Another reality I’ve been waking up to recently is that we have a presidential primary in January. That is only two months away. Hmm.

For the past year, I have refused to get sucked in to the premature maelstrom of the presidential election, trying my best to ignore the various candidates. Now that the beginning of the real race is almost here, I guess it’s time to pay a little more attention.

One of the first things that struck me is not the difference between the candidates themselves, but rather the difference between all of the candidates and the people they claim to represent. The uproar over Edwards’ expensive haircuts and SUVs did reach past my self-imposed moratorium, but for me the hypocrisy goes a lot further than that.

Early this morning, I read an article comparing Jenna Bush and Chelsea Clinton (thanks again to BookForum). I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but apparently there was quite the uproar following 9/11 when Chelsea made a statement about the importance of service over earnings… never mind her own six-figure salary from various hedge funds, etc. Even worse, the article cites a guest interview Chelsea did with Jake Gyllenhall for Interview magazine. From what was included, most of their conversation was about their mutual acquaintances on Martha’s Vineyard, where the two had originally met.

OK, so we go from a girl who grew up vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard to her mother. Driving up to work, I heard a story on NPR about two regular Janes that had encountered Clinton and Obama on their respective treks through Iowa. Jane #1 served Clinton a sandwich at a restaurant, and discussed her impressions of the candidate. Clinton saw fit to use this woman, a single mother working two jobs, in her next speech. She did not, however, see the need to leave her a tip, nor did any of her entourage – even though their meal was on the house.

Working Jane is so used to raising two boys on her own while working two or three jobs at minimum wage that she no longer even questions it. Candidate Clinton raised a daughter who went to the best possible universities, vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard with movie stars, and now pulls in six figures (and hopes to earn more) when she is little older than myself.

I realize that I have no stones to throw myself, as I have always been a member of the privileged class and have never known true hardship in my life. But if I find it hard to empathize with Clinton, imagine what Working Jane feels, especially when her unwitting association with Clinton (whom her boss dislikes) ultimately forced her to look for a new second job.

Really – where is the disconnect here? You tell me.

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