It Can’t Be Easy Being in the Public Eye

The Wall Street Journal had an editorial today criticizing Bernie Sanders’ attendance at the Golden State Warriors basketball game the other night.

The editorial asked the following questions:

  • Does Mr. Sanders consider Oakland’s Oracle Arena a monument to the corporate greed he so often decries?
  • Why was he cheering, rather than occupying?
  • Isn’t the minimum wage spelled out in Steph Curry’s four-year, $44 million contract an outrage when income inequality is growing?
  • Is it right that the team that scores the most points wins, rather than redistributing points equally?

Could there be a more ridiculous and snarky set of questions? The editorial does point out that even politicians deserve a break from politics; so if that’s the case it seems like they also deserve a break from the non-stop criticism they receive.

The editorial also questions “(Sanders) unearned privilege to sit in the 15th row behind the Thunder basket.” How does one earn that privilege? Through inheritance? Through getting lucky with a business idea? Through putting your neck on the line while trying to make a difference in the world?

Courtside floor seats a few rows ahead of where Sanders was sitting were going for as much as $58,000 a pair, and as the editorial points out, that could almost pay for a year of debt-free tuition at an elite university. Another not so subtle dig at Sanders and his policies.

Why can’t a guy just enjoy a basketball game and use the experience as a way to inspire him to achieve his own goal. Here’s what Sanders had to say:

“The Warriors were down 3-1 and they turned it around and I think that that’s what we’re going to do too. A very good omen for our campaign.”

At the same time that this story appeared in the paper, there was also a news story about Jeff Bezos in which he criticized Peter Thiel’s anti-Gawker efforts. Bezos believes that public figures shouldn’t waste their time fighting media outlets critical of them and offered this advice:

I would say that as a public figure, the best defense to speech that you don’t like about yourself as a public figure is to develop a thick skin, because you can’t stop criticism. You are going to get it. If you’re doing anything interesting in the world, you are going to have critics. You can’t stop it. Move forward. It’s not worth losing any sleep over.

It’s great advice, and I’m sure Bernie Sanders, like many others in the limelight, has developed a thick skin as a way to keep moving forward.

But as an alternative, wouldn’t it be nice if people just acted a bit kinder towards each other, even when they disagree?

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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