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Front Page » September 25, 2012 » Opinion » Guest column
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Guest column


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By KATIE HALPER
Otherwords

A memo to Mitt and Ann: Pretend you like people

I feel sorry for Mitt Romney. By now, he has offended just about every American group, except billionaires, morons, and robots. To stand a chance on Election Day, he must get his act together right now.

Pundits and experts can argue over whether Mitt's problem is biological, moral, or electrical. I think he just needs some pointers. In that spirit, I've developed this handy manual of do's and don'ts for the Republican presidential nominee - plus some tips for his wife.

Pretend that you like people. I know you don't, but talk about them as if you did. For instance, even when you're talking to other rich people, try not to express your contempt for nearly half the country.

Don't say things like: "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what...who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it." Also avoid saying things like "my job is not to worry about those people." It kind of makes it sound like you don't.

Be respectful and somber when geopolitical disasters strike. Don't exploit things like the deaths of U.S. diplomats for political gain. I know you don't really feel feelings that strongly, or at all, but other people do and this kind of response offends them. Pretend you have a heart.

Try to address human beings as if they were human beings. To connect to everyday people, act more like an everyday person. When you make bets, even when you do this with the governor of one of our nation's largest states, bet amounts that other people might wager.

Treat LGBT people and people of color as if they were human too. In all fairness, your robotic insensitivity seems to be pretty equal opportunity. And I'd think you were homophobic if you didn't treat gay people with the same coldness you treat straights.

But, don't say things like: "I didn't know you had families," and don't randomly break into hip-hop/pop dance tunes every time you're surrounded by black people. As you may have heard in 2008, nobody ever really liked the song Who Let the Dogs Out. Please do everyone a favor and never mention it again.

Don't make birther jokes that question Obama's status as a natural-born American. You have no sense of humor, so your jokes fall flat. Plus, your dad was born in Mexico. Also, don't joke that you're "unemployed."

Mitt, please allow me to speak to your wife for a minute. I'm not tired of her yet.

Ann, try to speak to Latinos as if they were rational human beings and not fun-loving confused idiots. I'm sure you were trying to be complimentary when you said "I had the most rocking time in Puerto Rico at a political rally than I've ever had in my entire life. You people really know how to party. It was crazy!" But telling Latinos how good they are at partying isn't helpful. Also, you should do your best to use the expression "you people" sparingly.

I understand, Ann, you may feel entitled to speak to the descendents of immigrants with some frankness. I know how important your Welsh heritage is to you. I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have a Welsh grandfather. I can't imagine the boundaries and discrimination you must have faced over the years. So my final advice to you would be to stay out of Arizona.

OtherWords guest columnist Katie Halper is a writer, stand-up comedian, and filmmaker.

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September 25, 2012
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