The president’s acting chief of staff stood in the White House briefing room and confessed to activities considered by some impeachable, by others at least illegal.
In closing, he proclaimed: “I have news for everybody. Get over it!” Within hours the “Get Over It” message appeared on T-shirts and soon will likely be on bumper stickers, caps and other paraphernalia.
History has recorded variations of this theme, the most famous being Marie Antoinette’s reported statement, “Let them eat cake,” in response to peasants’ complaints of a lack of bread. Similar retorts include there’s nothing to see here. Who cares, go pound sand, get lost, go play in traffic or it’s not my problem.
We see this attitude in legislators who choose their voters instead of letting voters choose them, explaining their partisan gerrymandering actions by boldly saying the only reason they drew maps guaranteed to elect 10 North Carolina Republican congressmen was because they couldn’t figure out how to draw favorable districts for 11. Don’t like it? Get over it!
How about corporations where executive compensation is hundreds of times greater than the pay of the average worker? Where the only things most corporations are concerned about are quarterly profits and share prices. Never mind the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is shrinking. Let’s cut more taxes on the rich. Get over it!
Wealthy parents pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure their child gets accepted to the best college and most colleges seem hell-bent on legacy admissions or, worse still, dropping almost all pretense of admission requirements for those who can dribble, pass, shoot or row. Gotta fill those stadiums, get TV revenues and get those big contributions from alumni. Never mind that your child has better grades, higher test scores or outstanding extra-curricular activities. Get over it!
In North Carolina and other states “driving while black” almost guarantees a citation and, in many cases, arrests. Too much evidence exists of racial bias in law enforcement and a criminal justice system with too many juries racially imbalanced and uneven sentencing. Complaints of racial bias are callously dismissed. Get over it!
Pharmaceutical companies manufacture drugs they know are addictive, harmful and sometimes result in deaths. In response to clear evidence, corporate responsibility and public safety rank far behind the all-important bottom line. Owners need more palaces, yachts and offshore accounts to hide profits. Get over it!
No doubt you could add to this list. They are convincing evidence we are no longer a society where the majority rules, where there’s little concern for the common good. The minority, those with the wealth and authority, too often abuse that power because they can. What’s worse, they dare us to challenge it.
But we must challenge power-hungry bullies, tyrants, sycophants and autocrats. They will continue and even escalate their actions until stopped, whether at the ballot box, the cash register or by public outcries.
We should all be outraged by these contemptible attitudes and actions. Nobody should ever be allowed to get by telling us to “get over it.”
Tom Campbell is former assistant state treasurer. Contact him at www.ncspin.com.