, asshole! Grassley, Hatch, and Inhofe have been singing that stupid Bootstraps ‘n’ Personal Responsibility song for decades. But those guys are in their 80s! What’s your excuse?
Ben, you and I have a lot in common. We’re the same age, we both have stable marriages and young kids. And we were both born into incredible, ridiculous privilege: we had good health, we were smart, and most of all we had access to the education and connections that being white and upper middle class entails. The difference is, one of us admits it. And the other one pretends to have earned his success doing farm labor at dawn in a field in Nebraska. Ben Sasse got a rash from corn, which gave him character, and now he’s a Senator. See kids, if only you spent a month every summer doing something shitty and unpleasant, you wouldn’t need a government handout. Maybe if we decimated the social safety net, everyone would go pick corn and become a Senator! We could make America great again. HOORAY!
This week’s sermon is brought to you by The New York Times which has blessed America with this fine editorial from Nebraska’s junior senator.
Sasse is hawking his new book The Vanishing American Adult on how the country is going to hell because kids are worthless and don’t understand the value of hard work. OH, THANK GOD we have a rich, white guy from a rural state to mansplain how we’re all doing a shitty job raising our kids in Not Real America. Please, tell us more!
The job stank. It’s wet and chilly in the field that early. Giant sprinklers called center pivots often got stuck and flooded acres with ankle-deep cold water. We’d start out wearing sweatshirts underneath trash bag ponchos, but by 10, as temperatures approached triple digits, we’d shed layers. For the rest of the day, our bare skin would brush against sharp corn leaves until it was marked with innumerable paper cuts.
We would get home covered in nasty rashes, caked in mud and bone-tired. I’d go to bed in the late afternoon and sleep straight through till the alarm sounded again, for weeks on end.
That was our summer vacation. What do our kids do today?
Yeah, what are those lazy kids doing? If only they had the fortitude to do something unpleasant. Like haul a case of water and a cooler of ice to a park and try to sell them to tourists.
Or dart into traffic with a squeegee and a bottle of generic Windex like kids here in Baltimore hoping to make a dollar cleaning windows during a red light.
Something tells me these aren’t the kids Sasse is thinking about, though.
Last year, we sent our eldest child, Corrie, then 14, to spend a month working on a cattle ranch. When we dropped her off, she was nervous but eager. Between checking cows for pregnancies — a job that involves a shoulder-length glove — and bottle-feeding orphaned heifers, she loved it and hated it. But she knew that her mild suffering was also a formative experience for a lifetime.
So you paid for your kid to spend a month doing farm labor. How nice.
As a fellow resident of Upper Middle Class America, I also spend thousands of dollars a year on extracurriculars that build skills and character for my kids. Yes, I do think my children developed grit by forcing themselves to show up to to practice when they didn’t feel like it, stay on the field when they were sore and tired, and organize their time to accommodate sports and school. I am very proud of them. But I’m not shitting all over other parents who don’t have the time and money to drive their kids to tournaments all over the Eastern seaboard every weekend. Because I try really hard not to be an overprivileged asshole!
You’re telling parents working two jobs that their kids have bad character because they’re not out there in the front yard with their kids squeezing lemons for no money?
The effort involved and the struggles, once overcome, become the scar tissue of future character.
Look around your neighborhood and see what ways your kids could serve their community. Even in this digital age, lawns need to be mowed and lemonade stands can break even.
THA FUCK YOU SAY, RIP VAN WINKLE? How many lawns need mowing in the 80% of America that lives in an urban area? What year do you think this is?
Ben Sasse, who got his B.A. at Harvard. Ben Sasse, who got a Masters Degree from Saint John’s College, the ivoriest of ivory tower liberal arts schools. Ben Sasse, who got his PhD from Yale. Ben Sasse, who was made president of Midland college just five years after completing his own education, which is thing that happens when your family has connections all over a sparsely-populated, rural state. Ben Fucking Sasse is going to tell America how to raise our kids?
Adolescence is a great thing, but we’ve made it too long. It’s supposed to be a protected space in which kids who’ve become biologically adult are not obligated to immediately become emotionally, morally and financially adult. Done right, adolescence is a greenhouse phase, but adolescence should not be an escape from adulthood; it should be when we learn how to become adults.
It would be offensive if you were just bloviating to sell books. The problem, Ben, is that you legislate like you’re America’s Tough Daddy, cutting our allowance to teach us a lesson. You ran for Senate expressly so you could destroy Obamacare. And you’ve been working your ass off to get it done!
You’re the only Senator who voted against federal funding to combat the opioid crisis last year, because you were, “not convinced fighting addiction — as opposed to stopping drug traffickers — is best addressed at the federal level.” Why buy Naloxene, right? Just throw those addicts out into a corn field and they’ll perk right up!
The problem, Ben, is that you want to pretend that people who don’t work are just lazy. That there are plenty of jobs out there, it’s just gumption that’s in short supply. If Americans spent their youth with manure under their fingernails, they’d have the strength of character to succeed in a modern economy. AND THAT IS BULLSHIT!
In 1930, an American farmer could feed 4 people. In 2010, he fed 155, because now machines do the work. Between 1980 and 2015, coal production rose 8% while the number of coal miners dropped by 59%. Machines do it faster, cheaper, and safer. Which is why your daughter had to intern on a farm, instead of pulling tassels off corn the way you did as a child.
We are NEVER going back to full employment, as you know damn well, Ben. It is gross intellectual whoring to use your gifts to cut social services from the people who are getting left behind as we transition away from manual labor. And it’s shockingly immoral for you to pretend that people born without our advantages are to blame for getting discarded by the modern, mechanized economy.
Your kids will be fine, Ben. My kids will be fine. But your intellectual wanking will kill people. So let’s cut the shit about you being a principled voice for the Republican party. It’s the same vulture capitalist, eat the poor, bootstraps, personal responsibility, racist crap you guys have been shilling for sixty years.
JUST OWN IT, DUDE.
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