Politics & Policy

We’re All Murderers Now

(Photo: Fernando Gregory/Dreamstime)
Bob is dead, and everyone is to blame but Bob.

They say that high blood pressure is the silent killer, and in Bob’s case, they were right. Years ago, Bob lost his health insurance after Republicans repealed Obamacare, so he started skipping his annual checkup. It was too expensive to pay out of pocket, and the free clinics were just too far away and too crowded. Besides, he felt okay. A little tired maybe, but there wasn’t any emergency. At least not until he was running across a rainy Target parking lot, carrying bags of groceries in both arms, and his diseased heart stopped.

Now Bob is dead. Paul Ryan and Donald Trump killed him. The prophecies had come to pass:

Then came January 9, 2007 — the day Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. If you can imagine Pearl Harbor but without an effective counter-offensive, then you can imagine the effect of the iPhone on Nokia. The company collapsed so thoroughly that books were written about its decline and fall. And when a company collapses, there are human casualties — humans like Bob, who never again regained his career footing. He never again enjoyed that same feeling of hope and opportunity. Depression ate away at his insides, hurting his heart until it couldn’t take even a short sprint in a driving rain.

Now Bob is dead. Steve Jobs killed him. The information age passed him by.

But wait. There’s more. Bob was divorced. His ex-wife lives with his kids an entire state away. She left him five years ago. Her job took her to Nebraska. Bob’s sick, elderly parents were in Oklahoma. He couldn’t bear to leave them, and she told him that she wasn’t going to set aside her career dreams for the sake of his family. She’d sacrificed enough. It was her time now. She had a chance to make something of herself, and he could help her, or he could stay behind.

He stayed behind. She pursued her dreams. And the pain of it all drove him to the bottle, where he downed beer and bourbon until alcohol placed further strains on his broken heart.

Now Bob is dead. Feminists killed him. They taught his wife that career was more important than family.

But really Bob will live on. Not as a flesh-and-blood father, son, and ex-husband but rather as something far more important. He’ll live on as a symbol. More than that, really —he’ll be a political cudgel,  a weapon to use to pound your ideological enemies. Because in modern politics, arguments are about extremes, and there is nothing more extreme than death.

Who killed Bob? Let’s first ask this: Whom do you want to blame? Whom do you need to blame? Because we can make almost any allegation work. But there is one thing that we cannot, must not, do. Our politics matter more than his choices. We cannot blame Bob.


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